NAME: Helen Wagner
SOAP ROLES: Nancy Hughes, AS THE WORLD TURNS (1956-present); Trudy, VALIANT LADY (1953-1952); Trudy Bauer, THE GUIDING LIGHT (1952)
2004 Daytime Emmy Lifetime Achievement Award
COMMENTS FROM THE PANEL:
Lynn Liccardo: Of course, if for nothing other than sheer longevity, Helen Wagner deserves a place on any list of top soap actresses. But she’s done so much more than just show up for; for fifty-three years and counting (sadly, for not much longer), Wagner’s Nancy has been the moral and emotional center of Oakdale. And, of course, there is the fact that Nancy is the only female of a certain age in Oakdale not to have had an affair with John Dixon.
Jonathan Reiner: She had two of ATWT’s most memorable stories of the ‘90s (Kira’s illiteracy, Mac’s alzheimer’s and death), and she’s still going strong.
Roger Newcomb: It's hard to even imagine an actress playing the same role for 54 years. Ms. Wagner was in the original ATWT pilot in late 1955 and then uttered the first words ever spoken on the soap in April 1956. I was her escort at the 2004 Pre-Emmy party at the Mayor's mansion here in New York City and was assigned to keep track of her. It wasn't easy. She was full of life, determined to speak with the Mayor, and it was a real pleasure. The next night she received a Lifetime Achievement Award. She deserved a 10 minute platform to speak, all the honorees did, but it wasn't to be. I'm so happy she made this list so that we can offer our own tribute to this legendary talent.
Damon L. Jacobs: Ms. Wagner eloquently moves and speaks in a way that conveys charm, balance, and class. She has remained a calming and consistent force in a world that is quite the opposite. In my mind she will always be somewhere in Oakdale ready and able to give someone EXACTLY the advice they need to hear.