On World AIDS Day we pay tribute to some of the actors and crew from the soap opera community who lost their lives to the disease.
Emmy winning soap writer Samuel D. Ratcliffe was born in Florida on March 30, 1945, and died on April 15, 1996 in New York City at age 50 due to complications from AIDS.
A native of Winter Haven, Fla., Ratcliffe grew up in Birmingham, Ala., and graduated from Birmingham-Southern College, where he majored in music and in German. After moving to New York City, he pursued a career in the theater. One of his roles was Matt in "The Fantasticks." He also starred in the Broadway musical, "Hurry Harry."
Ratcliffe did other theater as well and appeared in commercials and films.
In 1976 he began to write for daytime television dramas. He won numerous awards, including an Emmy in 1991 for his work as head writer for the NBC series SANTA BARBARA. He also served as chief writer for NBC's TEXAS and ANOTHER WORLD.
He later began to write for daytime television. His credits at NBC included DAYS OF OUR LIVES. He also wrote for CBS's CAPITOL and GUIDING LIGHT and ABC's LOVING.
When he was head writer for SANTA BARBARA, the movie Soapdish came out.
“I thought the film was extremely funny. All of us in daytime have said that the real drama is behind the camera,” Ratcliffe said at the time. “The most outrageous reality takes place between the producers and the actors and the writers-and then the camera starts rolling.”
He was survived by his companion, Jeffrey Hayenga, who wrote for SEARCH FOR TOMORROW, and appeared on GUIDING LIGHT in its final year.