Today in Soap Opera History (March 21)

1979: Guiding Light's Jackie wanted Alan to keep her secret.
1980: J.R. Ewing was shot on the third season finale of Dallas.
2005: Amelia Heinle debuted as Victoria on Young and the Restless.
2011: Jake Spencer died on General Hospital.
"The present contains nothing more than the past, and what is found in the effect is already in the cause."
― Henri Louis Bergson

"Today in Soap Opera History" is a collection of the most memorable, interesting and influential events in the history of scripted, serialized programs. From birthdays and anniversaries to scandals and controversies, every day this column celebrates the soap opera in American culture.

On this date in...

1952: On Search for Tomorrow, Irene wanted to visit her son, Keith Barron (John Sylvester White), who was in critical condition at the hospital. But her husband, Victor (Cliff Hall), felt that Irene had better not see Keith just yet. Meanwhile, Joanne (Mary Stuart) learned that another blood transfusion would be necessary in order to stabilize Keith. When Victor finally updated Irene on Keith's condition, she felt bitter because Jo had the power to make all of the medical decisions for Keith.

1955: On Valiant Lady, Mickey (James Kirkwood Jr.) read the letters Bonnie write to him that had never been mailed.

1955: On The Brighter Day, Sandra (Diane Gentner) told Sharky to stop hounding innocent people.

1955: On The Inner Flame, after telling Portia of Walter's arrest, Dorie (Jean Gillespie) confessed her true feelings for him.

1955: On One Man's Family, Claudia went to see Dr. Thompson to have her pregnancy confirmed.

1968: On As the World Turns, Michael Shea (Jay Lanin) returned home and was shocked to find Claire (Barbara Berjer) drunk. She proceeded to explain why this was so. Following her explanation about the real father of Lisa's baby, Claire threw Michael out of the house and said she never wanted to see him again. Later, Bob (Don Hastings) paid a visit and found Claire passed out on the couch and in need of medical attention.

1979: On Another World, Rachel Cory (Victoria Wydham) gave her husband, Mac (Douglass Watson) the silent treatment at breakfast.

1979: On Guiding Light, Ross (Jerry verDorn) tried to dig up dirt on Holly, while Jackie (Cindy Pickett) begged Alan (Christopher Bernau) to not reveal she was Phillip's biological mother to Elizabeth. Elsewhere, Gordon (Marcus Smythe) asked Hope (Elvera Roussel) to be the liaison with Alan Spaulding of Spaulding Enterprises.

Thanks to Jennifer for sending in the clip above.

1980: On Dallas, J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman) was shot at Ewing Oil, kicking off "Who Shot J.R.?" mania around the world.

1980: On The Edge of Night, Raven (Sharon Gabet) agreed to rekindle her affair with Elliott as long as he helped her kidnap Jamey.

1987: NBC aired the 8,000th episode of Days of our Lives.

1990: Richard Hatch made his final appearance on Santa Barbara as Stephen Slade. Hatch is nominated for an Indie Series Award this year for his work on the web series Pairings.

1994: Actor Macdonald Carey, who played Days of our Lives patriarch Tom Horton, died at age 82.

1994: Actor Dack Rambo (Another World, Dallas, All My Children, Paper Dolls, Never Too Young) died at age 52.

1997: On Another World, Rachel (Victoria Wyndham) invited Carl to move back into the mansion.

2001: On Port Charles, Arianna Shapour Thornhart (Opal Anchel) warned Eve (Julie Pinson) to keep her distance from Ian.

2005: Amelia Heinle debuted on The Young and the Restless as Victoria Newman. In the episode, Jack Abbott (Peter Bergman) tried to convince Victoria to come back to Genoa City as the new CEO of Jabot.

2007: Marnie Schulenburg debuted as Alison Stewart on As the World Turns when Emily saw her sister in a porn video. Schulenburg had previously debuted in the role on The Young and the Restless and the web series L.A. Diaries.

2011: On General Hospital, Jake Spencer died after being hit by a car.

Celebrating a birthday today are:
Kathleen Widdoes (ex-Emma, As the World Turns; ex-Una, Ryan's Hope; ex-Rose, Another World; ex-Jill, Young Doctor Malone; ex-Helen, Secrets of Midland Heights) - 77
Duncan Gamble (ex-Ted, As the World Turns; ex-Frank, Capitol) - 70
Gary Oldman (ex-Don, Knots Landing) - 58
Kassie DePaiva (ex-Eve, Days of our Lives; ex-Blair, One Life to Live; ex-Blair, General Hospital; ex-Chelsea, Guiding Light) - 55
Rosie O'Donnell (Rita, The Fosters; ex-Loretta, Queer as Folk, ex-Naomi, All My Children) - 54
Julie Ronnie (ex-Laken, Santa Barbara) - 53
Vanessa Branch (ex-Paige, Port Charles) - 43
Laura Allen (ex-Hannah, Awake; ex-Laura, All My Children) - 42
Ryan Bittle (ex-JR, All My Children; ex-Logan, All My Children; ex-Dawson's Creek) - 40

EDITOR'S NOTE: If you would like to submit a soap history entry for this date or a future date, email

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