|1982: Days of our Lives' Salem Strangler killed Marlena, or so|
viewers thought at the time. 1999: Pop group 98 Degrees sang
on As the World Turns. 1999: The final episode of Melrose
Place aired on FOX. 2005: Cassie Newman died on The
Young and the Restless.
― Michael Crichton
"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...
1966: "Mame" opened on Broadway at the Winter Garden Theater. The show featured Frankie Michaels, the youngest Tony winner ever, who had been playing Tom Hughes on As the World Turns the previous two years. Michaels had just turned 11 when the show closed.
1978: Actor Barry Atwater, who played Dr. John Prentice on General Hospital in its early years, died at age 60.
1982: On Days of our Lives, the Salem Strangler murdered Dr. Marlena Evans. Actress Deidre Hall took phone calls at the NBC offices from angry fans outraged over the character's death. One call was from a nurse at a psychiatric hospital who told Hall she had to give patients tranquilizers because they were so upset over Marlena's fate. In a twist, the victim turned out to actually be Marlena's twin sister, Samantha, meaning Marlena survived. Two years later, Marlena named one of her twins (Sami) after her late sister.