Monday, May 5, 2008

Beverlee McKinsey Dead at 72

Beverlee McKinsey
Legendary actress Beverlee McKinsey died on May 2 in Los Angeles from complications due to a kidney transplant. She was 72 years old.

McKinsey was best known for memorable roles in daytime television. She played the role of Martha Donnelly on Love is a Many Splendored Thing starting in 1970.

In 1972, she debuted on NBC's Another World as Emma Ordway (Steve Frame's older sister). She later went on to play Iris Carrington on the show, a role that propelled her to daytime stardom.

In August 1980, NBC premiered the spinoff Texas to capitalize on the popularity of the Iris character, and McKinsey received star billing. She continued playing Iris on Texas until November 1981.

She later created the role of Alexandra Spaulding on CBS's Guiding Light, and performed it from 1984-1992.

In 1994, she made an appearance on General Hospital as Myrna Slaughter. In 1998, the editors of Soap Opera Magazine voted her the best actor in the history of daytime television.

TV Guide's Michael Logan wrote of her in 1992, "For my money, Beverlee McKinsey is the greatest actress ever to grace daytime drama."

McKinsey performed the lead role of Corie on Broadway in the original production of Neil Simon's "Barefoot in the Park," where she was directed by Mike Nichols, and co-starred with Robert Redford. She also originated the role of Honey in the London production of Edward Albee's, "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"

She guest starred on multiple prime time television series, including The FBI, Hawaii Five-0, The Mod Squad, Mannix and The Defenders.

She appeared in films with Clint Eastwood (Bronco Billy), Sidney Pollack (They Shoot Horses, Don't They?), and Mark Rydell (The Reevers).

McKinsey was nominated four consecutive years (1977 to 1980) in the lead actress category for the Daytime Emmy Awards but sadly never won. She also received six Soap Opera Digest Award nominations winning two as "Favorite Villianess" when she was on Another World (they were called the Soapy Awards back then).

She is survived by her son, Scott, (who directed her on Guiding Light), and her grandson, Marley. No memorial service is planned.


  1. The greatest actress in daytime. In 1992,I was so upset that the dumb actors did not nominate her for best actress. The cast of the guiding light convinced her to submit her name for emmy consideration.She gave up for seven years she did not submit her name. iN 1992,Erika Slesak won,it should have been Beverly.The performance of 1991,when she found out she gave birth to twins was incredible. I remember,she said they had to carry her out of the studio that night because the scences were soemotionally draining.This year we have kathy brier and melody thomas scott thrown underneath the bus like beverly was. John V. Truisi

    Who wasn't longing for her to surprise us all with a comeback? I sure was. She won't soon be forgotten.

  3. Sing it, sister.

    McKinsey was robbed several times, particularly for GL in 1991-1992, with the Nick storyline and her scene where she humiliated Roger at the country club. She was incandescent with was THE most fabulous scene EVER.

    Footage of her reading the phone book would still be far more compelling than half the hair models on daytime today.

    We will never see the likes of her again.

  4. What sad news. She was unique in her genre and always radiated grace and class. I always held hope that she'd one day return to daytime.

    Thanks for all the memories, dear lady. May you rest in peace.

  5. I am crushed. I loved her performance as Alexandra Spaulding. I always held out hope that she might someday return, however remote that was. She was certainly the best ever. God Bless our Beverlee.

  6. So sad to hear about the passing of my favorite daytime actor. I first saw her on Guiding Light in 1988. She was always thrilling to watch and hear with with her, as Michael Logan of TV Guide once said, "voice mixed with honey and cyanide" :) The fact that the she never won an Emmy or was never even nominated for her performane as Alexandra Spaulding makes the Daytime Emmys a joke. The greatest actress in the history of daytime. You will be missed. RIP.

  7. Love what Roger Friedman of FOX News had to say about the great Beverlee McKinsey.....

    I am sad to report the great soap actress of the '70s and early '80s, Beverlee McKinsey, has died of a kidney ailment. With her blonde curls and husky voice, McKinsey created the unforgettable character of Iris Cory Carrington, the willful, wealthy, jealous adult daughter of a publishing tycoon on the great soap "Another World."

    She was nominated for four Emmys in a row, from 1977 to 1980. In the '80s she went on to create the equally manipulative Alexandra Spaulding on "Guiding Light." But she didn’t suffer fools easily, and one day she simply left the latter show abruptly, citing a contract loophole, and never looked back. Isn’t that great? Heaven is in for a treat. …

  8. What a sad, sad day to find out that my all-time-favorite daytime actress is gone. I loved her as the evil Iris Carrington on Another World and LOVED her as Alexandra Spalding on Guiding Light. In fact, I started watching Guiding Light just because of her and would race home from classes to see what Alex would do next. The best storyline ever were between Alex and Roger Thorpe. Gee, they just don't make them like that anymore. I, too, kept hoping for a comeback. RIP Ms. McKensey. You will forever be associated with my crazy college years.

  9. My favorite of many Beverlee McKinsey moments as Iris Carrington on "Another World" has always been this solo scene of Iris placing a telephone call. She picks up the telephone and tells the operator that she wants to make a long-distance call. A pause, as Iris looks exasperated, and she then speaks into the phone: "Yes, Operator, I know I could dial the call myself, but then what would YOU do?" Priceless - she was the best.