Wednesday, January 6, 2010

50 Greatest Soap Actresses: #46 Helen Wagner

NAME: Helen Wagner
RANK: 46
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

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.


  1. Roger, so jealous that you got to be her escort! I produced the lifetime achievement package that year; yes, she deserved more time... but look at what we did get... all that talent on the stage at one time, being acknowledged for their decades of service and entertainment!


  2. I love Helen Wagner. Every appearance of her makes the episode better.

  3. Roger & Damon,

    I'm so glad & grateful that Helen Wagner has received her accolades, flowers & honors while she's still here to appreciate, enjoy, & receive them. Great Work Again, Guys! :)