Friday, January 22, 2010

James Mitchell Dead at 89

Longtime ALL MY CHILDREN star James Mitchell (Palmer Cortlandt) died today, Jan. 22, in LA of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, complicated by pneumonia.

Sacramento native Mitchell appeared on the soaps THE EDGE OF NIGHT as Lloyd Griffin and WHERE THE HEART IS as Julian Hathaway prior to his run on ALL MY CHILDREN, which began in 1979. He earned seven Daytime Emmy nominations for the work in the role of Palmer.

Mitchell started his career as a dancer and achieved great success appearing in films such as Moonlight in Havana, Rhythm of the Islands and White Savage.

Taylor Miller, who played Mitchell's daughter Nina on ALL MY CHIDLREN, spoke fondly of him in our recent interview: "James Mitchell (Palmer), one of the kindest men in the world, was about finding the humor in situations." She also spoke about requesting to come back to the show last year to spend time with him: "I wanted to come back on the show because James [Mitchell] is not feeling well. And I wanted to come back to be with him, to be able to see him more. And they said, 'No.'"

Mitchell recently appeared on ALL MY CHILDREN's 40th anniversary show on January 5.


  1. So shocking, after seeing him on the reunion show.
    My condolences to his family and friends.
    Hope they let Palmer go with quiet dignity on AMC.

  2. Really sad news. He gave me so many hours of enjoyment. Was hoping they'd have him on more AMC episodes now that they're filming in LA. But at least he got to appear in the 40th anniversary special.

    One thing though. He was 89 not 79. Born Feb. 29, 1920 according to IMDB.

  3. Thank you for the correction, James! This is indeed such a great loss for the soap community, and for the world.

  4. I posted this on DC as well:
    What a brilliant actor he was! I was so hooked on Palmer's storyline when I first watched in 1980.... first his animosity with Daisy/Monique and then later the passion. What rapport those two had .... and don't forget that wonderful wonderful rapport and bickering with Myra! Those were they days when real actors graced our screens and not just pretty vapid models. And shame on AMC and whoever made the decision to turn down Taylor Miller's repeated requests to share some final Palmer/Nina scenes with James Mitchell in his last year on the show, telling her there was no place for this on the show any longer!

    I hope Lorraine Broderick pens an entire episode devoted to this legendary character and that we get to see substantial flashback scenes...... I hate how soaps rush the tribute episodes these days.... it's such a rush job ... in one episode they announce they death and then the very next episode is the funeral. They skip so many beats. The beauty of how soaps were before was seeing reactions of characters..... they need to spend time showing people hearing about the news and reacting to it.... Nina being told; Daisy being told; Opal being told; Erica being told.....and reacting to the news. Then another episode can be a total tribute with tons of flashbacks of classic Palmer moments.

    I'd love if SoapNet would do a Palmer marathon including an episode I never saw... the one of the masquerade ball of 1980 where Palmer has his dobermans and he's yelling at Daisy to come out of hiding (before she later takes up residence as Monique Jonvil befriending Nina). Frons I'm sure has no interest in this since he's too busy pimping 90210 marathons and "Being Erica"

    Also, this is very reminiscent of when Ruth Warrick made her last appearance on the 35th anniversary ep and then died shortly after it aired. At least we got to see James Mitchell, Taylor Miller and Peter Bergman reunited 5 years ago on Soap Talk back when Deborah Blackwell was still running things over there at SN.

  5. I am so glad that I had the chance to do an interview with him before he past away a true legend, to look for the interview that I did with Mr. Mitchell, please visit
    Robert :)

  6. All My Children had been on in my house since the beginning, although my earliest memory was Tara Martin freezing in the snow (as part of her triangle with Phillip and Chuck).

    But I can't say AMC ever really GRABBED me with high interest until Palmer Courtland appeared on the show.

    Suddenly we had a dark menace, trying NOT to treat his daughter's blindness (to keep her from her "soul mate"), and chasing after a mystery woman with Dobermans. What great fun!

    Mitchell's Palmer was serious as a heart attack, but you could see just beneath it was a hilarious man who was giving the performance every nuance and energy that he could.

    That is the beauty of his contribution, though. AMC may have used him less and less as he aged, but those amazing evil days as Palmer are immortal. Thank you, Mr. Mitchell.

  7. I loved Palmer and talking with Taylor made me realize what a wonderful man James was as well. He has already been sorely missed on AMC and will be missed in life.

    James, after I went to bed, I woke up thinking, "Wait, he was 89!" So thanks for pointing that out so Damon could correct. :)

  8. Every year since 1981, this gentle soul has sent me a Christmas card,a tradition I started with the entire cast back in 1979. He was the only actor to continue dong so throughout the years. In 2008, I received my last from him, it was postmarked California, and I knew in my heart that he had gone home to deal with his illness. He was possibly one of the brightest, sweetest men I have had the pleasure of knowing, and I will miss hinm dearly...As Eileen, Elizabeth, Fra and Louis welcome you to Heaven..farwell my friend, until another day...Maggie De

  9. God Rest Your Soul, Mr. Mitchell. You were wonderful on the screen so many times on Where The Heart Is & on AMC, of course!