AS THE WORLD TURNS Star Rosemary Prinz on Irna Phillips: 'She Was The Meanest Bitch On The Planet'

The New York Times published a wonderful piece on Friday about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and how a live episode of AS THE WORLD TURNS was interrupted the afternoon of Nov. 22, 1963. At the moment of the assassination, the show was the only regular program being broadcast nationally by a major network — specifically, throughout the Eastern and Central time zones."

Don Hastings (Bob Hughes) was interviewed by the Times and recalled overhearing a cameraman say to someone in the control room, "Don’t tell the actors what? The president’s been shot?"

Rosemary Prinz, who played his sister, Penny, hoped for some on-air reference to the killing when the show resumed production the following Monday. But Irna Phillips, the show's creator, wanted no outside intrusion on the fictional Oakdale.

Rosemary Prinz, Don Hastings and Helen
Wagner in 1985.
"She was the meanest bitch on the planet, and you can quote me," Prinz, now 82, said.

"I was supposed to go on about Tom and his father," she recalled, "and I said instead: 'Oh, Grandpa, here we are talking about little Tom. My God, after what the country has gone through, it seems so out of proportion. But, of course, we have to go on.' Santos [Ortega] had very, very round eyes, which he always opened wide as Grandpa anyway, and he opened them even wider."

Prinz left AS THE WORLD TURNS in 1968 after 12 years. She returned in 1985 (Phillips died in 1973) and made sporadic guest appearances after that.

An uninterrupted version of the episode is preserved at the Paley Center for Media, in New York and Los Angeles. In it, Nancy boldly predicts that Bob and Lisa will reunite.


  1. What an interesting article. And Rosemary, wow.

  2. Roger, do you know if any of the other serials of the day mentioned the assassination? ~~~PJ

  3. I am still mad at ATWT for not inviting Rosemary Prinz back for the shows ending especially after the death of Helen Wagner. Penny Hughes was a huge part of the success of ATWT.

  4. Oh how I miss ATWT. Life is a little less entertaining without the adventures of Barbara Ryan.

  5. More so than any other soap, including current ones, I feel that ATWT is a defining soap opera, and it's missed.

    It should have been saved instead of cancelling it just because GL didn't make it.

    Like YR's years at #1, ATWT was number one for most of the 50's, all of the 60's and most of the 70's.

  6. Sad about all the great P&G shows. I always thought AW, ATWT and GL should have been merged into one megasoap since they existed in the same "universe". Any word of there are still more DVD collections planned?

  7. I would love have RP return to AMC before it ended. Her appearance would have given closure with Ruth, Nick and her grandson Charlie (she didnt even attend her son's funeral).

  8. I'm missing Kathy Hays (Kim) from this 1985 Hughes Family picture, as it was the occasion of Bob & Kim's first (& later proven to be Illegal--Yuck!) wedding!

    Brian :-|