Thursday, February 7, 2019

Candice Earley Dead at 68

Former All My Children star Candice Earley Nolan passed away on January 31. She was 68.

According to The Lawton Constitution, she "slipped peacefully into Heaven while at home in her bed, surrounded by family after a brave, 8-year struggle with Multiple Systems Atrophy."

Candice Jean Earley was born at Fort Hood, Texas, on August 18, 1950, the daughter of H.E. and Jean Daily Earley. At a young age, her father was transferred to Germany where she learned German in Kindergarten. Her family was transferred to Ft. Sill, in Lawton, Oklahoma, when she was 5 years old.

She was educated in the Lawton public schools, where she was an honor student, and was active in the theater and arts programs. It was during these years that her 4-Octave coloratura soprano voice was developed and honed via voice lessons. She was selected Miss Lawton and was First Runner-up to Miss Oklahoma. She attended Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, and from there left for San Francisco to begin her stage career. While there, she joined the cast of "Hair" in 1969, and shortly was cast in the lead role of Shelia. From then on, and through all of her life, she was one of the proud and select members of the "Tribe."

At age 21, she moved to New York, and was a member of the Broadway cast of "Hair." She continued to make a name for herself on Broadway, starring in shows like Jesus Christ Superstar and Grease in the 1960s and 70s.

While eating lunch at Sardi's, an ABC casting director asked, "Who is that attractive mid-western looking type across the room?" Shortly thereafter she was cast on All My Children as Donna Beck, a teen prostitute who wound up at Pine Valley Hospital. She played the memorable role until 1992, with a return visit in 1995. During her 18-year run on All My Children, Earley continued her Broadway stage career playing the lead role of Sandy in "Grease," and later played the role of Nellie Forbush in "South Pacific. During her years in New York, she also starred in Summer Stock productions of "Oklahoma," "Bells are Ringing," and Woman of the Year. While living in New York, she regularly returned to Lawton, which she considered “home”.

On March 14, 1992, she married Robert C. Nolan. They met during an unplanned "kismet" moment 8 years earlier, by chance, on an airplane, and he immediately and forever fell under her spell. Prior to their marriage, Candi chose to retire from the screen and stage and move to El Dorado, Arkansas, where, in her words, she began the best role she had in her entire life. She brought enormous joy into his life, and his family's lives. All who knew her quickly fell under the charm, beauty, intelligence and sweetness of her being.

She was a devout Episcopalian, and a lay-reader in her church in New York. Her favorite hymn was "It is Well with My Soul," and her headstone will proclaim the message.

She is survived her husband, Robert C. Nolan, his children Rob, Justin, and Carrie, and their Families, sister-in-law, Lurlene Earley, niece, Rebecca Craven, and nephew, Dr. Wesley Earley, and their Families, and many, many friends in El Dorado, Arkansas, Lawton, Oklahoma, and New York.

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