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An actress' remarkable comeback story


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In her book 'The Confessions of Phoebe Tyler' (the character she played on All My Children from 1970 to 2005), Ruth Warrick discussed her first soap role as a minor character on The Guiding Light.

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After a successful movie career in the 1940s and early 1950s, Ruth realized roles were drying up. So she moved to New York to do live TV anthology shows. But once she had appeared on the various programs for that particular season, there would be no more work during a summer hiatus. Someone advised her to try daytime television, and Ruth agreed to give it a try.

She met the creator/writer of The Guiding Light who agreed to put her on as an under 5 nurse. Under 5 means she would be in one episode with under five lines. Ruth said she was willing to do a screen test for a more permanent role. However, that was not an option. Ruth took the small role which became a recurring character for awhile. Then she was given a regular role on As the World Turns a year later, in 1956, which she played until 1960.

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Interesting how she went from the heights of CITIZEN KANE to playing an under-five nurse on a daytime soap...other actresses would've just given up. But Ruth Warrick rebounded in a big way and ended up reinventing herself on soap operas. She later had an Emmy-nominated role on the primetime sudser Peyton Place then she took a role on All My Children, which made her a household name with daytime audiences. By the time she was done, she had earned a Lifetime Achievement Emmy.

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Ruth Warrick would be an interesting choice for a Summer Under the Stars tribute next August. Her filmography includes:

CITIZEN KANE (1941)
THE CORSICAN BROTHERS (1941)
OBLIGING YOUNG LADY (1942)
JOURNEY INTO FEAR (1943)
PETTICOAT LARCENY (1943)
THE IRON MAJOR (1943)
MR. WINKLE GOES TO WAR (1944)
SECRET COMMAND (1944)
GUEST IN THE HOUSE (1944)
CHINA SKY (1945)
PERILOUS HOLIDAY (1946)
DAISY KENYON (1947)
DRIFTWOOD (1947)
THE GREAT DAN PATCH (1949)
LET'S DANCE (1950)

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...just a brief input on soap operas: I myself was fairly startled to discover the history of radio soaps a while back. Their longevity puts most TV soaps to shame. Current champ is UK's 'The Archers'

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Archers

and

'Mrs Dale's Diary'

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mrs_Dale's_Diary

...but America has some too.

"One Man's Family".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_Man's_Family

'Road of Life', is still another. A medical drama (no link available).

This 'world' recalls Ann Southern's role in 'A Letter To Three Wives' as a writer for radio soaps, until husband Kirk Douglas blows his stack at her trend towards empty-headed vapidity.

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20 hours ago, TopBilled said:

She later had an Emmy-nominated role on the primetime sudser Peyton Place then she took a role on All My Children, which made her a household name with daytime audiences. By the time she was done, she had earned a Lifetime Achievement Emmy.

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Warrick's exchanges as Phoebe Wallingford, with hubby and reformed con-man, Langley Wallingford on All My Children were witty and amusing amidst all the sturm und drang of the soap. I believe the part was played by Louis Edmonds who had originally been on Dark Shadows.

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2 minutes ago, GordonCole said:

Warrick's exchanges as Phoebe Wallingford, with hubby and reformed con-man, Langley Wallingford on All My Children were witty and amusing amidst all the sturm und drang of the soap. I believe the part was played by Louis Edmonds who had originally been on Dark Shadows.

Yes, correct. She and Edmonds had a special magic together. But she had another husband on the show during the early years. Langley didn't appear until a bit later.

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14 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

Yes, correct. She and Edmonds had a special magic together. But she had another husband on the show during the early years. Langley didn't appear until a bit later.

Hugh Franklin played Phoebe's first husband, Charles Tyler. He always reminded me of H.B. Warner. One of the most distinguished players from the show was James Mitchell who was in Hollywood films as a dancer mostly. He played the dastardly Palmer Cortlandt to perfection. Many fine actors were on All My Children.

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2 minutes ago, Ray Faiola said:

Let's not forget SONG OF THE SOUTH, surely more memorable than PETTICOAT LARCENY!

Well, I was listing films TCM can get access to and would be able to broadcast without a backlash. I think in my initial post, I said her filmography "includes" those films. There were a few others I didn't list either.

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