Friday, October 10, 2008

Eileen Herlie


The New York soap world continues to lose long-time supporting players. On the heels of the death of Emmy winner Irene Dailey, comes the news that Eileen Herlie, who has played Myrtle Fargate on All My Children for over three decades, has died of pneumonia at the age of 90.

As with most soap stars of her generation, Herlie had a substantial stage career. Originally from Scotland, her London and Broadway credits include Shakespeare, contemporary works, and musicals. She was invited by Laurence Olivier to play his mother in his film version of Hamlet, though she was actually younger than Olivier at the time. A generation later, she repeated the role of Gertrude, this time opposite Richard Burton in his celebrated Broadway version. That production was also filmed. She played Irene Malloy opposite Ruth Gordon's Dolly Levi in Thorton Wilder's The Matchmaker, and she appeared in several musicals opposite substantial stars, such as Ray Bolger in All American and Jackie Gleason in Take Me Along. The latter production, a musical version of Eugene O'Neill's Ah, Wilderness (if you can imagine such a thing), snagged Herlie a Tony nomination.

Hurlie joined the cast of All My Children in 1976, and received four Emmy nominations for her work. She remained with the show until her death this week.