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EXCLUSIVE: All My Children’s ‘Martin Family’ and Co-Stars Share Remembrances of Ray MacDonell

Photo: ABC

Daytime fans and those of the iconic All My Children were saddened to learn of the passing of the patriarch of the beloved ABC daytime drama series, when we shared the news of the death of Ray MacDonnell (Dr. Joe Martin) on Monday.

Since then, Michael Fairman TV has gathered together some remembrances from some of his nearest and dearest co-stars, in particular those who were part of Pine Valley’s Martin Family – Michael E. Knight (Ex-Tad Martin), Ricky Paull Goldin (Ex-Jake Martin), Cady McClain (Ex-Dixie Martin), and Jill Larson (Ex-Opal Gardner), along with some sentiments from Ray’s longtime co-star, Julia Barr (Ex-Brooke English) and Vincent Irizarry (Ex-Dr. David Hayward), and Ray’s former AMC executive and supervising producer, Ginger Smith.

Courtesy/MacDonnellFamily

As well, earlier today, Susan Lucci (Ex-Erica Kane), who was an original cast member along with Ray, shared her remembrances via her Instagram, but said we could also share them with all of you here.  MacDonnell passed away at age 93.  Above he is pictured with his beloved dog, MacDuff.

 

Take a moment to read what each of Ray’s longtime co-stars had to say about this one-of-a-kind man below.

Photo: ABC

Michael E. Knight (Tad Martin)

Ray made me giggle like a little girl for 30 years. The man made me laugh from the very first time I worked with him and kept me laughing till I got old and gray.  He was a wonderful, wonderful man.  There’s never been someone more gracious.  To be his son on the show was really magic, and in fact, I started calling my real father “pop” because I called Ray “pop” on All My Children instead of “dad”.  Some of the best stuff I did with Ray was not when Tad was a bad boy, but when in fact when Tad was talking about his children to his TV father.  I remember this scene I did with Ray, when I broke into tears when Tad’s son left Pine Valley. Ray and I had built that relationship over 30 years.  He was very dear to me.

Photo: ABC

Cady McClain (Dixie Martin)

Ray was not only a terrific actor and a complete professional, but a man of integrity and honor.  I had the great privilege of learning from him and Mary Fickett.  They set the tone and standard. They expected the other actors to work as hard as they did and they didn’t tolerate foolishness, yet they appreciated good humor and a truthful effort.

Ray could be exceedingly wry and often had Michael Knight in stitches. When we were “The Martin Family” we really felt like a family – with Ray as our true patriarch.  He held us together with a personal strength and dignity that was unwavering.

This world needs more Ray MacDonnell and I am sorry to lose this one. He was a very special man. And he will be remembered by me as a crucial part of my time at All My Children. I’m so lucky to have been his daytime daughter-in-law for so many years.

Photo: ABC

Ricky Paul Goldin (Jake Martin)

Ray was always such a class act. He taught me the meaning of patience on set.  He was one of the most selfless and kind actors I ever had the pleasure of working with.  Those things don’t always go hand in hand, but in Ray’s case, they did.  I’ll miss you dad…

Photo: ABC

Jill Larson (Opal Gardner)

Ray was one of those quiet types that had much richness and wisdom to share.  I always enjoyed my opportunities to sit down with him and talk. He was, of course, one of the backbones of the show and always turned in a unique, authentic, sincere performance. We were so lucky to have had him for as long as we did.

Photo: JPI

Vincent Irizarry (David Hayward)

I could truly feel my heart sink yesterday afternoon when I heard the news of dear Ray’s passing. Not only was I so fortunate to work with him on my very first day on All My Children, along with Lee Meriwether, when they couldn’t have been more gracious and lovely, but then I also had the great privilege to work alongside him throughout my 14 years on AMC. Yes, our characters were in conflict with each other for most of those storylines, with Ray, of course, playing the upstanding and highly regarded Pine Valley citizen/Chief of Staff/family patriarch, Dr Joe Martin, which he couldn’t have been more perfectly cast to play throughout the entire run of the show, since all those same traits he mirrored just as perfectly in life as our upstanding, highly regarded, AMC patriarch and coworker).

Many may not be aware of the delicious fact that he also had a wicked, yet subtle, sense of humor, one he would take great, though quiet pleasure, in zinging others with when they would least expect it, just as he did with me right before a scene we were about to shoot, the two of us being directed to stand right beside each other at the scene’s onset. (Admittedly, I’m embarrassed to say, It was during a period when I began to gain a little more weight than I should have during my run on the show… Yes, shame… shame… shame). Just as the stage manager was about to count down to begin the scene for the cast and crew, Ray, with arms crossed, first looking ahead in preparation for our c

ue to begin the scene, casually turned to look at me with this understated, yet somewhat devious smile, (which I, in turn of course, curiously returned), before he shifted his sights downward to my stomach, gently reaching over and tapping it a several measured times, before simply saying, “Playing the villain has been good to you.”

At that very moment the stage manager began her count, “5…4…3…2…1…” Yes, the scene began for everyone, but NOT for me, because, as much as I tried, desperately so, to hold it all in, I JUST LOST IT! Cracking up uncontrollably, I turned to him and said, “I can’t believe you just did that at that very moment! Bravo, and f*** you! Even he couldn’t help but laugh a little harder with me in that moment, knowing he got me good! Honestly, I still can’t help but laugh, or at least smile, even today, every time I think of that wonderful exchange between us.

Believe me, the three things that ultimately occurred for me, all beginning with that encounter are: 1) Obviously, it took me a little longer to gain my composure in order to tape that scene at hand, (which, of course, we ultimately did). 2). It appropriately inspired me, (along with another, even more embarrassing encounter on the show between me and the wardrobe dept. just before shooting a love scene), to lose 20 pounds in the following 2 months. And 3). It gave me a permanent reminder, no less even to this day, of how much I appreciate the man I was blessed to work with, and how wonderful it was to experience the many other truly precious moments like that which I’ll remember till my own days are done whenever I’m reminded of him… Moments like these are such stuff that make up the uniqueness of our own lives via the encounters with other’s and their own uniqueness in nature and experience, which I personally hold so dear.

Dear, so dear… Just like our onetime, and forever remembered, Mr. Ray MacDonnell…  RIP, dear Ray… #4evergr8ful…

Photo: ABC

Julia Barr (Brooke English)

He was such a ‘mench’!!  I loved working with him!!  He was a kind man with a ‘twinkle’ in his eye!!

Photo: FilmMagic

Susan Lucci (Erica Kane) took to her Instagram account earlier on Tuesday and shared the following on Ray’s passing:

Wonderful RAY MACDONNELL! Yesterday afternoon, my lovely friend Jill Larson (AMC’s fabulous “Opal”) called to share the very sad news that beloved RAY had passed away. He was truly our AMC patriarch—and filled our studio with warmth and professionalism—and his delicious sense of humor—there were times during scenes that I couldn’t dare make eye contact with him—just a look from his eyes with that ever-present gleam—would dissolve us into peals of laughter. Thank you so much, Ray, for gracing our show on-screen and off—with your great presence!  My heartfelt sympathy to beautiful Pat and your family—RIP, RAY

Photo: ABC

Ginger Smith (Executive Producer, Prospect Park reboot, and Supervising Producer, ABC )

God, there was no one like Ray … smart, funny, creative, and kind. I still remember the day he said he would work with me on the Prospect Park reboot  — one of my best days. All of us who worked with him … really were blessed.

So, what did you think about the sentiments shared by Joe’s former co-stars? What do you remember most about Ray as Pine Valley’s Dr. Joe Martin? Comment below.

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He was a fine actor. Not the showy type, but he was 100% solid. I enjoyed watching him on TV.

before AMC he was Phil Capice for many years on Edge Of Night!

Jimh, That was my favorite role. I was very young then and thought he was the handsomest man there was, even more so than the ones that played Mike Carr.

Even when Ruth wasn’t on very much, they always found lots of unique ways to keep Ray busy and on the front burner. During the Proteus story, Ray was a delightful skipper in the Gilligan’s Island dream sequence for Greenlee with Leo as Gilligan, Erica of course as Ginger, Jake as the professor and Palmer and Vanessa as the Howells with Marj Dusay hysterically homicidal as Lovey.

It was so heartwarming to read the sentiments from co-workers and friends of these dear men who have graced our TVs for so many years. Of course Stuart Damon from GH and Ray MacDonnell from AMC. I hoped they all let them know how much they were loved and appreciated while they were still alive. Life is shorter than we think and then it’s gone and we wish we’d said something sooner. These man being in my age group,force me to remember that.

All My Children

EXCLUSIVE: Jacob Young, Joan Collins and Nadia Bjorlin to Prague to Film ‘Murder Between Friends’

On Thursday night during the Michael Fairman Channel’s livestream interview centering around Jason Cook’s (ex-Shawn, DAYS and ex-Matt, GH) latest movie Four For Fun which stars Brytni Sarpy (Elena, Y&R) and Jacob Young (ex-JR, AMC, ex-Rick, B&B and ex-Lucky, GH), revealed another upcoming film project with some very familiar faces.

Jacob Young shared an exclusive that he is set to direct, produce and star in a Agatha Christie-like murder mystery feature film aptly tiled Murder Between Friends.

Speaking on the upcoming project, Jacob said, “I’m flying at the end of the March to Prague to direct, produce and star in a film with Joan Collins (ex-Dynasty). Nadia Bjorlin (ex-Chloe, Days of our Lives) is in it, and Toby Alexander Smith from Eastenders (ex-Gray Atkins). Plus, a couple of my Broadway friends and a very well known Czech actress (Hana Vagnerova).”

Photo: BBC

According to Jacob, the production start date is April 1st. He added on the premise of the film, “It’s very Agatha Christie sort of ‘Knives Out’ without having a hundred million dollars to shoot it, but still will be a lovely film nonetheless.” Young said the plan is to finish all principal photography by April 17th.

Photo: JPI

IMDb has more on the film. It shared that former All My Children star Trent Garrett (ex-Asher Pike) is listed as co-directing the feature. Mark Rozzano is listed as writer of Murder Between Friends.

So, what do you think about this upcoming feature from Jacob that will feature Joan Collins, Nadia Bjorlin et al? Share your thoughts in the comment section. 

Then below, check out the full livestream conversation with Jason Cook, Brytni Sarpy and Jacob Young on ‘Four For Fun’ and their notable soap roles.

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All My Children

Maurice Benard Reveals All My Children’s Lee Meriweather and Daughter’s Alzheimer’s Diagnosis

At the beginning of the latest episode of General Hospital star, Maurice Benard’s (Sonny Corinthos) State of Mind series, he delivered some heartbreaking news with a purpose.

Kyle Oldham, the daughter of former All My Children star, Lee Meriwether (ex-Ruth Martin), who previously made a guest appearance on Benard’s show, returned for a new interview which will be coming soon.

During their conversation, Oldham shared that her beloved mother has Alzheimer’s. Sadly, according to Benard, Kyle also revealed she has been diagnosed with the disease as well.

Photo: JPI

Maurice expressed, “We talked about her mother and having Alzheimer’s and it was an amazing interview. And then Kyle said, ‘I gotta tell you something. I have Alzheimer’s.’”

Apparently, Kyle has agreed to come on State of Mind, periodically as the effects of Alzheimer’s take a hold of her to help educate others. “We decided that she was gonna come in … she was gonna call me and tell me as she progresses,” Benard shared. “She was going to come in again so the audience could see with their eyes what Alzheimer’s does to someone.”

Benard’s guest for this current episode of State of Mind was Vernee Watson (Stella, GH), who along with Maurice, was part of the Alzheimer’s storyline on the ABC daytime drama series that saw Mike Corbin (Max Gail) eventually pass away.

Photo: JPI

As for Lee Meriwether, not only is she known for her role on AMC, but also for her roles as Catwoman in Batman: The Movie, and The Courtship of Eddie’s Father, and for the television series, Barnaby Jones, the New Andy Griffith Show and The Munsters to name only a few.

In soap operas, Meriwether was cast in The Young Marrieds years prior to her time on All My Children where she replaced Mary Fickett in the matriarchal role in the Martin family. She played the role from 1996-99, 2002-03, and 2007-11.

Meriwether’s daughter, Kyle Oldham, has been an actress and spokesperson herself through the years. She appeared on The Price is Right for over 14 years until she couldn’t anymore after going through multiple surgeries in her adult life.

You can check out the full episode of State of Mind with Maurice an Vernee below.

Share your thoughts on the sad news of both Lee Meriwether and her daughter Kyle Oldham, battling the effects of Alzheimer’s disease in the comment section below.

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All My Children

Soap Favorites Jason Cook, Brytni Sarpy and Jacob Young Visit the Michael Fairman Channel

On Wednesday night, February 28, Four for Fun, the movie written and directed by former Days of our Lives and General Hospital star, Jason Cook (ex-Shawn-Douglas; ex-Matt, respectively), which stars Brytni Sarpy (Elena, Y&R) and Jacob Young (ex-JR, AMC, Lucky, GH, and Rick, B&B), will have its premiere as part of The Golden State Film Festival.

If you’re in the Southern California area, tickets for the festival and to see Four for Fun showing at 7:30pm PT can be found here.

In the premise of the film, a dinner party between two couples experiencing eleven different endings, all of which points to the same conclusion – the best possible life comes from the one lived the most in the present. Sarpy and Young play one of the couples and actors Donovan Patton and Annika Foster, play the other.

Photo: FourforFun

After its premiere at the festival, on the next night, Jason, Brytni and Jacob will visit You Tube’s Michael Fairman Channel for a livestream conversation about the making of the film, working with each other, and a discussion on their numerous soap opera roles and much more.

It all begins on Thursday night, February 29th beginning at 8 pm ET/5 pm PT. Make sure to join us in the live chat, so you can ask your questions and share your comments with this talented trio.

Photo: FourforFun

Check out the trailer for Four for Fun below, followed by how to watch the livestream interview.

Then, drop any questions you would like us to pose to Jason, Brytni and Jacob in the comment section, and we just might ask it live on Thursday night.

 

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