'All My Children' star Mary Fickett dies at age 83

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — Mary Fickett, who played compassionate nurse Ruth Martin on ABC's "All My Children," has died at age 83.

The veteran daytime drama star died Thursday at her home in Virginia, the network said.

Fickett was an original cast member of "All My Children," which premiered in 1970, and for decades she appeared alongside Ray MacDonnell, who played her on-screen husband, Dr. Joe Martin, in the fictional town of Pine Valley, Pa. She retired from the show in 2000.

In 1973, she became the first performer to receive an Emmy for work on a daytime soap opera. As the mother of a young man who was drafted to fight in the Vietnam War, Ruth Martin gave an impassioned anti-war speech that won Fickett the award.

A native of Bronxville, N.Y., she was a seasoned stage, film and TV actress before "All My Children."

Her first feature was "Man on Fire" with Bing Crosby in 1957. In 1958, she was nominated for a Tony Award for her Broadway role as Eleanor Roosevelt in "Sunrise at Campobello."

And in a departure from drama, she co-hosted the early 1960s CBS morning news-and-features program "Calendar" with Harry Reasoner.

Fickett is survived by a daughter and a son and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

ABC plans to dedicate the Sept. 21 episode of "All My Children" to Fickett. Two days later, the series will end its long network run.

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