The world of daytime drama is mourning the loss of one of its most prolific, trailblazing figures with the death of Agnes Nixon, who passed away today at age 93.
Creator of iconic soaps “All My Children” and “One Life to Live”, Nixon had been suffering from complications with Parkinson’s disease and pneumonia, reports The New York Times.
A soap opera pioneer, Nixon began her career as a writer for such shows as “Guiding Light” and “Another World”, but reinvented the format in the 1960s when she began introducing ripped-from-the-headlines story arcs involving such hot-button topics as racism, abortion, drugs and protests against the Vietnam War.
She created “One Life to Live”, which launched in 1968 and ran for 43 years, along with “All My Children”, and remained active in writing, producing and, later, consulting on the shows until both were cancelled in 2012, the victim of low ratings brought about by a changing television landscape.
“All My Children”, in particular, saw Nixon pushing the envelope to expand the scope of the soap genre, tackling such issues as drug addiction, depression, child abuse and AIDS, introducing daytime drama’s first lesbian and transgender characters.
“Life is fascinating,” Nixon told The Milwaukee Sentinel in a 1983, notes The New York Times, “and if you look at your family and your friends and you have a writer’s viewpoint, you can see each person’s life as a soap opera in itself. The really amazing thing is they are basically similar.”
Susan Lucci, who spent decades playing Eric Kane on Nixon’s “All My Children”, shared her sorrow on social media: