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October 09, 2008

All My Children Icon Eileen Herlie Has Passed Away

Soap Icon and All My Children Matriarch Eileen Herlie has passed away at the age of 88. Eileen has played Myrtle Fargate since the early 80s. Myrtle's maternal relationships with popular characters Erica Kane, Zach Slater, Bianca Montgomery and Kendall Slater has made her a much needed presense on the show. Eileen's last screen appearance as Myrtle was in late June when she gave her surrogate son, Zach Slater a much welcomed visit.
Eileen Herlie was born to a Catholic father and a Protestant mother in Glasgow, Scotland.
Herlie was trained as a theatre actress, but her first big film break was being cast by Laurence Olivier in his 1948 film adaptation of William Shakespeare's Hamlet. She portrayed Hamlet's mother, Gertrude, despite the fact that she was 13 years younger than Olivier, who portrayed her son, Hamlet. She reprised her Gertrude in the 1964 Broadway production starring Richard Burton. She repeated her Gertrude in the 1964 film version of the Broadway stage production.

After Olivier's Hamlet Herlie continued to make sporadic film appearances, but remained primarily in the theatre. In 1955 she was Irene Molloy in The Matchmaker on Broadway (this play was later made into Hello Dolly!). In 1960, she was nominated for a Tony Award as 'Best Actress in a Musical' for Take Me Along, in which she played opposite Jackie Gleason.

In 1976, Herlie made the move to television soap operas in the role of Myrtle Fargate on All My Children. In the 1980s, Herlie was nominated for three consecutive Daytime Emmy Awards (1984, 1985 and 1986). She became close friends with fellow cast member Louis Edmonds, and spoke at his funeral in 2001.

Until the late 1990s, Herlie was one of the few actresses to ever portray the same character on three different soaps. In 1993, she portrayed Myrtle on the All My Children sister-soap Loving. In December 2000, she portrayed Myrtle in crossover appearances on the soap opera One Life to Live, where a 'Who's the Daddy?' storyline was playing out on all four ABC soaps (All My Children, One Life to Live, General Hospital, and the now cancelled Port Charles).

Herlie is one of five children, Dennis, Gerald, Norah (all deceased) and Alfred. She was married and divorced once, but has no children.

Eileen has received numerous awards and nominarions for her work on stage and screen.
Daytime Emmy Awards

(1986) Daytime Emmy Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for All My Children
(1985) Daytime Emmy Outstanding Actress in a Supporting Role in a Daytime Drama Series for All My Children
(1984) Daytime Emmy Outstanding Actress in a Supporting Role in a Daytime Drama Series for All My Children
Tony Awards

(1960) Tony Award Best Actress in a Musical for Take Me Along

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