Kathryn Hays, soap star for nearly 40 years, dies at 87

Kathryn Hays, an actress who had a brief but memorable turn in the 1960s “Star Trek” television series but found lasting appeal as a sta...


Kathryn Hays, an actress who had a brief but memorable turn in the 1960s “Star Trek” television series but found lasting appeal as a stalwart soap opera star on “As the World Turns” for nearly four decades , died March 25 in Fairfield, Connecticut. She was 87 years old.

His daughter, Sherri Mancusi, confirmed his death, in an assisted living facility.

Ms Hays was originally cast by the writer and creator of daytime dramas Irna Phillips for a six-month contract, but ended up being an integral part of “As the World Turns”, which aired on CBS from 1956 to 2010.

By the end of Mrs. Hays’ long career on the show, her character, Kim Hughes, had become the de facto matriarch of the drama’s fictional town, Oakdale. The character was known for his catchphrases, often calling people “kiddo” or “toots”.

Ms Hays balanced the demands of recording one episode a day with humor and close on-set relationships, her daughter said, recalling her co-stars giving her the nickname ‘One Take Kathy’.

Ms Hays was known to fans of the original ‘Star Trek’ TV series for the episode “The Empath” (1968), in which she played Gem, a mute alien with healing powers who saves a badly injured Captain Kirk (William Shatner). His many on-screen credits included “The Man from UNCLE”, “The Road West”, and “Law and Order”.

Ms Hays has often spoken of her love for the character of Kim Hughes and the soap opera format in general.

“I think if you look beyond soap operas, you’ll see that people like to have an ongoing story,” she said. Weekly entertainment at the end of the show. “They like to read sequels of books. They like to see movie sequels.

Kim Hughes experienced standard soap opera fare on “As the World Turns,” from extramarital affairs to memory loss. But she has also featured in more topical storylines. One episode, set in the 1970s, addressed marital rape, an issue not often discussed publicly at the time.

In a 2010 interview with the “We Love Soaps” website, Ms Hays said that at the time, “I didn’t even know it was controversial. But it was.”

As Mrs. Hays grew older, her character matured. Kim Hughes started out in 1972 as a stereotypical “domestic tow truck”. But after several marriages and countless twists and turns over the years, she and her husband, Bob Hughes, played by Don Hastings, left the series finale in 2010, happy and married.

The character, Ms Hays said in the 2010 interview, “started out one way and then morphed into someone else”.

“She became a deeper character, and that was wonderful,” she said of Kim. “She made the choice to think of others. You have seen her grow over the years.

But even her character’s maturation hasn’t completely assuaged the occasional catfight that can energize a soap opera. “What was great for me was knowing that if Kim was pushed too far or pushed too hard, she could turn around and knock you down,” Ms Hays said. “Verbally, not physically. The audience loved it. »

Kay Piper was born on July 26, 1934 in Princeton, Illinois, the only child of Roger and Daisy (Hays) Piper. They divorced shortly after she was born, and Kay was raised by her mother, who was an accountant and banker, and her stepfather, Arnold Gottlieb, a salesman.

Kay graduated from Joliet Township High School, then took classes at Northwestern University. After changing her name to Kathryn Hays in 1962, she modeled in New York and Chicago before finding work as an actress.

She was married three times, to Sidney Steinberg, a salesman; actor Glenn Ford, known for films like “The Blackboard Jungle” (1955) and a series of westerns in the 1960s; and Wolfgang Lieschke, who worked in advertising.

Besides her daughter, she is survived by three grandchildren and a great-grandchild.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Kathryn Hays, soap star for nearly 40 years, dies at 87
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