Douglas Marland: May 5, 1935 – March 6, 1993
By Marlena De Lacroix
Can it really be 15 years since the light was turned off?
Those were the words of my friend, soap historian Leona Barad when I wrote to her telling her we were planning a special week of articles here at marlenadelacroix.com to commemorate the 15th anniversary of Douglas Marland’s death on March 6, 1993, at age 58.
Because Doug was a light not just in the lives of people he worked with on soaps, but also to the millions of viewers who loved the shows he served as headwriter over the years, we celebrate his life and work this week with a series of special articles, reminiscences and critical analyses of his soaps.
We start today with a series of interviews with a group of the actors on his shows, some of the many he especially enjoyed writing for and who loved working with him. Those soaps included The Doctors, General Hospital, Guiding Light, Loving (which he co-created with Agnes Nixon) and what many considered his masterpiece, As the World Turns.
Doug’s writing shone with intelligence, integrity and love. What was even more poignant about his sudden death at age 58, during emergency abdominal surgery, is that he died at the height of ATWT‘s success, just when his talents as a serious dramatist (not just a soap headwriter) were justly being celebrated.
In person, Doug was effusive, warm and unpretentious. He seemed to know everyone in the soap business — actors, producers, writers and soap journalists — and we were all thrilled to know him so well. He is acutely missed both as a beloved friend and consummate headwriter.
Schedule for marlenadelacroix.com’s special Doug Marland week:
Today: Interviews with some of his favorite actors.
Tuesday: Marland’s complete acting and writing credits. More interviews.
Wednesday: Patrick recalls some of Doug’s best storylines and reveals how they still resonate today.
Thursday: On the actual anniversary of his death, Marlena recalls the Doug she knew as a friend for many years.
And of course, all week we invite you to submit your own memories and comments on Doug and his work, which we’ll post.