Helen Wagner, a 54-year veteran of As the World Turns, died Saturday at age 91. Wagner spoke the first line (“Good morning, dear”) on ATWT’s 1956 premiere episode and appeared on the show for the last time April 5. Her role as Nancy Hughes earned her the Guinness World Record for playing the same television role for the longest time, the AP reports.
Wagner described Hughes, in 1968, as “a tentpole character” who was “the one the others come and talk to." Thirty years later, she bemoaned the fact that the character had been turned into “only an extra figure at parties.” An executive producer says “all of us at As the World Turns are deeply saddened by Helen's passing. While we will miss her greatly Helen will always remain the heart and soul of As the World Turns.”