Phil Carey, who played Asa Buchanan on soap opera “One Life to Live,” died of lung cancer Feb. 6 in New York. He was 83.
Carey originated the role of the show’s business tycoon in 1980. Diagnosed with lung cancer in 2006, he took medical leave from the show to undergo treatment, but returned to the role later that year.
On “One Life to Live,” the character of Asa Buchanan died in his sleep in 2007, and Carey made three subsequent appearances on the show.
“In a week where we said goodbye to Clint Ritchie (ex-Clint Buchanan), the overwhelming news of Phil Carey’s death was truly a profound loss to the ‘One Life to Live’ family,” said executive producer Frank Valentini. “Like Asa, he possessed an undeniable quality that drew you to him, whether he was amusing you with a story or he was just plain ornery.”
Born Eugene Joseph Carey in Hackensack, N.J., he served in the U.S. Marines during WWII and the Korean War. After studying drama at the U. of Miami, he was perfoming in summer stock when a Warner Bros. rep spotted him and asked him to take a screen test. His first feature film, “Operation Pacific,” starred John Wayne and led to a long-term contract with Warner Bros. During his time at Warner’s and later at Columbia, Carey starred with actors including Gary Cooper in “Springfield Rifle,” Henry Fonda in “Mister Roberts,” Peter Fonda in “Fighting Mad” and Tyrone Power in “The Long Gray Line.”
On television, he appeared in series including “Philip Marlowe,” “Bengal Lancers,” “Laredo” and “The Untamed World,” and guest-starred on “All in the Family,” “Little House on the Prairie,” “Police Woman,” “The Bionic Woman” and “Gunsmoke.” He also performed onstage in Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons” and “Cyrano de Bergerac.”
Carey is survived by his wife Colleen and five children.