Actor logged 30-year run on ABC daytime soap
James Mitchell, an accomplished dancer, Broadway and film thesp who logged a 30-year run on ABC’s “All My Children,” died Friday in Los Angeles. He was 89.
Mitchell died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and complications from pneumonia, according to ABC. The thesp made his final appearance on “All My Children” on Jan. 5, on the episode that marked the sudser’s 40th anniversary. Mitchell was a mainstay of the show from 1979-2008, playing Palmer Cortlandt, the wealthy patriarch of one of the fictional Pine Valley’s most prominent families.
Born and raised in Sacramento, Calif., Mitchell began his career as a dancer. He landed leading roles in a number of Broadway tuners, including “Brigadoon,” “Billion Dollar Baby,” “Bloomer Girl,” “Carousel,” “Carnival” and “Paint Your Wagon.”
He appeared with the American Ballet Theater in New York and toured Europe and South America and the Agnes de Mille Dance Theater, and he appeared in touring productions of “Funny Girl,” opposite Carol Lawrence, and “The King and I,” opposite Ann Blyth, among other legit productions. Later in his career, Mitchell taught dance and movement at Yale University and Drake University in Iowa.
Mitchell’s film roles include the 1985 hoofer retrospective “That’s Dancing” and 1977’s “The Turning Point.” Earlier film roles included 1953’s “The Band Wagon” with Fred Astaire, 1954’s “Deep in My Heart” with Cyd Charisse, and 1955’s “Oklahoma.”
Before “All My Children” Mitchell spent four years on the ABC daytime soap “Where the Heart Is.”
Survivors include his longtime partner, Albert Wolsky. A memorial service is pending.