Helen Wagner, who died in 2010 at the age of 91, played iconic Nancy Hughes on CBS’ “As the World Turns” for 54 years. She’s a natural choice to be featured in an “In Memoriam” tribute on the Daytime Emmy Awards.
But while “In Memoriam” segments appear annually at other kudos, they’re curiously absent at the Daytime Emmys.
Exec producer Al Schwartz says it’s not a question of desire or expense, but rather time that causes the tribute segment to be cut.
“You’re often trimming the show while it’s going on,” he says.
The Daytime Emmys have paid individual tribute in past years to such luminaries as William J. Bell (2005), Douglas Marland (1993) and Douglass Watson (1989), but there are no announced plans to do any this year.
The choice has raised eyebrows given that, in addition to Wagner, the industry lost veteran actors Frances Reid (“Days of Our Lives”), James Mitchell (“All My Children”) and Jacqueline Courtney (“Another World”). The four actors represent more than 150 years of television.
“(Producers) misjudge the emotional factor of it,” says TV Guide daytime columnist Michael Logan. “It’s a somber moment, and it doesn’t take up much time at all.”
“Why not acknowledge the giants of television, whether they’ve created ‘Sesame Street,’ a talkshow or a cooking show?” asks four-time Emmy winner Susan Flannery. “They’ve had an influence on our culture.”
“These are legends and icons,” says Emmy-winning actress Judi Evans. “Those we’ve lost deserve our love and respect. And we deserve the closure.”
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