As reported by The New York Times, soap opera legend Agnes Nixon—creator of both All My Children and One Life To Live—has died from Parkinson’s-related pneumonia. She was 93.
Born in Chicago in 1922, Nixon got her start in the soap opera world working under Irna Phillips, the woman who created and wrote for a lot of the first American soap operas on radio and TV—including As The World Turns and Guiding Light. Nixon became the head writer for several of Phillips’ shows, and some people credit her with writing the very first medical-related storyline on a soap (a 1962 plot on Guiding Light involving a cancer scare).
In the mid-’60s, Nixon ventured off on her own and pitched ABC the concept for All My Children. The network passed on it, so instead she offered One Life To Live, which had a more diverse cast and modern storylines that better reflected the tumultuous time period than most soaps of that era. When that show took off, ABC moved forward with All My Children in 1970, which continued Nixon’s trend of pushing for socially conscious storylines and what the New York Times calls “politically charged topics.” With that show, Nixon was also finally able to unleash a character who had been in her head for years: iconic soap opera villain Erica Kane, who was played by Susan Lucci all the way up until the show’s cancelation in 2011.
Lucci posted a tribute to Nixon on Instagram, saying that she’s “forever grateful to her” and that she hopes “this liveliest and loveliest of women” may rest in peace.
Nixon is survied by three daughters, a son, 10 grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.