Ellen Holly, ‘One Life to Live’ star, dead at 92

Ellen Holly, the actress best known for her role as Carla Gray in the movie “One Life to Live,'' has died. She was 92 years old.

Holly “passed away peacefully in her sleep on Wednesday at the age of 92 at Calvary Hospital in the Bronx, New York,” her rep confirmed to Fox News Digital.

Born in 1931, Holly began acting in theater in the 1950s. In 1956, she made her Broadway debut in “Too Late the Phalalope.” In 1960 she appeared in “Face of a Hero,'' and later that decade she appeared in “Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright'' and “A Hand Is on the Gate.'' appeared in.

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Ellen Holly (left) and her later life featured in “One Life to Live.” (ABC Photo Archive/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images/Ashley E. Jones)

In the theater, she performed with such stars as James Earl Jones, Jack Lemmon, and Cicely Tyson.

While she worked on stage, she also began dipping her toes in film and television. In 1957, she made her television debut on “The Big Story.” In 1959, she earned her first film credit with her bit role in “Take a Giant Step.”

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In 1968, she won her best known role in “One Life to Live.'' From then until 1985, she appeared in over 500 episodes. According to a press release about her death obtained by FOX News Digital, “After seeing Holly's opinion piece in the New York Times titled 'How Black Should You Be?' He was personally chosen for the role by Nixon. About the difficulty of finding roles for her as a light-skinned black woman. ”

Ellen Holly Photos

Ellen Holly and Al Freeman Jr. in a scene from “One Life to Live.” (ABC Photo Archive/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images)

Her casting in the show was noted as “the first time a black person has starred in a soap opera.'' Her character struggled with her racial identity, and a large part of her story was a “love triangle with two doctors, one white, one black.”

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She gained a lot of attention for her controversial role. Ratings soared even as the station received emails from people outraged by the interracial dating on the show. “In her later years, Holly spoke of the low pay and other mistreatment she and her black castmates suffered at the hands of her show's executives, despite their contributions to the success of her show,” the press release said. he added.

Ellen Holly Photos

Ellen Holly and Robert Mili appeared together on “One Life to Live.” (ABC Photo Archive/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images)

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Holly also starred in another popular soap opera, “Guiding Light,” which aired from 1988 to 1993. Her last acting credit was in the 2002 TV movie “Her 10,000 Black Men Named George''.

During most of the 1990s, she did not have many roles as an actress, instead working as a librarian at New York's White Plains Public Library. She describes this experience as her happiest period in her life in her autobiography, One Life: The Autobiography of an African American Actress.


Her family includes her aunt, Anna Arnold Hedgeman, who was one of the leading organizers of the March on Washington, and her uncle, Henry Hyland Garnett, an abolitionist who later served as ambassador to Liberia. This included several activists. President Garfield. She was working on a documentary about her family's achievements.



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