James Douglas, Actor on 'Peyton Place' and 'As the World Turns,' Dies at 86

Courtesy of Photofest
James Douglas on 'Peyton Place.'

He played Steven Cord and Grant Colman, both lawyers, on the ABC primetime soap opera and the CBS daytime serial, respectively.

James Douglas, who starred as an attorney on both the ABC primetime soap opera Peyton Place and the CBS daytime serial As the World Turns, has died. He was 86.

Douglas died March 5, his family announced. His funeral took place March 18 in Bethlehem, Conn.

Douglas appeared as Steven Cord on more than 400 episodes of Peyton Place, the first primetime serialized drama on U.S. television. The half-hour show, based on the sensational 1956 novel by Grace Metalious, ran for five seasons, 1964–69 — and three times a week at its peak — and was one of the first shows to deal frankly with sex.

Cord had an intense on-again, off-again romance with Betty Anderson (Barbara Parkins) on the series, as he fought for her love with Rodney Harrington (Ryan O’Neal), who was his half-brother.

“I joined the show in 1965 after it had been on the air for nine months. It was Episode 77,” he said in an August 1968 interview with United Press International. “Now, 400 episodes later, I think I’ve had enough.”

He stayed with the show until the end, then returned for a 1985 reunion telefilm.

Douglas played Oakdale lawyer Grant Colman on As the World Turns from 1973 to 1981 and then in three other stints that culminated in 1995.

A Los Angeles native who attended UCLA and served in the Army, Douglas was drawn to show business by his father, Stan Johnson, an actor who wound up serving as an art director on Peyton Place.

Douglas appeared on such shows as Father Knows Best, The Millionaire, The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp and Death Valley Days and in such films as Elvis Presley’s G.I. Blues (1960) and Paul Newman’s Sweet Bird of Youth (1962) before being cast as Cord.

After Peyton Place, he appeared on such primetime series as The Bold Ones, Ironside and Spenser: for Hire and on other daytime soap operas like Another World, The Doctors, The Edge of Night and One Life to Live.

Douglas was married to the late actress Dawn Busby.

Survivors include children Kimberly, Taryn and Cort and grandchildren Marie, Suzanne, Peter, Julia, Michael and Mariah.

 

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