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Elizabeth Hubbard, who appeared 14 times on Broadway and had long runs as Dr. Althea Davis and the cutthroat Lucinda Walsh on the daytime soap operas The Doctors and As the World Turns, respectively, has died. She was 89.
Hubbard died Saturday of cancer at her home in Roxbury, Connecticut, her son, Jeremy Bennett, told The Hollywood Reporter.
On the big screen, Hubbard played the gynecologist girlfriend of Gene Hackman’s character in I Never Sang for My Father (1970) and appeared in The Bell Jar (1979), Ordinary People (1980), Cold River (1982) and Center Stage (2000).
She portrayed Dr. Althea on NBC’s The Doctors from 1964-82 and the manipulating mogul Lucinda on CBS’ As the World Turns from 1984 until the show’s conclusion in September 2010. (Lucinda and Larry Bryggman’s John Dixon headed off to Amsterdam at the end.)
“I’ve been so lucky playing Lucinda — a character who could do anything,” she told TV Guide in 2010. “She could lie, break the law, she didn’t have to be good, and she always had that checkbook ready. Always!”
Nominated for 11 Daytime Emmys, Hubbard won in 1974 for her turn as Davis and for playing Edith Wilson, the wife of Woodrow Wilson, on NBC’s First Ladies Diaries in ’76. Her next eight noms came for her work on As the World Turns (all losses), followed by a final one in 2016 for a turn as an American sexologist on the digital soap Anacostia.
One of three kids, Hubbard was born in New York on Dec 22, 1933. Her mother, Elizabeth Wright Hubbard, was a pioneer in homeopathic therapies and one of the first women to receive a medical degree from Columbia University.
Hubbard graduated from Radcliffe College in 1955, studied acting in London at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and made her Broadway debut as a replacement actress in a revival of Threepenny Opera soon after its ’55 bow.
Her Broadway résumé also included Compulsion, A Day in the Death of Joe Egg, I Remember Mama and her final credit, 1983’s Dance a Little Closer.
Hubbard started out on the CBS soap Guiding Light in 1962 when it was live and 15 minutes long. “I replaced some actress who had flipped her lid,” she recalled. “They just needed somebody to round out the week, but then they kept me, and the rest is history.”
She and Gerald Gordon as Dr. Nick Bellini made for a popular romantic couple in daytime television on The Doctors.
She appeared on another CBS daytime drama, The Edge of Night, soon after that and on ABC’s One Life to Live as the wealthy Estelle Chadwick in 1983-84 before joining As the World Turns.
Her TV credits also included guest stints on The Virginian, Marcus Welby, M.D., Law & Order, Hope and Faith and Life on Mars.
“I’ve been very lucky in this thing called daytime,” she said, “first with Dr. Althea on The Doctors and then with Lucinda — two smart career women, both of them ladies who made their own way in the world, and I’m very proud to have put that out there.”
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