This post is for my sister.
I have never, ever been the “soap opera” type. I find the ridiculously formulaic story arcs (spiced up every now and then with a dash of current affairs or the occasional demon possession) to be extremely frustrating.
But thanks to my sister’s iron-fisted control during the afternoon hours of the lone television in our house when we were kids, I know all about All My Children; at least, the All My Children of 1990-1998. (If anyone who acted on Days of Our Lives ever passes away on one of my weekends, that post will be for my mother.)
Actor James Mitchell, who played Palmer on All My Children for three decades, passed away yesterday due to a lung disease complicated by pneumonia. He was 89.
I only knew him as Palmer, but it turns out that he was a very talented dancer. Before heading to Pine Valley in 1979, Mitchell starred in Broadway musicals and performed with the American Ballet Theater.
He recently appeared on All My Children on January 5th for the show’s 40th anniversary, but in recent years he’s spent time teaching theater students and actors at Yale and Drake Universities.
Though I was forced to watch All My Children– and protested every second of it with as much sass and as many sarcastic comments as I could muster– nostalgia is a powerful and dangerous force that makes you misty-eyed for things that you didn’t particularly like and wouldn’t want to live through again. Thanks to it (and my sister) I can honestly say that I’m saddened by the loss of an actor whom I hand’t watched in over 10 years. He was a part of my childhood– however unwillingly– and I will miss him.