It was a sad day on the set of All My Children Wednesday (Oct. 8) as news spread that show veteran Eileen Herlie had passed away. The actress who played All My Children‘s Myrtle Fargate died in New York City due to complications from pneumonia at the age of 90.
”Eileen was much loved by every one at All My Children, because she gave so much of herself everyday,” says Eden Riegel, who has played AMC’s Bianca since 2000. ”She lit up the whole studio, corny as it sounds. No one was ever more alive than she.”
Herlie joined the cast of All My Children in 1976 as Myrtle Fargate, a loving and wise mother figure to most of the citizens of Pine Valley, especially Erica Kane (Susan Lucci). ”I’m sure Eileen is lighting up the skies in heaven with her flaming red hair and lovely Scottish accent,” says Lucci, who’s also currently a contestant on Dancing With the Stars. ”The earth’s loss is heaven’s gain.”
In saying goodbye, the AMC cast and crew shared stories about Herlie, as well as a champagne toast to celebrate her life. ”I think she really would have enjoyed [that],” Riegel says. ”She loved a good cocktail, loved having an attractive young man around to flirt with, loved getting her hair and makeup done, loved to act, and gave it all she had right up to the end.”
Born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland, Herlie started out acting in the Scottish National Theatre and in the English theater in the company of Tyrone Guthrie. She also played Queen Gertrude on Broadway, opposite Richard Burton’s Hamlet, and played the same role in the movie, opposite Sir Laurence Olivier. Other credits include roles in Broadway’s The Matchmaker, Take Me Along, All American, and Crown Matrimonial, and the movies Freud and The Seagull with Simone Signoret.
Herlie remained a presence on AMC right up until her death. She most recently appeared on the show on June 23 of this year.