Marland Monday: Here’s to the Day Players

Jennifer Kathleen Gibbons
6 min readJul 12, 2022

It’s 7/11! Have you gotten your free Slurpee today? Well come on down and slurp that Slurpee, because it’s also…

Marland Monday!

You might be thinking “here she goes she’s going to say every Monday she writes about Douglas Marland, one of the GOATS of daytime.” You are correct! Let’s put the Slurpee down and remember!

One of the underrated things about soaps is recurring characters or day players. They usually are the ones that provide the show’s humor or make sure a job gets done, be it, Dr. Margaret Sedgwick being Springfield’s gyno to the ladies on Guiding Light, Kevin the reliable bartender and baby-sitter to Little John on Ryan’s Hope, Horace Smithfield, the faithful lawyer to the Ewings on Dallas, and Rose DeVille, a baby broker and madam on Young and Restless.

Some recurring characters stay for decades- in thirty-five years Dr. Sedgwick told many women they were pregnant, tried not to be irritated when they canceled their abortions at the last minute, was kind and comforting when several women had miscarriages, and told Maureen Bauer she couldn’t have children, performed a hysterectomy on Annie Dutton, and delivered ten-fifteen babies who in ten years were ready to graduate college. It’s a soap! Also on Guiding Light, there was a maid at the Spaulding mansion. She could make everyone laugh and often raised her eyebrows at her employers. You might’ve seen Ginger in the White House, or in Napa, or maybe playing Tonya Harding’s mom. Ginger was played by Allison Janney. Not bad for a maid.

Marland had recurring characters as well. Guiding Light he had a few: one border named Mr. Thatcher who was hard of hearing, and Gracie Nola’s best friend. Let’s go to Oakdale where many people cohabited the town with the Hugheses, the Walshes, the Dixons, the Montgomerys, the Stewarts, and of course the Snyders.

William Le Messena (Ambrose Bingham) Ambrose was probably the closest thing Lucinda had to a real friend. It also helped he was her lawyer. He helped Lucinda get out of jams all the time and she was in a lot of them, listened to her worry about Lily, and tried to calm her down when she became upset. Elizabeth Hubbard told this story to TV Guide before ATWT was canceled: “Our first day on the set together, he wore a suit once worn by Alfred Lunt, whom he’d worked with. He worked with Noel Coward. He worked with everyone. And who was his lover? [Long pause] Oh, yes, Montgomery Clift!” Oh yeah, she spilled the tea. Le Messena died in January 1993, two months before Marland’s death. Here’s Ambrose handling Tonio’s divorce in 1987:

Jill Lawson (Judith Lawson) Judith Lawson was a reporter for WOAK, Oakdale’s TV station (let’s face it, the only TV station) who was compared to Barbara Walters but really more like Nancy Grace without Grace’s accent. She reported on Kim Hughes’ trial and made Kim look guilty, then went to Andy Dixon’s school and asked him questions about his father’s involvement in Kim’s lovechild with Bob. After a couple of years, Lawson shed the reporter’s clothes and then sashayed to Pine Valley to become Opal Gardner Purdy on All my Children.

Ann Mitchell (Jane McDonald-Bingham) Jane was like Ambrose in the fact she was one of Lucinda’s few true friends. She too listened to Lucinda’s tales of woe while scheduling meetings, making sure the private jet was at Oakdale Airport when Lucinda needed it, and fell in love with Ambrose and they married.

Jonathan Hogan (Jason Benedict) Jason Benedict was a prosecutor who tried Paul Stenbeck (then Ryan) when Paul thought he killed his father. Jason tried to make it out it was murder. He lost, but don’t worry! He went on to head the federal crime commission and worked with Iva (Lisa Brown) on a sting involving a cruise and goldiggers. Jason also became friends with Tom Hughes and talked lawyer stuff with him. When Lisa Brown left in 1993, they married her off to Jason. Watching it was bittersweet; Iva finally being happy meant she had to leave the show.

Dr. Lynn Michaels (Courtney Sherman-Simon) Dr. Michaels was the go-to therapist at Memorial and helped many people. Lucinda risked being vulnerable and talked to Dr. Michaels about her abusive mother and how she wanted a better relationship with her children. Angel was able to finally talk about being an incest survivor. If people had a crisis, Dr. Michaels was the person to see. FYI: Courtney got her start on Search for Tomorrow, where her character was paired up with another and got married. So did the people who played them. She went on to write for ATWT, Santa Barbara, All My Children, and Loving. He also went on ATWT, then in 1981 took over big shoes: Dr. Ed Bauer. Peter Simon ended up playing Ed off and on until the show was canceled in 2009.

William Bogert (Fred Greer) Fred Greer was the creepy lawyer people had to go to when they couldn’t afford Ambrose, Jessica Griffin, and Tom Hughes. He had a tendency to blackmail his clients so eventually they had to pay him more in retainer, making them wish they had gone to Amrbose, Jessica or Tom. I know one time Iva was having a hard time and he blackmailed her. It took Lucinda to march over there and give him a piece of her mind that he stopped. Another FYI: Bogert was a character actor who was Molly’s dad in Facts of Life, and threw a New Wave Bat Mitzvah for his daughter Muffy (Jami Getz) that included an appearance from Devo who sang “That’s Good.” Oh why didn’t Fred use his powers for good and have Devo play the Mona Lisa?

Antonia Rey (Rosa) The summer of 1986 Dusty Donovan took off to work at a ranch. Meg Snyder took off and followed him, then they slept together. But they were well fed thanks to Rosa the cook, who always knew how to keep everyone happy. Rosa followed Dusty to Oakdale, where she became John Dixon’s housekeeper. Frustrated with the doctor, she went and cooked for Lucinda, only Lucinda married John. I always wanted Rosa to open a restaurant when people didn’t feel like dressing up for Mona Lisa or the yacht club. Yet another FYI: Rey was a talented Broadway actress who was in a revival of A Streetcar Named Desire, The Ritz, and The Rose Tatoo. She also was in The Object of my Affection as a proud mother of a gay child then chanted “We’re here! We’re queer! Get used to it!”

The recurring characters weren’t in front burner storylines, didn’t have contracts. But they provided a scaffolding for the other cast members to make sure the story moved along. There’s not that many day players these days on soaps these days. As they say back East: More’s the pity.

Drink Slurpees and turn in next week…