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Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (3) | Trivia (11) | Salary (1)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 4 July 1926Miami, Florida, USA
Date of Death 28 February 2002New York City, New York, USA  (complications from a stroke)
Birth NameMary Stuart Houchins
Height 5' 6" (1.68 m)

Mini Bio (1)

She reigned on Search for Tomorrow (1951) for nearly four decades and became one of TV's most popular daytime ladies. As the ever-noble Joanne Gardner Barron Tate Vincente Tourneur, she remained on board for its entire run, and when that four-times-married role was in the can, she was ready for more. Born Mary Houchins on Independence Day, 1926 in Miami, Florida, actress Mary Stuart grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Demonstrating musical talent at an early age, she sang with local bands at age 12 and performed with the USO at various military bases during her high school years. After she graduated she worked as a photojournalist before gearing up for an acting career in New York. A hat check girl and table photographer at New York's Hotel Roosevelt Grill, she had started to sing on the club stage when she was discovered by producer Joe Pasternak who put her under contract with MGM. Moving West, she spent years in obscure starlet parts while doubling for the stars in screen tests. Going nowhere and playing everything from a Mexican half-breed in Thunderhoof (1948) to a cigarette girl in The Girl from Jones Beach (1949), a very disappointed Mary called it quits with Hollywood within a few years and returned to Gotham to study. She happened upon the role of a lifetime after the director of "SOT" caught her in an acting class performance. She married Time-Life executive Richard Krolik a month before the soap's premiere and the couple went on to have two children, Jeffrey and Cynthia. Both Mary and her Joanne character remained survivors despite a long series of hassles which included a battle with writers who tried to kill off her character, and numerous potential cancellations of the show, which finally happened in 1989. She earned the distinction of being the first daytime performer to be nominated for an Emmy Award, competing against prime-time actresses Shirley Booth, Cara Williams, Gertrude Berg and Mary Tyler Moore in 1962. She lost to Booth's "Hazel" character. At age 63, she ventured on with the role of a judge in One Life to Live (1968) in 1988 for a year, and then a longer-running part on Guiding Light (1952) in 1996. This role lasted until her death from cancer in 2002 at age 75. Mary's autobiography entitled "Both of Me" was written in 1980 and also serves as a comprehensive history of "SOT."

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net

Spouse (3)

Wolfgang Neumann (1986 - 28 February 2002) (her death)
Richard Krolik (August 1951 - 1966) (divorced) (2 children)
Michael Anthony (1946 - 15 November 1948) (divorced)

Trivia (11)

Has two grandchildren.
She started the New York chapter of the Book PALS (Performing Artists for Literacy in Schools) program in 1992.
Was ill at the time of her death with gastric cancer and bone cancer.
She had the 'Search For Tomorrow' writers pen a subplot in the late 1960s in which her character, Joanne, trades her traditional bun hairdo for a more "mod" hairstyle. This was in conjunction with her newfound independence following her divorce from her first husband.
A singer in her early days, she recorded an album with Percy Faith in 1956 and collaborated on a few songs with Michel Legrand for another album in 1973.
A writer on the side, she penned a number of songs which she performed on her daytime soap. She also wrote a screenplay which was produced for Canadian TV.
Changed her name to Mary Stuart for the movies. "Stuart" was her mother's maiden name.
In 1946 she married a New York-based painter who accompanied her to Hollywood after MGM signed her. Their marriage was kept hidden for career reasons. MGM preferred she be free to be seen at night spots with male escorts as promotion. He quickly returned to New York, however, and they divorced two years later following the strains of a lost-distance relationship.
She had two children: Cynthia (1955) and Jeffrey (1956) during the run of "Search for Tomorrow." The first pregnancy was hidden on the show by strategic maneuvering of camera angles, furniture and plants. The second pregnancy was incorporated into the script.
A talented singer, songwriter and musician, she gave her first concert January 8, 1974 at Catawba College in Salisbury, North Carolina. Scott Holmes, currently Tom Hughes on "As the World Turns", was a student there at the time and was chosen to be one of her backup singers for the concert.
Is interred at The Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx, New York.

Salary (1)

Search for Tomorrow (1951) $250,000 per year (as of 1978)

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