Soaps TV News

All My Children's Mary Fickett (ex-Ruth) Passes Away At Age 83

All My Children star Mary Fickett, who originated the role of Ruth Martin, passed away at her Virginia home Thursday.

Actress Mary Fickett, who originated the role of Ruth Parker Brent Martin on ABC’s All My Children passed away at her Virginia home at the age of 83.

Though Fickett’s work spanned television, stage and film during her fifty year career, the actress is best known for her portrayal of Ruth Martin, wife of Dr. Joe Martin (Ray MacDonnell) on All My Children from 1970-1996. In 1973, the actress garnered an Emmy for Outstanding Achievement by Individuals in Daytime Drama, the first actor/actress to win an Emmy award for a soap. Fickett retired in 1996, but returned in 2000 for a brief stint before retiring for good. Fickett “never really acted,” MacDonnell said in 2008. “She was just a wonderful human being and a delight to work with. She was very bright and always cheerful and inspired natural emotions in me and her fellow actors.”

Fickett’s acting career began alongside her father, Homer Fickett, a producer of radio and television in the 1940’s and early 1950’s. She debuted on Broadway in 1949 sharing the stage with Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne in I Know My Love. In 1955, she received a Theater World Award for her performance in Tea and Sympathy with Anthony Perkins and Joan Fontaine. She was nominated for a Tony Award in 1958 for her role as Eleanor Roosevelt opposite Ralph Bellamy’s FDR in Sunrise at Campobello.

Fickett has worked with many leading men including John Forsythe, Beatrice Arthur, Michael Dreyfuss, Brian Keith, Robert Culp, Jack Klugman and Bing Crosby. She served as co-anchor with Harry Reasoner on the CBS morning show Calendar from 1961 to 1963.

In 1979, Fickett married soap opera director Allen Fristoe who passed away in 2008. The family is planning a private service. All My Children will dedicate their September 21 episode to Fickett in remembrance.