Monday, May 20, 2024

RIP Actor Donald May, Star of Soap Opera “The Edge of Night,” Dead at Almost 95


Back in the days when there were just five TV channels– yes, just five — afternoon soap operas had millions and millions of viewers.

Donald May, the actor who played dashing Adam Drake on “The Edge of Night,” has died a few weeks short of his 95th birthday. He was a huge daytime star. He and Maeve McGuire played Adam and Nicole, the show’s hero and heroine. Back in the 70s I was in my dorm room when I heard a girl down the hall let out a shriek. I ran down the hall. She said, “Nicole is alive!” The actress had taken a year off, now her character was back and reunited with her romantic lead.

Donald May played Adam for years, was eventually killed off permanently when “Edge of Night” switched from CBS to ABC. (May probably wanted $10 more a week. P&G was no fun to work for.) He went on to play other characters on the New York soaps, particularly owned by Proctor and Gamble. But Adam Drake was his signature role. He was a lawyer and a crime solver. When McGuire took that time off, the show introduced Dixie Carter as a character to replace her in scenes with May. Carter was such a hit she went off to “Designing Women.” But May and McGuire were the real stars.

And that’s what it was like when there were five channels, no cable, no streaming, no wifi. And somehow we lived.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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