What happened to Ellen Holly? The beloved One Life to Live actress has been confirmed dead aged 92. How she died, her career, movies and TV shows, untold facts explored.
She was a stage and screen actor.
Beginning her career on stage in the late 1950s, she became the first African American star of a daytime television series with her role as Carla Gray in ABC’s soap opera One Life to Live.
Unfortunately, the world learned about her passing in December 2023, and following that, many might want to know more about her life before and after death. Keep reading for more.
What was Ellen Holly’s cause of death?
Legendary movie star, Ellen Holly has died in her sleep on Wednesday at the Calvary Hospital in the Bronx, New York.
Ellen was 92 years old and the first Black person to ever star in a soap opera.
Holly died at Calvary Hospital in the Bronx on December 6, 2023, at the age of 92.
Fans remembered Ellen on X, formerly known as Twitter, and shared sentimental messages for the groundbreaking star.
One wrote: “Rest In Power, Ellen Holly. Thank you for coming and for all your pioneering work. Fly girl, fly….”
Another said: “Ellen Holly died, age 92. Actor, troubler of waters, lucky to have seen her on stage at A.R.T. on Brattle Street, 1980s.”
“Oh no! Rest in Glory, Ellen Holly,” added a third.
Someone wrote: “Sad news. A true pioneer who opened doors for other Black actors in daytime drama.”
“WE are going to always talk up Ellen Holly and her contributions to daytime,” said a fifth.
Who was Ellen Holly?
Soap Opera star Ellen Holly was born on January 16, 1931, in New York, New York, United States.
She was born into a prominent Black family and her parents were William Garnet Holly (father) and Grace Holly (mother).
Holly was Black and claimed African, English, French, and Shinnecock Native heritage.
She held the lead role in One Life to Live as Carla Gray from 1968 to 1980 and then again from 1983 to 1985.
Ellen was chosen for the role by Agnes Nixon, a TV producer, after she saw a New York Times opinion piece Ellen wrote, according to Deadline.
The piece was called How Black Do You Have To Be? and it was about how difficult it was to find acting roles as a light-skinned Black woman.
Before her big break on One Life to Live, Ellen appeared on The Big Story in 1957, The Defenders in 1963, Dr. Kildare in 1964, and other television shows.
Holly was a member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority.
Was Ellen Holly married with children?
For Ellen Holly’s 92 years on earth, she never got married and hence, her marital status always stayed as unmarried.
However, this does not mean she never had a love life. She reportedly dated a few men in her lifetime.
She had a relationship with her One Life to Live co-star Roger Hill who is also known for his role as Cyrus in the cult film The Warriors (1979).
Although she never had a husband or a spouse, she did write about her romance with Harry Belafonte, an actor and civil rights leader, in her autobiography.
About children, Holly was not known to be a mother, thus, she had no kids. No confirmed reports have emerged that emphatically state she welcomed a son or a daughter.
Holly’s death comes after One Life to Live’s reboot star Kassie DePaiva announced she would resurrect a familiar role for the soap’s sister show.
The 62-year-old soap regular is set to bring her character Blair to General Hospital.
The character appeared on the soap this September, according to TVLine.
However, there were no details on why Blair would be making her way into Port Charles.
Kassie previously appeared on General Hospital in March 2012 during a multi-month crossover event.
She told Soap Opera Digest that she would be willing to return as Blair, and now it looks like the time has finally come.
“There’s a lot of history there, a lot of time, a lot of water under that bridge,” she said.
“But I guess Todd is not Todd, right? So if I were to go back on that show, he probably wouldn’t recognize me. But I could go, ‘You’re hot. You look like somebody I used to know.'”
What was Ellen Holly’s net worth?
Ellen Holly made her debut in the industry in 1959 and retired in 2002 after over 40 years. In all of her active years, she had iconic roles which paid off.
At the time of her death, the actress accumulated an estimated net worth of between $1 million and $5 million.