Claire Labine

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Claire Labine is an American soap opera writer and producer.

Early career[edit]

Although she originally aspired to be an actress, Labine eventually became a critically acclaimed writer. She attended the University of Kentucky where her major was journalism, but later she switched to playwriting major at Columbia University’s School of Dramatic Arts (now Columbia University School of the Arts). After graduating, she joined the writing staff of Captain Kangaroo. After writing for the show for two years, she was fired in 1968.

Labine's first foray into daytime was as a script writer for the CBS Daytime soap opera Where the Heart Is. After only a year at the show, she was promoted to the post of Head Writer in 1971, along with fellow writer and close friend Paul Avila Mayer. Although the duo increased the show's ratings their stint at the show ended in 1973, when CBS chose to take the show off the air.

Soon after the end of Where the Heart Is, she became Head Writer for another CBS soap, Love of Life. Once again she was paired with Mayer. The ratings for the show rose, which brought them to the attention of rival network ABC.

In late 1974, ABC Daytime approached Labine and Mayer, who were the Head Writers of Love of Life at the time, about creating a new soap opera. The network wanted a soap opera similar to General Hospital - even the proposed title of the new soap, City Hospital, resembled it. Labine and Mayer added a large Irish family to ABC's vision of the show - the Ryan family - and Ryan's Hope was created. While they were writing it, Ryan's Hope won six Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Writing and two Daytime Emmys for Outstanding Program. In addition to this, Labine won a Writers Guild of America Award for each year that she wrote the show.

After ratings began to sag, Labine and Mayer were dismissed from the show in 1982 and replaced by their Associate Head Writer, Mary Ryan Munisteri. ABC asked both of them back in early 1983 when it became apparent that Munisteri's writing was not improving the ratings. Labine and Mayer were fired once again later that year.

During her absence from Ryan's Hope, Michael Brockman, former President of CBS Daytime, asked Labine to develop a new serial in 1986. Her proposal was entitled Celebration but never made it to the air. Had it been greenlit, Jane Greenstein would have been have Assistant to the Head Writer like she was on General Hospital.

In 1987, Labine was asked by ABC to come back to Ryan's Hope. She accepted ABC's offer and remained with the show until 1989, when the show was cancelled.


In 1993, Labine returned to daytime as Head Writer of ABC's General Hospital. She brought the show much critical acclaim, and won her seventh Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Writing for her work on the show. She chose to depart the show in early 1996. During this time, she created a proposed General Hospital spin-off Heart and Soul, to star Wally Kurth and Rena Sofer in Brooklyn, NY. It was about two families, one black, one white, both show business families. The black family was three generations of jazz musicians. Next door was a theatrical family. The Brooklyn community was a big part of it, as well as a local radio station, some very colorful characters. The show was not picked up by ABC Daytime or NBC Daytime; Wendy Riche's competing Port Charles was ABC's choice instead.

Labine co-wrote (with Judith Pinsker) the 1995 New York Times bestseller General Hospital tie-in novel Robin's Diary, based in the AIDS storyline between characters Stone Cates and Robin Scorpio.[1]

In spring 1996, Labine was offered the Head Writer role at As the World Turns but turned it down because she and Matthew Labine were trying to get HEART & SOUL [aka Union Place] on the air. "I had to turn it down because we were in the middle of that development. I said to Procter & Gamble, “I am gratified by this offer, but if I have any chance at all...” I didn’t think there was much chance but I thought it was worth a go to do our own show. And they were very lovely about it.

In late 1996, she was made Head Writer of ABC's One Life to Live because she had a year and a half left on her contract with ABC. She remained with the show until early 1998.


Most recently, Labine had a short stint at CBS' Guiding Light. She was Head Writer of the show from 2000 through 2001. Labine shared the reins of GL with her children, Matthew Labine and Eleanor Labine. Rumors abounded throughout Labine's tenure at GL that she, Executive Producer Paul Rauch, and Executive in Charge of Production Mary Alice Dwyer-Dobbin had frequent arguments about the show's direction. At one point, it was announced in the soap press that the Labines were departing, only to have the announcement recanted a week later. [1] P&G did eventually replace the Labines the following year with writer Lloyd Gold and Christopher Dunn.

In November 2009, Labine gave an exclusive interview during which she discussed her struggles with ABC during Ryan's Hope, her enjoyment of writing General Hospital, and her less enjoyable experiences on One Life to Live and Guiding Light. She also discussed details about her aborted project, "Union Place" and insights into her illustrious career.[2]

Positions held[edit]

Where the Heart Is

  • Co-Head Writer: 1971 - 1973
  • Script Writer: 1970 - 1971

Love of Life

  • Co-Head Writer 1973 - 1975

Ryan’s Hope

  • Co-Creator
  • Executive Producer: July 1975 - June 1982
  • Head Writer: July 1975 - June 1982, January 1983 - November 1983, February 1987 - January 1989

General Hospital

  • Head Writer: September 1993 - March 1996

One Life to Live

  • Head Writer: December 1996 - April 1998

Guiding Light

  • Head Writer: August 2000 - July 2001


Daytime Emmy[edit]

9 Wins

  • (1995; Outstanding Writing; General Hospital)
  • (1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1983 & 1984, Outstanding Writing, Ryan's Hope)
  • (1979, Outstanding Drama Series, Ryan's Hope)
  • (1977, Outstanding Drama Series, Ryan's Hope)

12 Nominations

  • (1978, 1981 & 1982, Outstanding Drama Series, Ryan's Hope)

Writers Guild Of America[edit]


  • 1995, General Hospital
  • 1994, General Hospital
  • 1980-1983, 1986–1989, Ryan's Hope


  • 2001, Guiding Light
  • 1996, General Hospital
  • 1979, Ryan's Hope


HW Tenure[edit]

Preceded by
Pat Falken Smith
Head Writer of Where the Heart Is
(with Paul Avila Mayer)

mid 1970 – March 1973
Succeeded by
Show Ended
Preceded by
Loring Mandel
Head Writer of Love of Life
(with Paul Avila Mayer)

March 1973 – July 1975
Succeeded by
Jean Halloway
Preceded by
Head Writer of Ryan's Hope
(with Paul Avila Mayer)

July 1975 – July 1982
Succeeded by
Mary Ryan Munisteri
Preceded by
Mary Ryan Munisteri
Head Writer of Ryan's Hope
(with Paul Avila Mayer)

January 1983 – December 1983
Succeeded by
Pat Falken Smith
& James E. Reilly
Preceded by
Tom King & Millee Taggart
Head Writer of Ryan's Hope
(with Matthew Labine, Paul Avila Mayer & Eleanor Labine)

February 1987 – January 1989
Succeeded by
Show Ended
Preceded by
Bill Levinson
Head Writer of General Hospital
(with Matthew Labine & Eleanor Labine)

1993 – 1996
Succeeded by
Robert Guza, Jr.
Karen Harris
Preceded by
Leah Laiman
Jean Passanante
Head Writer of One Life to Live
(with Matthew Labine)

1996 – 1998
Succeeded by
Pam Long
Preceded by
James Harmon Brown and Barbara Esensten
Head Writer of Guiding Light
2000 – 2001
Succeeded by
Lloyd Gold


  1. ^ Labine, Claire; Judith Pinsker (November 1995). Robin's Diary. ABC Daytime Press. p. 180. ISBN 0-8019-8775-X. Retrieved February 19, 2009. 
  2. ^