|Meredith Lord Wolek|
Lynn Benesch as Meredith Lord Wolek
|One Life to Live character|
|First appearance||July 15, 1968|
|Last appearance||April 1987|
|Created by||Agnes Nixon|
|Aliases||Meredith Lord (maiden name)|
1177 Regency Drive
Llanview, Pennsylvania 19100
Trish Van Devere as Meredith Lord
Actress Trish Van Devere was originally cast in the role, debuting as Meredith on the series debut episode July 15, 1968 through December 1968. Meredith was then recast by series creator and head writer Agnes Nixon to Lynn Benesch, who became most associated with the role and played the character from January 1969 until the character's onscreen death August 8, 1973. Benesch last appeared in the role briefly in April 1987.
The presumed daughter of newspaper tycoon Victor Lord (Ernest Graves) and his deceased wife Eugenia, Meredith (Trish Van Devere), called "Merrie" by friends, is introduced in 1968 as the sister of heroine Victoria (Gillian Spencer). An assertive free spirit, Merrie defies her father by dating upwardly-mobile Dr. Larry Wolek (Paul Tulley), a suitor which was not to Victor's liking. In the opening months of the serial, Victor pushed Meredith into an engagement with the more socially-acceptable Dr. Ted Hale. Meredith disavows her father's choice of wealthy Dr. Hale, the latter who accidentally falls down a flight of stairs while at Llanview Hospital in the company of Larry (Jim Storm). Fellow Llanview Hospital nurse Karen Martin overheard Larry and Ted arguing over Meredith on the other side of the closed stairwell door, and Larry threatening Ted. Nurse Martin implicates Larry, leading to Larry's arrest for Dr. Hale's apparent murder.
Larry stood trial and is nearly convicted, but is revealed to have threatened Ted to keep Meredith's terminal blood disease secret. Larry is released from police custody and hopes to spend time with Meredith in her remaining days. Meredith learns of her condition from Dr. Steve Hardy (John Beradino) and wanting to spare Larry the pain of watching her die, Meredith ran away to San Francisco and left him a "Dear John" letter saying she didn't love him any longer. Depressed, Merrie's ex-boyfriend Dr. Wolek confides in his former accuser, Karen Martin (Niki Flacks).
In 1969, Karen saved Larry (Michael Storm onward) from a fire that left him badly burned and bandaged for weeks; when he recovered, he gave in to her romantic advances and consummated their relationship. Meredith (Lynn Benesch onward) returned from California after a month, with her condition miraculously improved. Dr. Wolek, upon seeing Merrie again, hoped for a reconciliation. The two eventually admit to their mutual love for one another, much to Victor's chagrin. Days later, however, Karen revealed to Larry that she was pregnant with his love child. A heartbroken Larry married Karen to prevent her from having an illegal abortion. A heartbroken Merrie meets an amnesiac whom she calls Tom Edwards, and Victor invites Meredith to take him in at Llanfair. Falling for Tom, who's identity is uncovered to be Bruce McKenzie, the two are engaged with Victor's approval.
Karen Martin miscarried Larry's child in 1970, leading she and the doctor to separated. Larry soon resumes his courtship of Meredith, who by then was engaged to be married to Bruce. Bruce, whom Merrie continues to call "Tom", relents to Meredith's desire to be with Dr. Wolek, ending their brief engagement. Merrie and Larry soon wed June 25 wedding on the terrace of Llanfair, with Viki as the maid of honor to Merrie and a begrudging Victor overseeing the ceremony.
Settling into marriage, the husband and wife determine they wanted to conceive a child, much to the chagrin of Larry, who weary that Meredith's illness would return from remission. Merrie soon convinces Larry, and in 1971 after months of bed rest, Meredith gives birth two children, a son named Daniel and a stillborn daughter. Falling into post-partum depression at the loss of her daughter, the housewife became deeply depressed, and Dr. Wolek calls in a favor to Dr. Joyce Brothers (who played herself) to help with his wife's grief.
In 1973, thieves broke into Llanfair seeking the valuable art collection of Victor, taking Merrie and her brother-in-law Vinny (Antony Ponzini) hostage. After days of broken-down crisis negotiations with Lt. Ed Hall (Al Freeman, Jr.), Vinny and Meredith attempt to escape from the garage where they were held, and a clumsy Meredith falls and hits her head when one of the gunmen shoved her. Merrie suffers massive brain trauma on the August 8, 1973 episode, but before succumbing to her injuries tells Viki (Erika Slezak onward) to tell Larry how happy he had made her. Meredith briefly returns in a scene when Viki has a near-death experience and appears in Heaven in 1987.
Background and impact
The featured character's name "Meredith," a Welsh name meaning "magnificent lord," became an increasingly popular baby name in the United States in the immediate years following the One Life premiere in 1968 with the show credited with the uptick in usage.
|This section requires expansion. (April 2013)|
- (in English) One Life to Live. Season 1. Episode 1. July 15, 1968. American Broadcasting Company.
- (in English) One Life to Live. Season 1. December 1968. American Broadcasting Company.
- (in English) One Life to Live. Season 1. January 1969. American Broadcasting Company.
- (in English) One Life to Live. Season 6. April 8, 1973. American Broadcasting Company.
- (in English) One Life to Live. Season 19. April 1987. American Broadcasting Company.
- Schemering, Christopher (1988). The Soap Opera Encyclopedia. New York City: Ballantine Books. ISBN 0061011576.
- Waggett, Gerry (2008). The One Life to Live 40th Anniversary Trivia Book. New York City: Hyperion Books. ISBN 140132309X.
- "One Life to Live recap (1968)". ABC. Archived from the original on April 23, 2008. Retrieved November 21, 2011.
- "One Life to Live recap (1969)". ABC. Archived from the original on April 23, 2008. Retrieved November 21, 2011.
- (in English) One Life to Live. Season 2. June 25, 1970. American Broadcasting Company.
- "One Life to Live recap (1970)". ABC. Archived from the original on April 23, 2008. Retrieved November 21, 2011.
- "One Life to Live recap (1971)". ABC. Archived from the original on April 23, 2008. Retrieved November 21, 2011.
- "One Life to Live recap (1972)". ABC. Archived from the original on April 23, 2008. Retrieved November 21, 2011.
- McNeil, Alex (1996). Total Television. New York City: Penguin Books. p. 621. ISBN 0061011576.
- "One Life to Live recap (1973)". ABC. Archived from the original on April 23, 2008. Retrieved November 21, 2011.
- McNeil, Alex (1996). Total Television. New York City: Penguin Books. p. 520. ISBN 0061011576.