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Cathryn Damon in 1978
September 11, 1930|
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
|Died||May 4, 1987
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Cause of death||Cancer|
Cathryn Lee Damon (September 11, 1930 – May 4, 1987) was an American actress, best known for her roles on television sitcoms in the 1970s and 1980s.
Life and career
Born in Seattle, Damon was raised in Tacoma and graduated from Stadium High School, moved to New York City at age 16 to pursue ballet and ultimately appeared in several Broadway productions, including Shinbone Alley, Foxy, Flora, The Red Menace, The Boys from Syracuse, The Last of the Red Hot Lovers, Sweet Bird of Youth and The Cherry Orchard. During the 1967-68 season, she was the Mame and Vera understudy for the Angela Lansbury-led tour of Mame.
Damon became familiar to television viewers as middle-class Mary Campbell on the primetime spoof of daytime soap operas aptly entitled Soap from 1977 until 1981. However, many fans may not know that she was the third and final actress cast in the role. Producer Tony Thomas states, "Cathryn Damon was brilliant. A lot of people don't know this, but we recast that to put her in it." She later appeared with Soap costar Eugene Roche on Webster from 1984-86. The pair played Cassie and Bill Parker, Webster's landlords, on the hit series. Other television credits included guest roles on The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, Murder, She Wrote, Matlock, Mike Hammer.
Damon, along with costar and TV husband Richard Mulligan, won an Emmy Award for Soap in 1980 but could not appear in person to receive the Award owing to an actors' strike; Mulligan referred to his friend Damon (whom he affectionately called "Toots") and the strike-related absence when he received his second Best Actor Emmy more than a decade later for his role as Dr. Weston on the television series Empty Nest (Coincidently, Empty Nest debuted a year after Damon's death, with Mulligan playing the part of a widower whose wife died a year earlier).
Illness and death
In 1986, Damon was diagnosed with cancer, but continued acting in small roles up until shortly before her death a year later at age 56, on May 4, 1987. Her final role, as Elizabeth McGovern's mother in the movie She's Having a Baby with Kevin Bacon, was released posthumously. She was survived by her mother, Mary Cathryn Springer, and a sister. She is interred in Acacia Memorial Park near Seattle.
- Blansky's Beauties as Rose (1 episode, 1977)
- Rafferty as Grace Hampton (1 episode, 1977)
- Friendships, Secrets and Lies (1979) as Martha
- Getting There (1980) as Mary
- How to Beat the High Co$t of Living (1980) as Natalie
- Midnight Offerings (1981) as Diane Sotherland
- Soap as Mary Campbell (85 episodes, 1977-1981)
- Not in Front of the Children (1982) as Sheila
- The First Time (1983) as Gloria
- Fantasy Island as Baronne LaRue (1 episode, 1983)
- Who Will Love My Children? (1983) as Hazel Anderson
- The Love Boat as Charlotte (2 episodes, 1978-1983)
- Simon & Simon as Kate Franklin (1 episode, 1984)
- Murder, She Wrote as Morgana Cramer (1 episode, 1984)
- Matlock as Victoria Edwards (1 episode, 1987)
- Mike Hammer as Aunt Dorothy Putnam (1 episode, 1987)
- Webster as Cassie Parker (50 episodes, 1984-1986)
- She's Having a Baby (1988) as Gayle Bainbridge
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