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Bassey in 1967
July 22, 1942 |
Life and career
Bassey was born in Chicago, Illinois. After graduating from Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, Bassey moved back to the United States and took roles in many Off-Broadway plays. This led to further work in the daytime soap opera field.
After appearing in Love of Life, The Edge of Night, and Somerset, Bassey changed her professional name from "Joan Bassie" to "Jennifer Bassey." She chose the name Jennifer from Dr. Jennifer Stark, the role she had played on Love of Life.
She landed the plum role of Marian Colby on ABC's top rated soap opera All My Children (1983-1987, 1989, 1995-2009, 2011). She has appeared on All My Children for over 20 years and is a favorite among fans. She played a wealthy widow who became a real estate agent. Later, she was revealed to be the murderer of Zack Grayson. In 1999 she won, with cast member David Canary, the Soap Opera Digest Award as "Favorite Couple" then in 1998 she won the award as "Favorite Scene Stealer." In 1999 she was nominated for a Daytime Emmy as "Best Supporting Actress". Since 2003 Bassey has appeared on All My Children in a recurring capacity. On May 22, 2009, Bassey returned to All My Children as Marian Chandler, but this time without David Canary's Stuart who was killed off at the beginning of the week. This marked Bassey's first appearance since her own husband died. Bassey's storyline, focused on her grieving the loss of Stuart, culminated in Marian attempting to shoot her husband's killer in court before suffering a mental breakdown. She exited the serial on August 7, 2009. Bassey made her final return for All My Children in 2011 for four episodes, her character having been released from a mental institution only to reunite with her presumed deceased husband, including the series finale. In the early 1990s, Bassey was one of several actresses brought in briefly to replace Eileen Fulton as Lisa on As the World Turns while Fulton was ill.
Bassey has been married twice, she married attorney Roy F. Emery in 1971 until his death in 1991. In 2004 she married her longtime companion, playwright Luther Davis until his death in 2008 at the age of 91.
Bassey resides in Manhattan and West Palm Beach, Florida.