Peggy McCay was a beloved daytime actress for decades, dating back to the 1950s. The Days of Our Lives star died in 2018, but today she’s being remembered on what would have been her 93rd birthday.
Remembering Peggy McCay
While she’s mostly known for her Daytime Emmy-nominated role of Caroline on DAYS, which she played from 1983 to 2016, McCay is also know for her role as Vanessa Dale, which she played from 1951-55 on the soap Love of Life (ask your grandmothers, kids).
The actress was born on November 3, 1927 in Manhattan, the only child of Catherine and Michael Joseph. She and her mother took over Michael’s construction company after his sudden death and ran it for a while. After college, McCay studied acting with Lee Strasberg in New York and later helped him securing his west coast studio. McCay won an off-Broadway Award (known as an OBIE) for Young Actress of the Year for her role as Sonya in the Anton Chekov play Uncle Vanya.
After leaving Love of Life, McCay started earning primetime credits including roles on Perry Mason, Maverick, and on the CBS anthology series Appointment with Adventure. In 1962, McCay started in the feature film Lad, A Dog. McCay played Andy Taylor’s (Andy Griffith) girlfriend from the past, Sharon DeSpain in an episode of The Andy Griffith Show titled Class Reunion.
McCay was lured back to soaps in 1964 as a star on The Young Marrieds. Next, she had a run on General Hospital as Iris Fairchild. That wasn’t her only visit to Port Charles. Years later, she played a judge who oversaw Laura Webber’s (Genie Francis) probation related to her role in the accidental death of David Hamilton (Jerry Ayres). McCay’s other credits included Barnaby Jones and she recurred as Marion Hume on the drama series Lou Grant.
McCay’s last appearance as Caroline was August 16, 2016. After her passing on October 7, 2018, the show wrote Caroline’s death into the series. McCay received five Daytime Emmy nominations for her role as Caroline; three were for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series in 1986, 2013, and 2015; two were for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series in 1987 and 2016.
In 1991, McCay won a Primetime Emmy in the category of Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for playing Irene Hayes on The Trials of Rosie O’Neill. She was a passionate advocate for animal rights. Soap Hub joins McCay’s fans, friends, and loved ones in remembering the beloved fan favorite on this, the anniversary of her birth, and always. Days of Our Lives airs weekdays on NBC. Check local listings for air times.