Lynda Myles, a veteran writer of several soap operas including General Hospital, Santa Barbara, and Loving, has died after a brief illness. She passed away on April 15 at the age of 83.
Lynda Myles: In Memoriam
Born in New York City on July 22, 1939, Myles attended Michigan State University. Before embarking on a career in writing soaps, she worked as an actress, which would serve her well in writing dialogue. In 1968, Myles made her Broadway debut in Neil Simon’s Plaza Suite with Maureen Stapleton and George C. Scott. She appeared as Sally Fairfax, George Washington’s friend, in The World Turned Upside Down in 1973. She appeared in that TV movie opposite her first husband, Jan Leighton.
In 1979, Myles’s play Wives was chosen for the Eugene O’Neill National Playwright’s Conference at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. Myles’s first soap was As the World Turns, where she worked for future Santa Barbara creators Bridget and Jerome Dobson. Later, she joined the soap opera creators at the NBC soap opera. Myles was part of Santa Barbara’s Daytime Emmy-winning writing teams in 1988 and 1991.
“I loved the Mason [Lane Davies]/Mary [Harley Kozak] romance and was very sorry when she was killed by the big ‘C on the roof,” Myles shared in a 2011 interview that can be read here. “Fans wrote in and were heartbroken and angry that she was gone. I loved writing anything with Mason in it, because Lane Davies was such a good actor and so marvelous with language. He could handle anything you threw at him — a page-long speech, a quip, anger, sarcasm, hurt feelings — his character was always great fun.
“When Julia [Nancy Lee Grahn, Alexis, GH] came on the show, I enjoyed writing for the two of them very much (our version of Nick and Nora),” Myles continued. “I fell in love with Cruz [A Martinez] and Eden [Marcy Walker], of course. But also with Kelly [Robin Wright], C.C. (as played by Jed Allen), and Sophia [Judith McConnell]. She was always wonderful. Augusta [Louise Sorel] and Lionel [Nic Coster] were a hoot.”
Myles’s other soaps include Loving, Guiding Light, GH, and One Life to Live. Her last credit is a film titled Santa Barbara, which was inspired by the daytime serial that ran from 1984 to 1993. The movie tells the story of a mail-order bride from Post Soviet Russia who comes to America along with her two children.
After retiring, Lynda Myles, according to her obituary, delved further into a life of activism and social justice working as a public radio intern, writing tutor, and organizer of a women’s political group, and mentor for students in a justice program. She helped a homeless student at a library literacy program, supported her, and helped her reunite with her estranged family.
Myles was preceded in death by her ex-husband, actor Jan Leighton (Zapped!), who died in 2009, and their daughter, Hallie Leighton, who passed away in 2013. Myles’s second husband was James Dudley Pendleton, who died in 2009. Myles is survived by her sister, Wendie Myles, and two generations of cousins, stepchildren Ross Leighton and Jennifer Cobb. Donations in her memory can be made to the ReSisters/The State Project. Soap Hub sends sympathy to Lynda Myles’s loved ones at this difficult time.