Near-death experiences are pretty par for the course for your favorite daytime heroines. But they can happen to anybody – your favorite soap stars included!
All of these actresses are either an alum of a long-ago classic – like All My Children – currently starring in, or are alums of, one of the four currently airing daytime dramas – The Bold and the Beautiful, Days of our Lives, General Hospital, and The Young and the Restless. But only one of them narrowly avoided a meeting with the Grim Reaper after chowing down on an errant French fry.
But who can that actress be? Was it Cady McClain (ex-Dixie Cooney Martin, AMC), Frances Reid (ex-Alice Horton, DAYS), Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis Davis, GH), or Jess Walton (Jill Foster Abbott, YR)?
Though her Pine Valley alter-ego seemingly met her maker courtesy of tainted peanut butter pancakes, McClain never had an unfortunate real-life incident involving a French fry.
Alice Horton’s signature dish – donuts coated in powdered sugar – served as her killer’s weapon of choice. But her death via suffocation on confectionery treats proved to be greatly exaggerated, as did Marlena’s (Deidre Hall) hand in said killing. And luckily for Reid, her on-screen battle with food didn’t repeat itself in the real world.
Walton never had to stare death in the face as a result of a contrary fry, but the fictitious Jill did have to save her future husband, Stuart Brooks, from a choking incident…and she did so by performing a makeshift tracheotomy with a razor and coaching from her brother, Snapper!
Back in 1989, while fans of Santa Barbara were waiting on tenterhooks to learn whether or not Julia and Mason would reunite for the umpteenth time, Grahn was wondering if she would live to see her next script!
“I was with my friend, Pam Fryman, who is an assistant director on the show and is my best friend, and we were across the street at a hamburger place having lunch, ” remembered the actress soon after the harrowing event.
“[W]e’re talking and I was eating my French fries and she said something to me that made me laugh, the French fry got stuck in my windpipe…and everything was cut off, all my air, everything…I just thought, ‘I’m going to die.’
“There were three businessmen across the way and I just looked at them and with my eyes like saying, ‘Save me.’ They jumped up but Pam had gone around me and did the Heimlich Maneuver, she knew exactly how to do it and she saved my life. She saved my life.
“We can laugh about it … now and afterwards, but I was so relieved to get that breath. Once we got back to the studio, we were laughing and saying how awful it would have been to have headlines read, ‘Soap Opera Star dies choking on French Fries!’ What a way to go!”
So, if you guessed that the soap star in question was Nancy Lee Grahn, then you were absolutely correct!
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