Carmen Duncan, best known to soap fans as Iris Cory Wheeler on Another World, has passed away from cancer at the age of 76.
A well-known and respected Australian actress, Duncan was introduced to U.S. soap fans in 1988 when she became AW’s Iris.
Duncan quickly became a fan favorite as Iris reintegrated into Bay City society, professing her love for her beloved daddy, Mac (the late Douglas Watson), while trading barbs with his wife Rachel (Victoria Wyndham), whom Iris loathed because she felt Rachel had taken her father away from her.
Taking over a role that’s been played by another performer is never easy. Duncan had the Herculean task of assuming the part of Iris, which had been played by four-time Daytime Emmy-nominee Beverlee McKinsey. The late McKinsey was one of daytime’s finest. Duncan did the impossible by making Iris her own.
The actress showed just how vulnerable Iris could be after her son Dennis failed to show up at the Snowflake Ball she had put together. “Daddy, why doesn’t anybody ever love me the way I love them?” a vulnerable Iris lamented to Mac at the conclusion of the ball. Then, the father and daughter shared a dance.
Duncan’s Iris was two-faced; on one hand, she bent over backwards helping Mac and his company, Cory Publishing, fend off a hostile takeover from someone known as “the Chief.”
It later came to light, however, that Iris, herself, was “The Chief!” She had orchestrated the whole thing, hoping Mac would be grateful for his daughter’s help. She was that insecure and desperate for his love.
Shortly after Duncan and Watson shot those climactic scenes, Watson passed away in 1989. Duncan played out her own grief and Iris’ on-screen as Watson’s death was written into the show.
After Duncan left AW in 1994, she visited the CBS studios on the west coast where The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful tape for a general interview.
Alas, a role on either of those shows never materialized, but in 2004, Duncan returned to soaps briefly when she subbed for Eileen Fulton as Lisa on As the World Turns.
Duncan passed away on Sunday, February 3 surrounded by loved ones. She is survived by two children, Duncan and Amelia, and a sister, actress Paula Duncan.
Soap Hub sends its condolences to Duncan’s family and friends.