Nancy Pollock Karr – The Edge of Night’s de facto leading lady – is a rare breed when compared to other daytime heroines throughout soap opera history. She was a woman who excelled in a male-dominated career. She never had any biological children and yet she was a nurturing mother to many of them. And she married one man to whom she stayed faithful for the entire duration of their marriage.
Who Is Nancy Karr?
Although some would argue that nepotism alone secured Nancy a position on the staff of her father’s newspaper, it never took the flame-haired, sharped tongued crime beat roundsman long to dissuade the detractor of their notion.
Joe and Rose Pollock had raised Nancy – and her younger sister Cookie – to be true, steadfast and honorable and to never acquiesce to injustice. Nancy recognized those same qualities in widower Mike Karr who owned and operated a private legal firm in the city of Monticello.
One and Only
Despite her engagement to Ted Grant, Nancy began to pine after the city’s crusading defender and soon she extricated herself from her relationship in order to pursue one with Mike. At first, the two approached the situation with ease.
Mike was still nursing the pain of losing his first wife Sara Lane and he worried about introducing a new woman into the life of his toddler daughter, Laurie Ann. But, in time, the three formed an inseparable bond and Nancy accepted Mike’s proposal of marriage. The new coupling even won the seal of approval from Mike’s former mother-in-law Mattie, to whom Nancy would become very close.
As husband and wife, the Karrs would become embroiled in a number of fascinating – and dangerous – capers, but the intrepid duo would always win out in the end. Not even the threat of the green-eyed monster could dissuade the two of the notion that theirs was a stable and loving union.
In fact, the only blight during the pair’s decades-long marriage came about courtesy of sleazy nightclub owner Beau Richardson. While Nancy refused to cower from Beau’s threats to her own personal safety, she certainly gave credence to the ones he made against Mike and the young boy they were planning to adopt.
To ensure her family’s safety, Nancy begged Mike to end his association with the D.C.-based crime commission that was looking to eradicate Monticello’s recent infestation of felonious backhanders. When her spouse refused, Nancy issued an ultimatum: his job or her.
Standout Episode From The Edge of Night
In a special episode of The Edge of Night – in which only Nancy and Mike appeared and only one set (the Karr abode) was used – the couple argued over what Mike saw as emotional blackmail and Nancy reiterated what options he had to choose from. When Mike refused to resign his post, Nancy packed her bags and walked out the front door!
In the ensuing months, Beau would be gunned down and, fearing that Laurie Ann had committed the deed, Mike confessed to the killing. During the trial that followed, Nancy’s plight was revealed but it seemed to give the prosecutor more ammunition to use against Mike. In the end, Mike would be freed, the true guilty party arrested, and the Karr family reunited.
Though Mike and Nancy were never blessed with natural children of their own, Nancy was content with raising little Laurie Ann. Although Nancy worked hard to keep Sara’s memory alive, Laurie Ann remembered very little of her and instead called Nancy “Mom.”
In the mid-1970s, Nancy and Mike fostered young Timmy Faraday, whose mother, Serena, suffered from multiple personality disorder – a condition that led her to shoot and kill Timmy’s father Mark.
The Karrs legally adopted the boy and reared him for a few years but in a major continuity gaffe – a true rarity for The Edge of Night – Timmy was sent off to summer camp in 1978 never to return!
The Perils of Nancy Karr
Despite her continued association with crime busters like her husband and family friend Adam Drake, Nancy spent most of her adventuring injury-free, though there would be occasional incidents of wounding and suffering.
She was shot in the shoulder with a bullet meant for enemy-turned-friend Nicole Travis in 1967 and years later psychotic Keith Whitney drugged and almost asphyxiated her with an assist from the noxious fumes produced by the idling car he bound and gagged her inside.
Nancy’s final plight concerned her kidnapping by a nefarious gang of criminals who were operating a plastic surgery clinic that catered to the underworld elite who required new faces. She was assisted in her escape by Draper Scott and safely returned to a relieved Mike. As the show came to an end, she and Mike remained as solid as ever.