Geraldine Whitney, The Edge of Night’s answer to Rose Kennedy, was one of the most imperious matriarchal figures in soap opera history. Though multiple familial deaths softened her tough interior, Geraldine still remained an immovable force that few were foolish enough to tangle with.
The Whitney Curse
Like the dynastical Kennedy clan, for whom the Whitneys were an analogous stand-in, there seemed to be an insidious curse permanently plaguing Monticello’s politically-minded family.
Between their 1970 debut and the show’s concluding episode, the Whitney patriarch and heir apparent were torn asunder in a mob-orchestrated hit, second-born Keith met a violent end inside a lighthouse, and in-law Tiffany was murdered in a case of mistaken identity.
Geraldine’s first husband – and really the love of her life – was Gordan Whitney, a man whom she had met at a party hosted by Mr. and Mrs. Roosevelt in the early 1930s. Gordan was a Senator and the Democratic Party’s 1956 nomination for President of the United States.
Following Gordan’s passing, Geraldine accepted the company of Anthony “Tony” Saxon, whom she likened to a “gentle tiger.” They wed and lived a happy and contented existence but Tony’s continued association with his former mafia members was troublesome to the new bride.
Tragically, Tony would be fatally wounded by a bullet but he managed to hold on long enough to profess his enduring love to his wife.
Although she had a rather cool and aloof relationship with Colin, her eldest son, Geraldine had a warm and affectionate bond with her youngest son Keith – well, as warm and affectionate a bond as one can have with a psychotic serial killer!
Despite believing in her heart of hearts that Keith had murdered his secret wife Suella, Geraldine hushed up the young woman’s “accident” and arranged a fake death certificate so that Keith could go into hiding.
He adopted the guise of Jonah Lockwood and committed more atrocities – he permanently silenced Rosella Gray, Neil Davenport, and Tango Humphries and even attempted to off intrepid journalist Nancy Karr.
Keith also became homicidally obsessed with Laurie Ann Karr and eventually kidnapped the young woman and dragged her to a lighthouse. There, he attempted to murder her but he was halted by Geraldine.
The desperate mother begged her son to stop but Keith, now completely unhinged, began to recite the presidential oath and moved in for the kill. However, poor footing caused him to take a fatal tumble down the lighthouse’s staircase.
After losing both of her children, Geraldine sought out career-minded men whom she could mold into the perfect political pundit and a son worthy of the Whitney family fortune.
She found three worthy candidates – Adam Drake, Kevin Jamison, and Logan Swift – but despite being the men’s senior by at least two decades, Geraldine outlived them all. Adam was assassinated by an underworld crony while Kevin died in a car accident. And due to a case of mistaken identity, Geraldine shot and killed Logan, fearing him a crazed prowler.
With her loud booming voice and authoritative, no-nonsense attitude, it’s hard to imagine a tough broad like Geraldine being a victim. But that was the exact position she found herself in when she was brutally attacked by Noel Douglas, a ne’er-do-well who had wormed his way into the affections of Geraldine’s former daughter-in-law Tiffany.
Rendered comatose, Geraldine lay prone and vulnerable to reprisal from her attacker. When it appeared that she would finally come around, Noel tried to sabotage her breathing apparatus. Luckily, Geraldine awoke unscathed and was able to reveal the secret Noel had tried to kill over: he had been dallying with another woman.
From Enemy to In-law
Geraldine and Raven Alexander had a very complicated relationship. As the daughter of her closest girlfriend, Geraldine felt a responsibility towards Raven but the young woman’s moralless existence led the elder Whitney to compare her to an alley cat and term her an “uncouth slut.”
But by the time that 1984 stood poised to give way to a promising new year and Edge of Night took its final bow, the two women had grown close. Raven was now a part of the Whitney family, thanks to her marriage to Schuyler, and Geraldine admired how much the artist formerly known as Charlotte had matured since their earlier dealings.