July 26, 2008

Actor Had 35-Year Role in Long-Running Soap

The Associated Press


Larry Haines, a two-time Daytime Emmy winner for his 35-year role on the soap opera "Search for Tomorrow," has died. He was 89.

Haines, who also had a successful career on Broadway, died July 17 at a Delray Beach hospital where he had been admitted a week earlier, his attorney and friend, Tom Dachelet, said Wednesday.

The actor played Stu Bergman on "Search for Tomorrow" for almost the show's entire run from 1951 to 1986, missing only the first two months.

Stu was the neighbor and best friend of Joanne Gardner Barron, later Joanne Tourneur, the character at the center of most of the show's plot lines over the years. She was played by Mary Stuart for the entire 35 years.

The soap opera, which was first on CBS, later on NBC, was the longest-running daytime drama in television when its last episode aired in December 1986.

Haines credited the longtime appeal of the show to "basically believable characters that people kind of took to."

In an Associated Press interview at the time, he said he felt that quality was lost in its final years as more outlandish plot developments were written.

"Soap opera is a story," he said. "It should be a continuing story, rather than disoriented, meaningless adventures."

Haines won Daytime Emmys for his role in 1976 and 1981, and in 1985 was presented with a special recognition award for his longevity on the series.

He also appeared for shorter periods on "Another World" and "Loving."

"Doing a daytime show requires a great deal more concentration than people give us credit for," he told the Los Angeles Times in 1967. "Every episode is like opening night because it's a new script every day."

He was generally billed as A. Larry Haines in his Broadway appearances. He was twice nominated for Tonys, for "Promises, Promises," the 1968 musical version of the film "The Apartment," and "Generation," a 1965 play starring Henry Fonda.

He also was in the 1962 Broadway comedy "A Thousand Clowns" as the brother of free-spirited Jason Robards; "Twigs," a 1971 program of four one-act plays starring Sada Thompson; and the 1978 "Tribute," which starred Jack Lemmon.

He appeared as a card player in the 1968 film version of "The Odd Couple," and made guest appearances on the TV series "Maude" and "Kojak," among others.

He was born in Mount Vernon, N.Y. Early in his career, he was an actor on radio series, including the popular horror series "Inner Sanctum," which famously opened with the sound of a creaking door.

Haines is survived by a niece. His first wife, Gertrude Haines, second wife, Jean Pearlman Haines, and daughter Debora all preceded him in death.

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