Irene Dailey, star of daytime soaps and the stage, passed on September 24 at the age of 88. The cause was colon cancer.
Dailey was born on Sept. 12, 1920 in New York City. Her father managed the Roosevelt Hotel in Manhattan. Her brother was actor singer and dancer Dan Dailey, who had a long career in Hollywood movies. Dailey made her debut on vaudeville, dancing when she was only eight years old. By the time she was eighteen she was performing in summer stock. She would eventually find herself on Broadway, making her debut there in Nine Girls in 1943. Unfortunately, in her early years she would have little success on Broadway. Nine Girls only ran three days. Truckline Cafe, from 1946, lasted less than a month. Springtime Folly from 1951 closed after two nights. Miss Lonleyhearts from 1957 actually managed to last nine days.
Irene Dailey would not see any real success until she appeared on television. She made her debut on the small screen on the 1957 series Decoy. She went onto guest star on such shows as Naked City, The Defenders, The Twilight Zone, Ben Casey, and Hawk. She would make her movie debut in No Way to Treat a Lady in 1968 and would appear in the classic Five Easy Pieces. In 1969 she would become a regular on The Edge of Night for a year. She appeared in the movie The Grissom Gang before becoming a regular on Another World. She played Aunt Liz Matthews for a total of twenty years.
Despite her lack of success on Broadway, Dailey continued to appear there. Andorra from 1963 lasted a week. She finally found some success with The Subject Was Roses, which ran nearly two years. She would go onto appear on two more successful plays on Broadway, including You Know I Can't Hear You When the Water's Running (which debuted in 1967) and Lost in Yonkers, which debuted in 1991.
As a stage actress, Irene Dailey saw little success on Broadway. And she never repeated the movie success of her brother Dan Dailey. But on television she was a star, although of daytime rather than prime time. For the regular viewers of Another World she was a familiar face upon whom they could depend on seeing for many, many years. She even won a Daytime Emmy Award for outstanding actress in 1979. While I am not a fan of the soaps myself (I've never even seen Another World), for those who are Irene Dailey was indubitably a star.