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A NEW ROLE A quiet life in Colonial Beach replaces dramaof 'All My Children' career for Mary Fickett MARY FICKETT ROLES
From Pine Valley to Colonial Beach: Longtime "All My Children" star Mary Fickett recalls her exciting television career

 Fickett, 80, recalls her acting days with smiles and laughter.
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Date published: 7/19/2008

The Free Lance-Star

MARY FICKETT seldom watch- es "All My Children" these days.

For nearly 30 years, she was a star of the ABC-TV daytime drama. As the good and compassionate nurse Ruth Parker Brent Martin, she was loved and admired by millions of people. In 1973, Fickett won the first Emmy ever given to a soap-opera actress. Off-camera, she and her family lived an opulent life in New York City.

Fickett is now 80 and bedridden. Her memory is fading. She has trouble completing some sentences. But her blue eyes still sparkle and she is full of smiles and laughter.

She now lives with her daughter in Colonial Beach. Her Emmy statuette sits tarnished beside the television in her bedroom. On the wall are old photographs of her with Eleanor Roosevelt, Ralph Bellamy, Charlton Heston, President Lyndon Johnson and his wife, Lady Bird.

"I cut many a swath," she said of her career that spanned a half century of radio, stage, movies and television.

Fickett's daughter, Bronwyn "Anne" Congdon, moved her mother to Colonial Beach from a Cape Cod nursing home last summer. In November, a fire at Congdon's house destroyed boxes full of Fickett's scrapbooks, letters and family papers.

"I'm a little bit on hold. I'm not quite with it," she said. "It's amazing how much of your persona gets eaten up by time."

Fickett's last appearance on "All My Children" was in 2000. The show's Web site does not mention her. Fickett's character, Ruth Martin, played by Lee Meriwether after Fickett's retirement, has vanished from recent story lines.

"Ruth's at home or off starting a health clinic in Mexico," said Ray MacDonnell, 80, who still appears occasionally on the show as Dr. Joe Martin, Ruth's husband.

MacDonnell, Susan Lucci as Erica Kane and Fickett were all in the first episode of "All My Children" in 1970. It's been years since Fickett saw them.

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1949: "I Know My Love," Broadway comedy with Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne 1952: "The Hungry Heart" with John Forsythe 1953: "Armstrong Circle Theatre: Sunday Storm"; "Kraft Television Theatre: Zone Four" with Beatrice Arthur; "The United States Steel Hour: P.O.W." with Michael Dreyfuss and Brian Keith, the premiere episode of the 10-year-long series. 1954: "Kraft Television Theatre: A Hat for Winter" 1955: Theatre World Award for "Tea and Sympathy" with Anthony Perkins and Joan Fontaine; "Hallmark Hall of Fame: Dream Girl"; "Kraft Television Theatre: Woman of Principle" 1956: "The Edge of Night" (occasional roles until 1968); "General Electric Theater: The Easter Gift"; "Pontiac Playwrights '56: Nick and Letty," with Robert Culp; "Robert Montgomery Presents: Maybe Tomorrow"; "Armstrong Circle Theatre: Ward Three: Four P.M. to Midnight"; "Kraft Television Theatre: The Lost Weekend" 1957: "Studio One: A Child is Waiting"; "Kraft Television Theatre: The Glass Wall," with Jack Klugman; "Man on Fire," film with Bing Crosby 1958: Nominated for Tony Award as Best Supporting Dramatic Actress for "Sunrise at Campobello," with Ralph Bellamy; "Kathy O," film with Dan Duryea; "Young Dr. Malone" 1961: "The Untouchables: Power Play," with Albert Salmi; "Naked City: The Fault in Our Stars"; "The United States Steel Hour: Trial Without Jury"; "Have Gun, Will Travel: The Vigil" 1961-63: "Calendar," with co-host Harry Reasoner 1964: "The Nurses"; "The DuPont Show of the Week: Don't Go Upstairs" 1968: "N.Y.P.D.: Nothing Is Real but the Dead," with Ossie Davis; "Lancer: The Last Train for Charlie Poe" 1969: "Bonanza: Erin"; "Daniel Boone: Hannah Comes Home" 1970 "The F.B.I.: The Impostor" 1970-96: "All My Children" 1973: Wins Primetime Emmy Award; "Pueblo," TV movie with Hal Holbrook.