A Sad Day For Soap Fans

The cast of the CBS soap opera “As the World Turns” is in mourning today following the tragic news that fellow Emmy-winning cast member Benjamin Hendrickson died over the weekend at his New York home.

According the “New York Post,” police say that the 55-year-old soap veteran shot himself in the head in what’s being called “an apparent suicide.”

Friends said the actor had been depressed since his mother lost her battle with cancer in 2003. Ironically, that was the same year Hendrickson won a Daytime Emmy as best supporting actor in a soap opera. During his acceptance speech Hendrickson dedicated his award to his mother and joked, “To my mom, who scrimped and saved to send me to Julliard to study the classics–I’m sorry.”

Sorrow, anguish and tears engulfed the set of the award-winning soap opera when news broke of Hendrickson tragic death. “He was a marvelous and gifted man,” said longtime costar Ellen Dolan, who played Hendrickson’s detective sidekick Margo Hughes. “I just know him to be a wonderful man with a big heart – we are all part of a tight family here. I am just heartbroken.”

Soap fans are just as devastated; many of them have grown up watching Hendrickson on the show. For 21 years, Hendrickson played the “tough-but-gentle” police chief, Hal Munson. It’s a role I spent my high school years watching him perfect. In fact, when I heard the news of his death I immediately emailed my friend and former neighbor. I can’t count how many summer days we spent watching “As the World Turns” rooting for a Hal and Margo hook up. It seems like a lifetime ago, yet it certainly doesn’t make his death any less disheartening.

An ironic footnote to this tragedy is that Hendrickson had recently been filming scenes on the soap in which his TV daughter was dying. Hendrickson’s final appearance on “As the World Turns” will air July 12th.

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.