Soap Opera Actress, Writer Was 75

By Chanak Maduranga

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Soap Opera Actress, Writer Was 75

Meg Bennett, the Daytime Emmy winner who did double duty as an actress and writer on the daytime soap operas The Young and the Restless, General Hospital and Santa Barbara, has died. She was 75.

Bennett died April 11 after a battle with cancer, her family announced.

Bennett portrayed Marty Maraschino for more than two years during the original Broadway run of Grease that kicked off in 1972, then began her long run in daytime two years later with a turn as Liza Walton on CBS’ Search for Tomorrow, where Kevin Kline and Morgan Fairchild were castmates.

She joined CBS’ The Young and the Restless in 1980 as Julia Newman — wife of Eric Braeden’s Victor Newman — but as her character was being written off, she was asked by Y&R creator Bill Bell to stick around as a writer.

“I’d been acting on the show for almost two years when this happened, so I knew the characters,” Bennett said in a 1985 interview. Still, she continued to show up as Julia on and off throughout the years, the last time in 2020.

Bennett wrote for NBC’s Santa Barbara from 1991-93 (and played author Megan Richardson) and wrote for ABC’s General Hospital from 1993-2011 (and portrayed the villainess Allegra Montenegro).

She shared her Daytime Emmy for her work on G.H. in 1995 and was nominated for writing Y&R in 1986, G.H. again in 2000 and 2012 and The Bold and the Beautiful in 2003. She also wrote for NBC’s Generations from 1989-91 and NBC’s Sunset Beach from 1997-98 and won a pair of WGA awards during her career.

Helen Margaret Bennett was born on Oct. 4, 1948, and raised in Pasadena. Her mother, Margaret, was a psychologist at Pasadena City College.

Bennett attended John Muir High School in Pasadena, and while majoring in drama at Northwestern University — where Shelley Long was a classmate — she was a homecoming queen, a Miss America contestant, a model in Life magazine and a performer in summer stock.

She moved to New York after graduation in 1970 to pursue acting, landed a modeling job for Cadillac and appeared off-Broadway in Godspell before joining Grease. She also won cash, a car, three rooms of furniture, a sailboat and a trip to Jamaica on the NBC game show Three on a Match, hosted by Bill Cullen.

In her 1985 interview, she wondered if concentrating on either acting or writing would have been enough for her. “I’ll admit, acting makes me a little crazy sometimes: You wait to audition. You wait for the part,” she said. “When you’re writing, you’re in control. I can initiate things on my own when I’m writing.”

Survivors include her husband of 19 years, Sunset Beach co-creator and nine-time Daytime Emmy winner Robert Guza Jr. — they met on G.H. and were frequent writing partners on soaps — two stepdaughters, four grandchildren, a brother and a sister.

She and Guza purchased a home in Beverly Hills in 2003 that had been owned by Boris Karloff and then Gregory Peck.

Chanak Maduranga

passionate journalist behind 'USA News Now 24', dedicated to delivering timely and accurate updates on US affairs. Committed to journalistic integrity and informing audiences with credible news coverage.

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