AS THE WORLD TURNS’ Martha Byrne re­calls her long run as Oak­dale’s sweet­heart

CBS Soaps In Depth - - Readers' Poll - — Kelli M. Lar­son


Mar tha Byrne was a f resh­faced teenager when she be­gan play­ing Lucinda’s daugh­ter, Lily, on AS THE WORLD TURNS in 1985. By the time she left in 2008, she had be­come as beloved by fans as if they’d raised her them­selves! “That’s what makes be­ing [on a long-run­ning show in] day­time so unique: You grow up in front of peo­ple’s eyes,” she sug­gests. “They’ve seen you through all your preg­nan­cies, your bad teeth, your acne and all that stuff!”

Through all her loves and losses, Lily was the hero­ine that peo­ple rooted for. “She al­ways was a ro­man­tic, loved an ad­ven­ture and was pas­sion­ate about ev­ery­thing,” Byrne sighs. “She gave 100 per­cent to what­ever sit­u­a­tion she was in, whether it was a re­la­tion­ship, help­ing her kids or [deal­ing with] her mother.”

A Rose In Bloom

Byrne says she first knew that her sto­ry­lines were con­nect­ing with view­ers when the fan mail poured in. “Jon Hens­ley (Holden), Brian Bloom (Dusty) and I would each get those gi­gan­tic mail bags every day,” the ac­tress re­flects. “It was thou­sands and thou­sands of let­ters!”

Over time, the writ­ers trusted Byrne with more com­plex tales. Among her fa­vorites? “I loved the Lily and [her twin] Rose story,” she says. “It was a time when the show was re­ally on a roll, the whole team clicked, and we won a lot of Em­mys.

“Back in the ’80s, it was the same kind of thing with Lucinda and Craig and Holden

and Lily,” she adds. “It was magic!”

Op­por­tu­ni­ties Missed

While not every plot made sense, Byrne says that she made them work by en­joy­ing her scene mates. “I re­mem­ber Lily try­ing to fly to Mex­ico with a cooler to get a kid­ney for her

As The World Turns

son, Luke,” she chuck­les. “To me, that was like. ‘Re­ally?’ But Kin Shriner [Keith; now GEN­ERAL HOS­PI­TAL’S Scotty] was fly­ing the plane, and I loved him, so we just laughed and had a good time with it.”

Byrne also strug­gled with Lily not ac­cept­ing Luke be­ing gay. “That was hard for me to play be­cause I thought, ‘Why would she ever not ac­cept him in gen­eral?’ As a char­ac­ter, that’s who Lily was. But I think I man­aged to play it in a way that was, ‘How could I not see that?’”

Noelle Beck took over the role in 2008, but Byrne is still the Lily that holds a spe­cial place in fans’ hearts. “I do wish they’d had me come back at the end, for the fans,” she laments, “but that wasn’t a pos­si­bil­ity.”

“Lily didn’t like the sim­ple life,” re­flects her por­trayer, with lead­ing men Paolo Se­ganti (Damian) and Hens­ley. “She wanted ac­tion, and that got her into trou­ble many times.”

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