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'All My Children' ends today; Susan Lucci, 'The View' salute soap

September 23, 2011 |  8:10 am

Erica and Tom on their honeymoon -- All My Children ends today.
Susan Lucci joins "The View" on Friday for the morning gab show's hourlong salute to "All My Children," which airs its final episode Friday.

Cast members, former cast members, fans and former fans have expressed consternation as well as sadness since it was announced in April that the soap would be taken off the air. The daytime drama had been gradually losing viewers, and ABC feared losing money on the production. On Thursday, Lucci, Erica Kane on "AMC," took to Twitter to note her upcoming "View" appearance saluting "41 incredible years."

Show creator Agnes Nixon is to be on hand for the special, and ABC promises "surprise guests."

PHOTOS: 10 long-running soap operas rounded up cast comments on the show's demise:

"It's a sad day in Pine Valley" -- Stephanie Gatschet, who plays Madison on the show.

"Everywhere I look, there are sad fans, great people reeling, and great artists wondering what happened to supporting artists & storytelling ... sad -- Christina Bennett Lind, "AMC's" Bianca.

For fans who grew up with the show, its last day has brought a sense of nostalgia. In my family, five women followed the Pine Valley antics on and off for years. The words "Billy Ray Tuggle" conjure up memories not only of an often-hilarious soap-opera pimp but of the entire '80s era.

Recently, familiar faces have returned to the soap. Nixon made a recent appearance as a hospital patient, and longtime fans of the Martin clan were sure to appreciate the return of Ray MacDonnell, who played Joe Martin from the show's first airing on Jan. 5, 1970, until he retired in 2010. Wednesday's show was dedicated to Mary Fickett, who played Joe's wife, Ruth, for 26 years.

Sarah Michelle Gellar, the original Kendall turned TV's Buffy the Vampire Slayer, returned to her roots with an appearance in which she played a delusional hospital patient who complained of seeing vampires even "before they were trendy."


TV soap opera fans mourn

Susan Lucci looks at the fashion of Erica Kane

Lucci criticizes ABC bosses for axing "All My Children"

-- Amy Hubbard

Photo: Susan Lucci and Richard Shoberg as Erica Kane and Tom Cudahy on "All My Children" circa 1978. Credit: Steve Fenn / ABC