Seems like we have lost several creative geniuses over the last several months in the daytime soap community, and Friday night the soap world is once again in mourning learning of the passing of another giant of the genre, Claire Labine. Her cause of death is unknown as this time, but she was 82-years-old.
The news broke from current The Bold and the Beautiful and The Bay writer, Michele Val Jean who worked with Labine at GH when she took to her facebook page with the news. Michele wrote: “As if this week couldn’t get any worse, just found out Claire Labine died. I’m heartbroken. She was a genius and a warm, loving person. It was my honor to write with her and learn from her. Rest in power, dear Claire. I will always carry what you gave me.”
Labine created magic with the Daytime Emmy winning Ryan’s Hope, a half-hour soap opera on ABC that told the story of a large Irish family which featured the likes of Kate Mulgrew, Michael Levin, Ilene Kristen, and the incomparable Helen Gallagher. Claire served as the co-creator of the series with Paul Avila Mayer. She won multiple WGA Awards for Ryan’s Hope, as well. But pre-Ryan’s Hope, Labine got her start as a script writer on CBS soaps, Where the Heart Is, and Love of Life.
But it was in 1993, when Labine was brought on to General Hospital where she teamed with former EP Wendy Riche for some of the greatest hankie-inducing, beautiful and most heartbreaking storylines in the annals of soaps. The Robin and Stone love story and the HIV/AIDS storyline, the B. J, heart transplant storyline, and Monica’s breast cancer were some of her finest storyline moments. Claire also created the character of Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard) and the iconic Brenda and Sonny romance. While at GH, Labine wrote a spinoff soap featuring the characters of Ned and Lois to be set in Brooklyn called Heart and Soul, only the network decided to go with Port Charles instead. Eventually in the late 90′s and early 200o’s, Labine spent time at both One Life to Live and Guiding Light as the series head writer.
Colleagues of Labine’s and actors have taken to social media tonight to pay tribute to this talented woman:
Wendy Riche expressed: “I am one of the very fortunate people who had the privilege of working with the great Claire Labine. Her extraordinary talent and joy of writing was exhilarating and illuminating. I learned something in every conversation we had, every day. She is loved and respected not only by me, but by an entire community of writers, actors producers and crew . Rest in Peace, Claire.”
Maurice Benard posted: “Claire LaBine you will be missed you gave me a chance to play a character that had so many levels when no one else would so grateful to you.”
Kassie DePaiva tweeted: “Soap Headwriter Claire Labine was one of the best! Rest In Peace dear gifted lady.“
Wally Kurth posted via facebook: “What a gift it was to tell her stories. The best of my career.”
On-Air On-Soaps will have more on this developing story and more condolences and remembrances as they are shared on social media in the hours and over the weekend. Now, take a look below at some of the most memorable scenes from Claire Labine’s GH stories, the first episode of Ryan’s Hope, and then share your thoughts on the passing of this brilliant writer in the comment section below.