As The World Turns star Helen Wagner, who for 54 years played matriarch Nancy Hughes on the soap opera, died yesterday. She was 91. Wagner, who spoke the first words on As The World Turns when the soap premiered on April 2, 1956, holds the Guinness world record for playing the same role on television for the longest amount of time. In 2004, Wagner was awarded a lifetime achievement award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Wagner was married to Broadway producer Robert Willey for 55 years until Willey’s death last May.
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