Mary Stuart (Mary Stuart Houchins)
Photos with Mary Stuart
BiographyMiami, Florida, USA
She reigned on Search for Tomorrow (1951) for nearly four decades and became one of TV's most popular daytime ladies. As the ever-noble Joanne Gardner Barron Tate Vincente Tourneur, she remained on board for its entire run, and when that four-times-married role was in the can, she was ready for more. Born Mary Houchins on Independence Day, 1926 in Miami, Florida, actress Mary Stuart grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Demonstrating musical talent at an early age, she sang with local bands at age 12 and performed with the USO at various military bases during her high school years. Read more... worked as a photojournalist before gearing up for an acting career in New York. A hat check girl and table photographer at New York's Hotel Roosevelt Grill, she had started to sing on the club stage when she was discovered by producer Joe Pasternak who put her under contract with MGM. Moving West, she spent years in obscure starlet parts while doubling for the stars in screen tests. Going nowhere and playing everything from a Mexican half-breed in Thunderhoof (1948) to a cigarette girl in The Girl from Jones Beach (1949), a very disappointed Mary called it quits with Hollywood within a few years and returned to Gotham to study. She happened upon the role of a lifetime after the director of "SOT" caught her in an acting class performance. She married Time-Life executive Richard Krolik a month before the soap's premiere and the couple went on to have two children, Jeffrey and Cynthia. Both Mary and her Joanne character remained survivors despite a long series of hassles which included a battle with writers who tried to kill off her character, and numerous potential cancellations of the show, which finally happened in 1989. She earned the distinction of being the first daytime performer to be nominated for an Emmy Award, competing against prime-time actresses Shirley Booth, Cara Williams, Gertrude Berg and Mary Tyler Moore in 1962. She lost to Booth's "Hazel" character. At age 63, she ventured on with the role of a judge in One Life to Live (1968) in 1988 for a year, and then a longer-running part on Guiding Light (1952) in 1996. This role lasted until her death from cancer in 2002 at age 75. Mary's autobiography entitled "Both of Me" was written in 1980 and also serves as a comprehensive history of "SOT."