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Soap Actress Joan Copeland Dead at 99

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Veteran actress of stage and screen Joan Copeland died Jan. 4 at the age of 99. Her son, Eric, told The Hollywood Reporter that she passed away peacefully in her sleep in her Manhattan home on Central Park West.

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During her extensive career, Copeland appeared on numerous daytime dramas. From 1960-63, she played twins Maggie and Kay on CBS soap LOVE OF LIFE, and from 1967-72, she portrayed the villainous Andrea Whiting on SEARCH FOR TOMORROW. In addition, the actress could also be seen as Mary Appleman on THE EDGE OF NIGHT, Monica Courtland on HOW TO SURVIVE A MARRIAGE, Joan Rogers and Greta Aldrin on AS THE WORLD TURNS, Claudia on LOVING, and Nora’s mother, Selma Hanen, on ONE LIFE TO LIVE

Copeland was also the sister of legendary playwright Arthur Miller, and appeared in numerous Broadway productions including Detective Story, Coco (where she was Katherine Hepburn’s standby as Coco Chanel), Pal Joey, and Tovarich. She also appeared in two of her brother’s plays, The Price and The American Clock (for which she won a Drama Desk Award).

Marilyn Monroe Embracing Joan Copeland
During Marilyn Monroe’s marriage to Arthur Miller, she became Copeland’s sister-in-law.Bettmann

When she began acting, Copeland changed her last name to Copeland. “I didn’t want Miller, for obvious reasons,” she told The New York Times in 1981. “I did not want to trade on my brother’s name.”

Her first film was 1958’s The Goddess, said to be based on the life of her former sister-in-law, Marilyn Monroe, and she could also be seen in movies like Roseland, A Little Sex, Happy New Year, Her Alibi, Jungle 2 Jungle, and The Object of My Affection. On television, Copeland enjoyed roles on series like THE PATTY DUKE SHOW, THE DEFENDERS, ALL IN THE FAMILY, CAGNEY & LACEY, and NYPD BLUE. She also recurred as Judge Rebecca Stein in multiple episodes of LAW & ORDER.

Our thoughts are with Copeland’s family and loved ones during this difficult time.

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