The Heartbreaking Death Of Ray MacDonnell

Ray MacDonnell, who is best-known for playing Dr. Joe Martin on the soap opera "All My Children" for more than 40 years, has died at the age of 93. Born in 1928, MacDonnell studied acting in London on a Fullbright Scholarship at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. He launched his professional acting career with guest spots on "Robert Montgomery Presents," "The Jack Benny Program," "Producers' Showcase," and "Armstrong Circle Theatre." (per IMDb)

MacDonnell appeared on the CBS soap "The Edge of Night" between 1961 and 1969, and was cast in the title role in a Dick Tracy pilot that was ultimately not picked up. He also starred on Broadway in "Mame" opposite Angela Lansbury before becoming an original cast member on "All My Children" in 1970, where through the years he acted alongside the likes of Susan Lucci and Kelly Ripa. He received a Daytime Emmy for Lifetime Achievement in 2004 before retiring from the show in 2009. But MacDonnell returned for the soap's final season on ABC in 2011, and also appeared on its short-lived online reboot in 2013, per the New York Post)

Ray MacDonnell was a soap opera legend

After spending more than 40 years playing Dr. Joe Martin on "All My Children," Ray MacDonnell retired from the show in 2009 when ABC decided to move the soap's production from New York to Los Angeles (per Legacy). While he did show up sporadically during the show's final season — and its online reboot — MacDonnell mostly spent time with his family: wife, Patricia, and their three children, Kyle, Daniel, and Sarah. He died on June 10, 2021, of natural causes at his home in Chappaqua, New York.

His daughter, Sarah, told Michael Fairman TV that they are planning "a private memorial with close relatives and family." In the meantime, those who worked with MacDonnell have been sharing their memories of him on social media. Gregg Simmons, who worked in the show's costume department (per IMDb), posted in the comments of MacDonnell's tribute on Michael Fairman TV, writing, "Ray was a total professional and a kind gentleman. The time that I spent on 'All My Children' was special."

Susan Lucci penned a touching tribute on Instagram, writing, "He was truly our AMC patriarch — and filled our studio with warmth and professionalism — and his delicious sense of humor — there were times during scenes that I couldn't dare make eye contact with him — just a look from his eyes with that ever-present gleam — would dissolve us into peals of laughter."