Phil Carey, who was well-known to daytime television fans for playing One Life to Live's Asa Buchanan, died on February 6, following a battle with lung cancer. He was 83.
Carey took a medical leave from OLTL to undergo treatment after he was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2006. He returned to the role later that year. Though the character of Asa died in his sleep in August 2007, Carey made three subsequent appearances, most recently on December 29, 2008 (when a video addendum to Asa's will was revealed).
"In a week where we said goodbye to Clint Ritchie (ex-Clint, who passed away on Jan. 31), the overwhelming news of Phil Carey's death was truly a profound loss to the One Life to Live family," executive producer Frank Valentini said in a statement. "Like Asa, [Phil] possessed an undeniable quality that drew you to him, whether he was amusing you with a story or he was just plain ornery. We can only imagine that he and Clint Ritchie are sitting back and having a drink together."
Cast members fondly recalled Carey as a large presence backstage as well as on-camera.
"He has been like a father to me," says Robert S. Woods (Bo). "I don't know if I could love him more if he was my [own] dad."
Adds Erika Slezak (Viki): "I was incredibly fond of Phil .... I loved that man very much. He will be sorely missed. I was so honored to have the privilege to work with him one final time for our 40th anniversary show."
Carey was a retired U.S. Marine was served in World War II and the Korean War.
On the big screen, he starred opposite John Wayne (in Operation Pacific), Gary Cooper (Springfield Rifle), Henry Fonda (Mister Roberts), Peter Fonda (Fighting Mad) and Tyrone Power (The Long Gray Line). His other TV credits include Philip Marlowe, All in the Family (memorably playing a gay man who hits on Archie) and Gunsmoke.