Cathryn Damon

Cathryn Damon
Cathryn Damon.jpg
Cathryn Damon in 1978
Born (1930-09-11)September 11, 1930
Died May 4, 1987(1987-05-04) (aged 56)
Occupation Actress
Years active 1957–1987
Spouse(s) Richard Price Towers (1953 - ?)

Cathryn Lee Damon (September 11, 1930 – May 4, 1987) was an American actress, best known for her roles on television sitcoms in the 1970s and 1980s. She is best known as Mary Campbell in Soap (1977-1981).

Early years

The daughter of Walter A. Springer[1] and M. Cathryn Springer,[2] Damon was born in Seattle. She was raised in Tacoma and graduated from Stadium High School.[3] As a child, she felt insecure, saying: "I never thought I was attractive enough. I never thought I was good enough."[4] She also felt as a child that she was responsible for her parents' divorce.[4]

She moved to New York City at age 16 to pursue ballet.


Damon began her career as a ballerina, dancing in the Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival in Lee, Massachusetts,[5] and performing with the Metropolitan Opera's dance company.[6]

Off-Broadway plays in which Damon appeared included The Boys From Syracuse.[7]

Damon appeared in several Broadway productions, including Shinbone Alley, Foxy; Flora, The Red Menace; The Boys from Syracuse;[8] The Last of the Red Hot Lovers; Sweet Bird of Youth; and The Cherry Orchard.[9] During the 1967-68 season, she was the Mame and Vera understudy for the Angela Lansbury-led tour of Mame.

Damon became familiar to television viewers as middle-class Mary Campbell on the primetime spoof of daytime soap operas aptly entitled Soap from 1977 until 1981. However, many fans may not know that she was the third and final actress cast in the role. Producer Tony Thomas states, "Cathryn Damon was brilliant. A lot of people don't know this, but we recast that to put her in it."[10] She later appeared with Soap co-star Eugene Roche on Webster from 1984-86. The pair played Cassie and Bill Parker, Webster's landlords, on the hit series. Other television credits included guest roles on The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, Murder, She Wrote, Matlock, Mike Hammer.[8]

Damon, along with costar and TV husband Richard Mulligan, won an Emmy Award for Soap in 1980 but could not appear in person to receive the award owing to an actors' strike; Mulligan referred to his friend Damon (whom he affectionately called "Toots")[11] and the strike-related absence when he received his second Best Actor Emmy more than a decade later for his role as Dr. Weston on the television series Empty Nest. (Coincidentally, Empty Nest debuted a year after Damon's death, with Mulligan playing the part of a widower whose wife died a year earlier.)

Personal life

In August 1953, Damon married Richard Price Towers, an actor and singer, in New York City.[1]

Illness and death

In 1986, Damon was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, but continued acting in small roles up until shortly before her death a year later at age 56, on May 4, 1987.[8] She died of cancer at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.[2]

Her final role, as Elizabeth McGovern's mother in the movie She's Having a Baby with Kevin Bacon, was released posthumously. She is interred in Acacia Memorial Park near Seattle.


Damon in August 1977


Year Film Role Notes
1980 Getting There Mary Short
1980 How to Beat the High Cost of Living Natalie
1983 The First Time Gloria
1988 She's Having a Baby Gayle Bainbridge Filmed in 1986; final film role


Year Film Role Notes
1957 Producers' Showcase Dancer "Ruggles of Red Gap"
1963 Calamity Jane Adelaide Adams TV film
1977 Blansky's Beauties Rose "Nancy Breaks a Leg"
1977 Rafferty Grace Hampton "Death Out of a Blue Sky"
1977–1981 Soap Mary Campbell Main role
1978 The Love Boat Charlotte 1 episode
1979 Friendships, Secrets and Lies Martha TV film
1981 Midnight Offerings Diane Sotherland TV film
1982 Not in Front of the Children Sheila TV film
1983 Fantasy Island Baronne LaRue "Midnight Waltz/Let Them Eat Cake"
1983 Who Will Love My Children? Hazel Anderson TV film
1983 The Love Boat Joan 1 episode
1984 Simon & Simon Kate Franklin "Dear Lovesick"
1984 Murder, She Wrote Morgana Cramer "It's a Dog's Life"
1984–1988 Webster Cassie Parker Main role (season 2), guest (season 3)
1987 Matlock Victoria Edwards "The Chef"
1987 Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer Aunt Dorothy Putnam "Who Killed Sister Lorna?"


  1. ^ a b "Damon-Towers vows are read in New York City ceremony". The World. Oregon, Coos Bay. September 26, 1953. p. 7. Retrieved May 11, 2021 – via
  2. ^ a b "Cathryn Damon Dead at 56; Won Emmy for Role in 'Soap'". The New York Times. Associated Press. May 7, 1987. p. B 20. Retrieved May 10, 2021.
  3. ^ "Some famous and notable graduates", The News Tribune (Tacoma, Washington), September 9, 2006.
  4. ^ a b "Applause is it for Damon, Quatro". The Boston Globe. April 1, 1979. p. B 6. Retrieved May 11, 2021 – via
  5. ^ "Jacob's Pillow To Premiere New Hertsents' Ballet". The Berkshire Eagle. Massachusetts, Pittsfield. July 12, 1951. p. 12. Retrieved May 11, 2021 – via
  6. ^ Kleiner, Dick (December 28, 1978). "Actress hopes 'Soap' will slide her better roles". The Journal Herald. Ohio, Dayton. United Press International. p. 36. Retrieved May 11, 2021 – via
  7. ^ "Ziegfeld-Type Showgirl N.Y.'s 'Most Entrancing"". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. North America Newspaper Alliance. June 16, 1963. p. 41. Retrieved May 11, 2021 – via
  8. ^ a b c "Deaths in the news", Chicago Sun-Times, May 10, 1987.
  9. ^ "Cathryn Damon". Internet Broadway Database. The Broadway League. Archived from the original on May 11, 2021. Retrieved May 11, 2021.
  10. ^ The Creators Come Clean, Columbia/Trista r, April 2010
  11. ^ Universal Press Syndicate, September 1990

External links