Norma Connolly, who portrayed the familiar Aunt Ruby on the television soap opera “General Hospital” for 20 years, has died. She was 71.
Connolly died Wednesday in Los Angeles of complications from a stroke, said her son, Adam Rodman.
In addition to the perennially popular soap, Connolly appeared in scores of television specials, movies and miniseries.
The Boston-born performer studied acting at the Leland Powers School of Drama, the Actors Studio and the Cushing Academy. She had a long and distinguished career onstage as well as on the small and large screens.
The actress described herself as “fortunate to have been in three American classics in the theater"--Tennessee Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire” on Broadway and his “Night of the Iguana” and Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible” at Los Angeles’ Ahmanson Theatre.
Connolly also appeared on Broadway in such plays as “Love of Four Colonels” and “Make a Million,” and at Hollywood’s former Huntington Hartford Theatre in “The Right Honorable Gentleman.”
Among her film credits were “The Wrong Man,” “The Other” and “They Only Kill Their Masters.”
Active in the battle against AIDS, Connolly served on the board of Hollywood Helps and worked to recruit soap opera performers for such fund-raisers as the “Soap Star Spectacular” staged in 1992 at the Santa Monica Airport.
She also addressed concerns of actresses over their limited roles in television and film productions, speaking to such organizations as California’s State Commission on the Status of Women and the city of Los Angeles’ Commission on the Status of Women.
Connolly was a board member of the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.
Widowed by the death of screenwriter Howard Rodman, she is survived by their three children, Adam of Los Angeles, Phillip of Las Vegas and Tiahna Skye of San Anselmo, Calif., and two grandchildren.
The family has requested that any memorial donations be made to the Actors Fund, 729 7th Ave., 10th Floor, New York, NY 10019, or to the American Cancer Society, 3255 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 701, Los Angeles, CA 90010.