David Bailey, 71; Actor in Soaps ‘Passions,’ ‘Another World,’ Others

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Actor David Bailey, a soap opera veteran who recently began playing the ruthless Alistair Crane on NBC’s “Passions,” drowned in a pool accident, authorities said Tuesday. He was 71.

Bailey was found in his apartment pool Thursday and was pronounced dead at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, coroner’s Lt. Cheryl MacWillie said Tuesday.

He was spotted submerged about 2:20 p.m. A neighbor told firefighters he had heard a splash about an hour earlier, according to an investigator’s report noting that Bailey swam almost daily.


An autopsy Sunday determined that drowning was the cause of death, MacWillie said.

Bailey had been on “Passions” since September, finally giving a face to Alistair Crane, a mysterious character who had been only an unseen voice since the program debuted in 1999.

“David Bailey made an immediate and indelible impression in his role as patriarch of the Crane family on ‘Passions,’ ” NBC Universal Television’s senior vice president of daytime programming, Sheraton Kalouria, said in a statement.

The role will be recast, show spokeswoman Eva Demirjian said.

Bailey also acted on “Another World,” playing cardiologist Russ Matthews for many years between the early 1970s and early ‘90s.

During those years, Bailey’s character was transformed from a nice guy to someone who had stooped to beating and raping his wife. In attempting to explain the change, Bailey told the Chicago Tribune that he believed Matthews had “overreacted when he found out [his wife] hadn’t told him she had been a prostitute before they were married.”

“He had been such a sweetheart all the time and couldn’t believe someone would do that to him,” Bailey said.

His other daytime roles included Alan Spaulding on “Guiding Light,” Ben Forrest on “As the World Turns” and Teddy Malcolm on “Ryan’s Hope.” He also appeared in “Where the Heart Is.”

During his career, he appeared in episodes of many other regular TV series.

Among them were “Dennis the Menace” in the 1960s, “Kate & Allie” in the 1980s and, more recently, “Law & Order” and “Hack.”

This year he was in the cast of the Emmy-winning HBO TV movie “Something the Lord Made.”

His motion picture work included 1994’s “Above the Rim.”

Bailey was born in Newark, N.J., on Oct. 27, 1933. Before appearing in soaps, he acted on stage in many productions, including “Pal Joey” and “I Ought to Be in Pictures.”

A founding member of the Black Book Theatre Company, he also wrote and directed plays.

His most recent were “Are You Listening?” and “Your Place or Mine?” produced at the Creative Place Theatre in New York City.

He is survived by his wife, Yvonne Bailey of Philadelphia; and a son, Xander Bailey of Los Angeles.

Services will be held at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills on Saturday and at the Actor’s Church in New York City at a date yet to be scheduled.