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Former General Hospital, Ryan's Hope Producer Joe Hardy Has Passed Away

joseph hardy

Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

Joseph Hardy, who was executive producer of General Hospital and Ryan’s Hope, passed away on June 6 at the age of 95, Deadline reports.

Hardy was born on March 8, 1929, in Carlsbad, New Mexico. He graduated from the Yale School of Drama and his career began as a script editor soaps, according to the Deadline article. He made his way to Broadway, eventually directing, having started with 1967’s Johnny No-Trump and later winning the Tony Award for Child’s Play starring Fritz Weaver and Ken Howard, who also took home Tonys in Best Actor and Best Featured Actor in a Play categories, respectively.

He kept his ties to daytime as well, producing Love Is A Many Splendored Thing from 1967-1973. In 1974, he tried his hand at film with Great Expectations, starring Michael York, Sarah Miles and James Mason. In 1978, he produced the TV movie Taxi!, the primetime show James at 15/16 and the TV movie The Seduction of Miss Leona.

Daytime came calling again as ABC hoped he could save one of their struggling soaps, Ryan’s Hope, where he served as executive producer from 1983-88.

Tom Lisanti, who wrote Ryan’s Hope: An Oral History of Daytime’s Groundbreaking Soap, said of Hardy on the official RH Facebook page, “When Labine and Mayer sold the show in 1980 they were dropped as executive producers. ABC never replaced them. Ellen Barrett continued as producer and assumed the duties but not the title. Hardy came in as EP in the spring of 1983 with strict marching orders from ABC that the show needed to be changed.” Lisanti went on to tell Digest, “Hardy caused quite the stir. Modernizing and lightening up the sets and making the show more visually appealing was offset by his firing of fan favorites as directed by ABC angering long-time fans. Whatever the viewers felt about his contributions to the show, the cast respected him and he was very protective and supportive of the actors he hired.”

After Ryan’s Hope, he also served in the top spot on Loving (1988) and General Hospital, where he toiled from 1989-91.

Soap Opera Digest sends condolences to his family, friends and former co-workers during this difficult time.