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In Memoriam

Remembering Bridget Dobson, A Creative Force In Daytime

Bridget and Jerome Dobson

Bridget Dobson and her husband, Jerome.

Bridget Dobson, a prolific and groundbreaking creator in the daytime world, passed away on January 3 at the age of 85. Pierpaolo Dobgiovanni first shared the news on Facebook on January 6, saying, “Jerome Dobson told me that his beloved wife Bridget passed away three days ago.

Born Bridget Hursley, she was the daughter of Frank and Doris Hursley, the creators of GENERAL HOSPITAL. After graduating from Stanford University, she recalled to Soap Opera Weekly in 2000, she began her own soap career by “begging my way into writing GENERAL HOSPITAL. My parents thought I was a ‘party girl’ and did not really want me to write with them or for them.” She was 21 when her parents agreed to let her write one scene, which soon led to a full-time job on the writing staff. Eventually, her husband, Jerome Dobson, who she had met during her freshman year of college, became her writing partner, and they served as GH’s head writers from 1973-75. During that period, they scripted the memorable mystery of who killed Phil Brewer (the culprit turned out to be his mistress, Augusta, who struck him dead with a paperweight). They also created the legendary character of Laura.

In 1975, Procter & Gamble soon lured the Dobsons to head-write GUIDING LIGHT, where they remained through the end of the decade. At GL, they crafted the groundbreaking storyline of Roger Thorpe’s rape of his wife, Holly, and introduced the Spaulding family, who would remain a mainstay clan through the series’s end in 2009. In 1980, the Dobsons moved over to AS THE WORLD TURNS, head-writing for an acclaimed three-year period that saw Larry Bryggman’s John Dixon take center stage. While at ATWT, they also created one of daytime’s most memorable villains, James Stenbeck (Anthony Herrera) and launched the venerable love story of Tom and Margo.

They intended to retire, but NBC talked them out of it, and on July 30, 1984, the soap opera Bridget and Jerome co-created, SANTA BARBARA, premiered. The show’s original focus was on four families: the wealthy Capwells and Lockridges, the middle-class Perkinses, and a less-privileged Latinx clan, the Andrades. Known for its lush production values (born of a generous-by-daytime-standards budget) and witty writing, the show was a monster hit abroad, airing in over 40 countries, and spawned legendary couplings like Cruz and Eden, but was dogged by a years-long, behind-the-scenes legal battle that dragged out between the Dobsons and SB’s production company, New World Television. The show aired its final episode on January 15, 1993. Bridget proudly told Soap Opera Weekly in 2000 that SB “led the way in terms of humor and understanding dysfunctionality and touching on intellectual concepts, and I think it was riveting for a while.” SB alum Nancy Lee Grahn (ex-Julia; Alexis, GH) posted after learning of Bridget’s death, “Bridget Dobson and her husband Jerry hired me to play the most curious, absorbing, complex, inspiring character of my career. Realizing the role of Julia Wainwright, having the privilege of feeling my way through this beautifully constructed character’s relationship with herself and others was life-altering for me. It advanced me as an actress and a woman. It introduced 140 -some countries to me and me to them and it set the path to a career that has so far lasted 38 years. The effect just one person can have on your life is quite extraordinary. Rest in greatness, Bridget, and thank you.”

Michele Val Jean, a celebrated soap writer in her own right, who began her daytime career at SB, posted on X (formerly Twitter), “I’m devastated to hear we lost Bridget Dobson. I loved her. She was instrumental in my career and a great friend. A soap icon and a wonderful effervescent person. I don’t have words. My heart is [broken]. Bridget, I will always be your Princess. Rest well.”

Over the course of her career, Bridget won two Writers Guild Awards (one for GL, one for SB), was nominated for three Daytime Emmy Awards for writing (one for GH, two for GL) and, in 1988, won the Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series for SB.

In addition to her husband, Bridget is survived by their daughter, Mary. We send our condolences to her family and friends.