Another of the show's working titles was "A Rage to Love," but that was soon changed. His wife, Maeve Helen Gallagher , assisted him in his duties, as did their children: Frank, Patrick, Mary, and Siobhan the younger daughter being introduced in the series in , having spent the first three years of the series away from New York City.
The Ryans and the wealthy Coleridges were the original core families of the show. The soap took the then-unusual approach of situating itself in an actual community—the Washington Heights neighborhood of Upper Manhattan.
Maeve's parish sat in the shadow of the George Washington Bridge , on th St. References were often made to Central Park Delia's Crystal Palace restaurant , Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn mob-owned fishing boats , and other localities to provide a sense of place.
Lefferts was soon replaced by Robert Costello , who remained with the show until Nancy Ford co-wrote the first episode with Labine and Mayer. Frank, lawyer and aspiring local politician; Pat, physician at local Riverside Hospital; and Mary, aspiring journalist.
The show contrasted the cultures of conservative parents with their more liberated, '70s-drenched children. Older morals about lifetime marriages, church-proscribed divorce, chastity outside of marital sanction were constantly being tested by New-World, New-Era urban values. Frank's political campaign for city council was challenged by a chain of events surrounding his paying off the Coleridge son who knew of the affair Frank was having with Jillian Coleridge while married to needy, frantic Delia.
The political scandal angle was soon reiterated with Frank's short tenure in the state senate. Delia became involved with all three of Johnny Ryan's sons: Frank, Pat, and Dakota. Mary became irresistibly attracted to a reporter exposing Frank's blackmailing scandal, the fiery Jack Fenelli, and eventually moved in with him without benefit of marriage. These extramarital and premarital affairs, the attendant children out of wedlock, the careerist women, the assertion of abortion rights: Mary's career and personal goals were given neurotic counterpoint in Delia's machinations with Mary's brothers.
Show in transition[ edit ] After two years of growth and success, Ryan's Hope began encountering challenges. In late , Kate Mulgrew announced she would be leaving in January It was Goulet who was in the role when storywriters Labine and Mayer decided to kill off the character in December The writers initially wanted to kill off Mary when Mulgrew announced her decision to leave but ABC refused to allow the popular character to be killed off, going ahead with the three re-casts.
When it became obvious that no one other than Mulgrew herself would be accepted in the role, the network finally agreed to let Mary die. All these recasts left the writers struggling to give a voice to any of the Ryan children and left the show's core family feeling unfamiliar to viewers. Other characters not related to the Ryans were also recast.
After Ilene Kristen left in January , the role of Delia Reid was played by Robyn Millan , Randall Edwards — , and Robin Mattson ; Kristen returned to the show in the role from — when she was fired due to weight gain and — Of the major characters not related to the core characters, only Louise Shaffer's Rae Woodard had any impact, seducing both Roger Coleridge and Frank Ryan who she became engaged to, manipulating a breakup with him and Jillian, whom she despised. After Frank broke off her engagement, Rae plotted to destroy his political career, but eventually she was exposed.
After her illegitimate daughter Kimberly Kelli Maroney was introduced, she became the focus of many storylines, including having an affair with the much younger Michael Pavel whom she had hired as her personal assistant after breaking him and Kimberly up. His murder by the mob ended this triangle and lead to Kim's departure and Rae's brief stay on the backburner of the storyline.
When the wealthy Kirklands were brought in briefly to glamourize the show, Rae literally became the show's leading character, subplanting the Ryan's. After the Kirklands were written out, Rae became the instigator behind the Charlotte Greer storyline. Among the other characters not related to the Ryans who passed through was the Irish born Tom Desmond Thomas MacGreevy who briefly dated Mulgrew's Mary, then married Faith Coleridge in order to stay in the country. After attempting to kill her due to a brain tumor which caused him to become insanely jealous of her and Pat, Tom was briefly tempted by the innocent Poppy Lincoln Alexandra Neil , then known as Diane Thompson Neil, who helped him deal with his brief blindness and happened to look almost exactly like his late girlfriend Teresa Donahue also played by Ms.
Neil who went to appear on practically every New York soap in the next two decades. Desmond managed to last two years before being killed off but other characters were introduced and written out extremely fast. Production changes[ edit ] Several things occurred behind the camera as well during the late s to create a long, year demise of the series. The storylines following the selling to ABC took a turn for the surreal.
Another included a search for lost Egyptian mummy Maatkare Hatchepsut. These were not the type of plots the show had previously been known for. Subsequent interviews with the headwriter Claire Labine, however, reveal that the network was not the driving force behind the surrealism: But I'd do that again.
I loved those scenes. It was a story about alienation. None were considered plausible-- "the Raiders story Various cast members at this time dubbed the show Kirkland's Hope. Due to falling ratings, Labine and Mayer were asked back at the beginning of In the spring, Kate Mulgrew briefly returned to the role of Mary Ryan when the character was brought back as a ghost who communicates with her widowed beloved Jack and, while professing that she still loves him, urges him to move on with his life.
Then, in the summer, classic film actress Gloria DeHaven was hired to play the role of Bess Shelby, a middle-aged woman living out a sad existence in a Washington trailer park until she realizes her long-lost daughter is model Jillian Coleridge. Hungry for money, her teenage daughter Maggie Cali Timmins takes the first bus to New York to find Jillian, eventually causing Bess to head east as well.
Ratings rose slightly with these developments; however, it was not enough. Reilly joining as a staff writer. Smith, along with executive producer Joseph Hardy, once again shifted the focus from the Ryan and Coleridge families.
But sidelining the core families simply did not seem enough and numerous fan favorite actors, including Ilene Kristen , Louise Shaffer , and Karen Morris-Gowdy either got fired or left on their own accord during this period, although Kristen's character did return for a brief stint in , albeit played by Robin Mattson.
The show began a shift back to its roots during this time. The show, which had been airing at This resulted in her new show commencing a block of back-to-back Nixon shows. Others felt that moving Ryan's Hope out of the Durham arrived in October as Dakota Smith, who was brought to the Ryan family's attention following Johnny's admission of a tryst he'd had with a woman who stepped in as his caretaker while he was ill, and away from Maeve, in the s.
The long-ago weekend of intimacy produced Dakota, who arrived in New York to find out that Johnny was his father. Dakota soon became a rebel on the local scene, engaging in dirty dealings and becoming at odds with Frank, especially after he entered into a romance with Jill, Frank's beloved. Long-term fans were displeased with the storyline involving Johnny's infidelity, and ultimately, Dakota was written out with Johnny disowning him over his criminal activities.
Soap vet Rosemary Prinz took over the role of Sister Mary Joel, a recurring part played by several actresses since the show's early days including film actresses Sylvia Sidney and Nancy Coleman , and in a shocking twist, was revealed to be Jack's real mother. Diana Van Der Vlis , who had been part of the show's first year as Seneca's first wife, Nell, returned in a different role, as the somewhat bitchy Sherry Rowan, the widow of the murdered Richard.
When Seneca came back, he was shocked by Sherry's resemblance to Nell, and impulsively asked her to marry him. In the final episode, the two were seen together at Jack and Leigh's wedding. Recasts[ edit ] In late , Joseph Hardy and Felicia Minei Behr decided that the character of Ryan Fenelli would advance to being approximately 17 years old for new storyline prospects, from the 9 year old she was currently, as played by Jenny Rebecca Dweir. Newcomer Yasmine Bleeth was hired to become the teenage Ryan in early , who started only a month or so after Dweir's last appearance in the role.
LaSalle, as played by up-and-coming actor Christian Slater. Rick joined the local police force after high school graduation, and eventually fell in love with Ryan. Jack Fenelli was unsupportive of his daughter dating Rick, who tended to live dangerously; in protest, Rick and Ryan ultimately fled to South Carolina in April , where they eloped. Ryan was approached and assisted at the town hall ceremony by a woman named Maura Kate Mulgrew , who bore more than a passing resemblance to Ryan's late mother, Mary it was suggested that this was Mary returning yet again in ghostly form.
The two were followed and then found by Jack and Frank after the wedding and brought back home, and while Rick and Ryan moved in together, things became more rocky between Ryan and her family. Later in , Jadrien Steele departed from the role of year-old Johnno Ryan. Instead of replacing him with another child actor, Hardy and Behr decided to advance Johnno's age to 19 for storyline purposes as well. After being called back home to New York by his relatives, following the accidental, near-fatal shooting of his father Frank by Rick Hyde, the suddenly grown-up John Reid Ryan surfaced in August , and was portrayed for the rest of the show's run by Jason Adams.
Johnno returned from attending college in the Pacific Northwest , complete with a baby son, Owen "Owney" Ryan. At first, despite prodding from Johnno's "second mother," Jill Coleridge, and everyone else, details of Owney's mother and the circumstances surrounding his birth were seldom shared by Johnno, until the mother to which he was not married, Lizzie Ransome Catherine Larson arrived a while later.
News of this latest unexpected arrival to the Ryan clan soon brought Ilene Kristen back to the show as Delia, to meet her grandson and to cause more upheaval. Her return on September 8, , which proved to be permanent, opened with the revelation that she had been having financial difficulty — the number one indication that for once, she had not run off to marry another wealthy bachelor to advance her fortune.
Delia's last husband, Matthew Crane played by Harve Presnell in during Robin Mattson's brief stint as Delia , had died unexpectedly in the intervening period and left her destitute.
She tried to conceal this fact from everyone, but Maggie Shelby successfully exposed her at a Coleridge family dinner. Delia moved in with Johnny, Maeve, and grandson Owney. Lizzie came to protect John and Owney from her ruthless father, Harlan Ransome Drew Snyder , who wanted to take the baby and sell it for his own purposes, since he disapproved of such a young couple raising a child. After much hostility towards John and Lizzie, and an attempt to rape Delia, Harlan was bludgeoned to death.
Final storylines[ edit ] By early , with ratings sinking ever further, and many ABC affiliates dropping the show altogether, ABC asked Claire Labine to return as head writer, with her daughter, Eleanor Labine , as co-head writer. The Labines revitalized the show. Lizzie and John found there was true love in their relationship, and the young parents were now able to focus on parenthood without living in total sin. In March , they were engaged.
That same month, after successfully taking down Overlord, a local organized crime syndicate that had been terrorizing the Riverside area for almost a year, Siobhan and Joe announced they were leaving New York to seek their fortunes; along with their 3-year-old son Sean Danny Tamberelli , they bid farewell to everyone at the Ryan's annual St.
Patrick's Day celebration aired March 17, The Novaks would return one last time, in October Jack, who had been wounded at the scene of the Overlord takedown, met a homeless teenage girl, Zena Brown Tichina Arnold , while recovering at Riverside.
Zena and Jack had a lot in common due to their history on the streets, and upon his release, Jack fought the authorities in order to get Zena placed in a good foster home.
Zena spent two months in a foster home with an upwardly mobile black family, but after numerous attempts to get herself kicked out, Jack convinced the Ryans to take her in, which succeeded after Zena became very friendly with Maeve. Lizzie, who had started working for Delia at her art gallery, had bought a painting from Ben, who under both his identities was a struggling artist who despised high society — the very explanation as to why he had been estranged from his family for some time.
Ben caused friction with his family and their friends, but ultimately tried to prove himself a local hero when he was the first to witness John Reid Ryan's temporary infidelity to Lizzie. During the investigation of a recent murder at local Wellman College, which John Reid and Ryan were now attending, John fell into bed with Dr.