Daytime Emmys Spotlight: Debbie Morgan

“All My Children” leading lady Debbie Morgan is one of the top contenders for Best Actress this year and could well win with her  front-burner storyline. In this Emmy-bait arc, her pregnant character Angie develops a rare disease which leaves her blind and fighting for her life as well as that of her unborn child. She contracted the illness after performing a risky surgery on a patient without gloves or masks, due to massive hospital cutbacks. Morgan elevated this cheesy plot twist and managed to make viewers care deeply about Angie.  

Since bursting onto the daytime scene in 1982, Morgan has earned the admiration of critics, the audience and her fellow performers. In 1986, she lost her first Emmy bid — for Best Ingenue — to Ellen Wheeler (“Another World”). In 1989, she tied with Nancy Lee Grahn of “Santa Barbara” for Best Supporting Actress. Morgan won for her now-legendary performance as Angie saying good-bye to her longtime love Jesse who has been fatally shot. The tearful scenes in the hospital room as Angie refuses to acknowledge that Jesse is dead are among the most memorable in the four-decade run of “AMC.”

As one-half of the first African-American soap supercouple, Morgan built up a sizeable fan base. After leaving “All My Children” in 1990 (Angie was played briefly by Sandra Quaterman, who viewers flatly rejected), Morgan took a role on NBC’s “Generations.” That was the first soap opera to feature an African-American family as central characters. Following a succession of other soap work and her own Lifetime series, “For The People, Morgan returned to her star-making role of Angie on “All My Children” in 2008. She won NAACP Image Awards in both 2009 and 2010 as Best Daytime Actress.

She had a real shot at winning the Daytime Emmy Award for Best Actress in 2009 after submitting the much-hyped reunion of lovebirds Angie and Jesse. Despite  an impressive tape, she lost to Susan Haskell (“One Life to Live”) as Marty, an amnesiac realizing the man she’s in love with is her former rapist.

This year, Morgan managed even more screen time than Susan Lucci, the show’s reigning diva. Being front and center on the show, Morgan has a plethora of Emmy episodes from which to choose. She would be wise to showcase herself with one of the pivotal moments in her character’s life and death struggle.

Photo: Debbie Morgan at the 41st Annual NAACP Image Awards (Fox)

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