Ryan E.
December 9, 2023

Actress Ellen Holly Dies At Age 92

Ellen Holly, the first Black actress to ever become famous in the soap opera world, has died at the age of 92.

She was a legend.

Holly reportedly passed away peacefully in her sleep during a stay at Calvary Hospital in the Bronx.

Now, fans of Holly are paying tribute to the beautiful actress, remembering how much she accomplished during her time on earth.

Holly was a member of The Actors Studio, she was on Broadway, and even had roles in a handful of films.

Film buffs remember Holly from movies like 1959’s Take a Giant Step and 1988’s School Daze.

Breaking into the acting industry was no easy task for her.

The actress had a hard time landing roles because she was a light-skinned African American woman.

Holly’s list of work does not line up with her incredible talents. That’s because Holly had a lot of trouble initially securing the roles she wanted -- Black roles -- because of the way she looked.

Holly famously said that she and other actresses who looked like her at the time “were having our problems because we’re so proud of being Black actresses that we don’t want to pass for white: we’re insisting, ‘We are Black actresses, use us as what we are,” Holly said in a We Love Soaps interview back in 2012.

In the interview, Holly continued to say that the only roles the film industry was interested in having women like her play were ones they had no interest in pursuing -- white roles.

Not long after Holly nearly threw in the towel and changed careers, her hard work and determination paid off. Big time.

Holly was shocked to learn “that I had just become, in quotes, the first Black star in a central role in the history of daytime television,” joining popular soap opera One Life to Live.

Ellen Holly is a testament to what can happen when you believe in yourself and refuse to settle.

May she rest in peace. Prayers and comfort to Holly’s family during this time.

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