Rebecca Balding, veteran character actress from Soap and Charmed , dies at 73

Rebecca Balding, a veteran character actress best known for her roles on Soap and Charmed, has died at age 73.

Her husband, writer-director James L. Conway, confirmed to EW that Balding passed on July 18 after a battle with ovarian cancer.

Rebecca Balding
Rebecca Balding

Jim Britt /American Broadcasting Companies via Getty Images

Balding was born in Little Rock, Ark. on Sept. 21, 1948. After studying acting at the University of Kansas, Balding moved to Chicago where she became an award-winning stage actress. Setting out for Hollywood, she landed her first TV gig on The Bionic Woman in 1976, followed by a series of appearances on shows like Lou Grant, Barnaby Jones, and Starsky and Hutch.

In 1977, she co-starred with Ed Asner in the classic Christmas TV movie The Gathering as well as its 1979 sequel, The Gathering II. Also in 1979, Balding made her film debut in the slasher film The Silent Scream and starred in the short-lived sitcom Makin' It.

From 1978 to 1980, Balding had one of her most memorable roles on Soap, created by The Golden Girls' Susan Harris, playing Carol David, an attorney who repeatedly tries to, and eventually succeeds in seducing Billy Crystal's groundbreaking gay character Jodie Dallas. Once Carol reveals she's pregnant with Jodie's child, he agrees to marry her, but Carol runs off to join the rodeo, leaving Jodie to raise their child alone. Balding's conniving character would show up routinely to make Jodie's life hell before disappearing from the show all together.

Balding met her husband, James L. Conway, during an audition for the 1981 monster film The Boogens, which he was directing. The actress would continue working steadily throughout the '80s and '90s, landing roles on Cagney & Lacey, Family Ties, Designing Women, E.R., and 7th Heaven, among many others. Her last credited role was as Alyssa Milano's boss, newspaper editor-in-chief Elise Rothman, on Charmed from 2002 to 2006.

Balding is survived by Conway, her daughters Sarah and Kathleen, and her grandchildren.

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