Veteran stage and screen actress Rebecca Balding, best known for her roles on TV series Soap and the original Charmed, died July 18 in Park City, UT. Balding passed away following a battle with ovarian cancer, her husband, actor-director James L. Conway tells Deadline. She was 73.
Born in Little Rock, AR, Balding studied acting at the University of Kansas. She began her career on the stage in Chicago before moving to Hollywood where she went to on to guest star in dozens of television series, but is perhaps best known for her role in Soap.
Balding had a key arc over the first two seasons of ABC’s controversial daytime-drama spoof in 1977-79. She played conniving attorney Carol David, who meets the gay Jodie (Bily Crystal, in his breakout role) and quickly seduces him. Their one-night stand leads to her pregnancy. She later persuades Jodie to move in together – before admitting that she is carrying his child. He then proposes in order to fulfill his paternal responsibility and she accepts – only to not show up for their wedding. Carol later gave birth to a daughter and would fight Jodie for custody, which he ultimately won. Carol subsequently kidnapped the child, but Jodie got her back, and Balding’s character went away.
She also starred as Alyssa Milano’s boss on the original Charmed, which aired from 1998-2006.
Balding played Corky Crandall in the late ’70s sitcom Makin’ It, as well as the original female reporter Carla Mardigian opposite Ed Asner in Lou Grant. She appeared in the first three episodes of the sitcom before the character was written out for a different female reporter. She appeared that same year with Asner, portraying his daughter Julie in the classic Christmas TV film, The Gathering, as well as the movie’s sequel. Also in 1977, Balding joined Andy Griffith and James Cromwell as Amy Franklin in the TV movie Deadly Game. Her other TV credits include Melrose Place, Beverly Hills 90210, Home Improvement, MacGyver, Family Ties, Hotel, Matt Houston Cagney & Lacey, Starsky and Hutch and The Bionic Woman.
An early Scream Queen, Balding also starred in the horror films Silent Scream and The Boogens. Her most recent film appearance was in 2005’s Yesterday’s Dreams.
Balding is survived by her husband, writer-director James L. Conway, her daughters Sarah and Kathleen, and her grandchildren.