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Lee Lawson, best known for her long-running role as Bea Reardon on the soap opera “The Guiding Light,” died on May 22 at the age of 80.
Lawson played Reardon on the CBS soap from 1981 to 1990. The show ended in 2009.
Her daughter, Leslie Bova, shared the news in a Facebook post that revealed her mother had cancer and COVID-19 before her death.
“Rest, you brilliant woman,” Bova wrote Tuesday. “Thank you, mom. R.I.P.”
Lee Lawson as Bea Reardon on “Guiding Light.” (CBS/YouTube)
Lawson was born Oct. 14, 1941, in New York City, and made her debut on the CBS soap “Love of Life” in 1965. She also appeared in ABC’s “One Life to Live” in 1979 (as Wanda Webb Wolek) before beginning her role on “The Guiding Light” as the owner and operator of a 7th Street boarding house (and a single mother of seven).
The role saw her appear in more than 50 episodes of “The Guiding Light,” which was the second longest-running drama in American television history, having aired for 72 years on radio and television.
Actress Marian Hailey-Moss also remembered Lawson in her own Facebook post Monday, writing, “My down-to-earth, sassy smart and beautiful friend Lee Lawson is telling it like it is in a better place. A fine actress and a super generous friend. I’ll meet you there Lee!”
Lawson’s acting resume included appearances on “Maude,” “Kojak” and “Equal Justice.” She also starred in the TV movie “Mason” about a boy genius. She had six Broadway credits, including the 1965 comedy “Cactus Flower” alongside Lauren Bacall, replacing Brenda Vaccaro in the role of Toni.
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Other roles included the title character in 1966’s “Agatha Sue, I Love You,” as well as My “Daughter, Your Son” (1969), “The Plough and the Stars” (1973), “An American Millionaire” (1974) and “Teibele and Her Demon” (1979).
Her last screen appearance came in the 1991 TV series “Reasonable Doubts,” featuring Mark Harmon and Marlee Matlin.
Lawson was predeceased by her husband, Joseph Bova, and is survived by children Leslie, Chris and Gaby, and grandchildren Gianna, Wilder and Sterling.