Rebecca Balding, Actress on ‘Soap’ and ‘Charmed,’ Dies at 73

Rebecca Balding, the energetic actress who appeared opposite Billy Crystal on Soap and portrayed Alyssa Milano’s newspaper boss on Charmed, has died. She was 73.

Balding died Monday in Park City after a battle with ovarian cancer, her husband of 41 years, writer-director-producer James L. Conway, announced.

Balding also starred in the horror films The Silent Scream (1979) and the Conway-directed The Boogens (1981). They first met during her audition.

Conway was a producer on The WB’s Charmed when his wife portrayed Elise Rothman, editor-in-chief of The Bay Mirror, where Milano’s Phoebe Halliwell worked as an advice columnist. She appeared on 22 episodes during the last five seasons (2002-06) of the supernatural series.

On the ABC sitcom Soap, Balding recurred as attorney Carol David, who seduces Crystal’s openly gay Jodie Dallas and becomes pregnant. When he decides to “do the right thing” and marry her, she leaves him at the altar, then kidnaps the baby.

Born in Little Rock, Arkansas, Balding studied acting at the University of Kansas and worked in local theater in Chicago before making her way to Hollywood.

In one of her first TV gigs, she played reporter Carla Mardigian alongside Ed Asner on the first three episodes of CBS’ Lou Grant in 1977, then starred with David Naughton on the 1979 comedy Makin’ It, which represented a rare misfire for producer Garry Marshall.

She also portrayed Asner’s daughter in the 1977 holiday telefilm The Gathering; after his character dies, she reunited with Maureen Stapleton in the 1979 follow-up.

In addition to her husband, survivors include her daughters, Sarah and Kathleen, and her grandchildren.

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