American actress Eileen Fulton was born on September 13, 1933 in Asheville, North Carolina. She graduated from Greensboro College in Greensboro, North Carolina in 1955 with a degree in music; she later received an honorary doctorate from the institution in 2005. She’s appeared in several Broadway plays, including productions of The Fantasticks and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, as well as several films later in her career, including Tinsel Town, The Signs of the Cross and The Drum Beats Twice. However, she is best known for her role in the daytime drama As the World Turns.
She joined the soap in 1960, playing the role of Lisa Grimaldi. Throughout her run on the show, she has been married eight times, divorced thrice and widowed four times. Her early years saw her play the scheming “vixen,” a role which earned her enormous popularity, and Time magazine calling her “the most hated woman on TV.” Later on, the character has gained a respected presence in Oakdale, often giving support and advice to its younger inhabitants, and is shown less frequently in the series.
Fulton portrayed the show almost continually, only leaving twice. The first time was in 1963, when her character was spun off to the prime time soap Our Private World; it lasted less than a season, and she returned to As the World Turns after taking a few months off. In 1983, she left after a contract dispute with the show’s producers, eventually returning the next year. She’s also had numerous temporary leaves, during which her character was taken on by several actresses for short periods of time.
Fulton’s presence, however, is indispensable to the soap opera; in 2004, she won a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Daytime Emmy Awards.
In addition, Fulton has written two memoirs, How My World Turns and As My World Still Turns. Her experiences in As the World Turns also served as the basis for her mystery novel Soap Opera, and the murder mystery series Take One for Murder. She has also sang in numerous cabarets and night clubs across the country.