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Does anyone know what reasons were given for the character Ellen Stewart's most recent departure on ATWT (in November 1998, according to one online source) and where she was headed? Did Ellen go off traveling or go live somewhere? Anyone know.


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I had a dream last night about possible spin-off fan fiction centered around the character of Ellen Lowell Stewart (mostly played by Patricia Bruder) on ATWT, doing some creative "re-imagining" of the Lowell family backstory and building off with a different branch of the Lowell family, but with Ellen as the heroine/matriarch. The story would center around her and her further adventures, maybe in Centerville or some fictional place somewhat near Oakdale, maybe even post-pandemic? 

 

So when Ellen left the show, did the writers have any dialogue which gave any clue as to where she was going or what her next steps were? I may try writing to Patricia Bruder and see if she remembers anything. Does anyone remember anything  about what happened to Ellen? According to one online source, the last time she was written off the show would have been in or around November 1998. 

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I believe, though I'm not 100% certain, that Ellen moved to Atlanta to further David's AIDS research. He had been living there working with the CDC. Although why she would move to Atlanta with David dead and her being a fund-raiser and not a scientist, I don't know. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense which is why I don't trust my vague memory. Although they may have just wanted an excuse to explain her absence. If they didn't want the character on the show anymore (or Patricia Bruder wanted to leave), I wish they would have just killed off the character. That would have been a more respectful end to a character that had been on the show since it's very beginning than to have her just fade away and never mentioned again. 

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1 hour ago, Bill Bauer said:

I believe, though I'm not 100% certain, that Ellen moved to Atlanta to further David's AIDS research. He had been living there working with the CDC.

 

 

When ATWT released Patricia Bruder from her contract in 1996, Ellen Stewart simply disappeared without explanation. Years later, she returned to Oakdale for Nancy's 80th birthday party, and that is when the show offered viewers the implausible explanation that Ellen had moved to Atlanta to do fundraising. Nancy spoke about wanting to donate, IIRC.

 

1 hour ago, Bill Bauer said:

 

 

 Although why she would move to Atlanta with David dead and her being a fund-raiser and not a scientist, I don't know. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense which is why I don't trust my vague memory. Although they may have just wanted an excuse to explain her absence.

 

It didn't make sense at all. She could fundraise from anywhere, including Oakdale. 

 

1 hour ago, Bill Bauer said:

 

 

If they didn't want the character on the show anymore (or Patricia Bruder wanted to leave), I wish they would have just killed off the character. That would have been a more respectful end to a character that had been on the show since it's very beginning than to have her just fade away and never mentioned again. 

 

OMG, I would have been crushed if they had fired Patricia Bruder and then killed off Ellen. I think, to be respectful to such a long-running character, they should have kept her on the show, of course, but failing that, she could have gone to live with/closer to Annie and her grandchildren. That's an explanation which would have made sense to me.

 

BTW, I also loathe when soaps just drop veteran characters without explanation and never mention them again. It is really disrespectful.

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48 minutes ago, vetsoapfan said:

 

When ATWT released Patricia Bruder from her contract in 1996, Ellen Stewart simply disappeared without explanation. Years later, she returned to Oakdale for Nancy's 80th birthday party, and that is when the show offered viewers the implausible explanation that Ellen had moved to Atlanta to do fundraising. Nancy spoke about wanting to donate, IIRC.

 

 

It didn't make sense at all. She could fundraise from anywhere, including Oakdale. 

 

 

OMG, I would have been crushed if they had fired Patricia Bruder and then killed off Ellen. I think, to be respectful to such a long-running character, they should have kept her on the show, of course, but failing that, she could have gone to live with/closer to Annie and her grandchildren. That's an explanation which would have made sense to me.

 

BTW, I also loathe when soaps just drop veteran characters without explanation and never mention them again. It is really disrespectful.

 

I agree that she should have stayed on the show but if they were determined to get rid of her I wouldn't be against the character dying. It would have been a dramatic, definite end to the character. I don't mind the death of long-term characters. For example, I didn't mind David Stewart's death because it was a way to celebrate and mourn the character. It's better than leaving characters in limbo with flimsy, and often nonsensical, excuses for their absence or family and friends simply forgetting they exist (which happened often on soaps). They could have given her a dramatic deathbed scene. Much better than having her move off to Atlanta which, as you pointed out, made no sense since she had no family there and could fundraise from Oakdale. Then, she never comes visit her family and her family just forgets about her and never mentions her again? That just seems more disrespectful to the character than killing her off.  

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6 hours ago, Bill Bauer said:

 

I agree that she should have stayed on the show but if they were determined to get rid of her I wouldn't be against the character dying. It would have been a dramatic, definite end to the character. I don't mind the death of long-term characters. For example, I didn't mind David Stewart's death because it was a way to celebrate and mourn the character. It's better than leaving characters in limbo with flimsy, and often nonsensical, excuses for their absence or family and friends simply forgetting they exist (which happened often on soaps). They could have given her a dramatic deathbed scene. Much better than having her move off to Atlanta which, as you pointed out, made no sense since she had no family there and could fundraise from Oakdale. Then, she never comes visit her family and her family just forgets about her and never mentions her again? That just seems more disrespectful to the character than killing her off.  

 

I understood (but was saddened by) the death of David Stewart, because the actor's endless and extended absences from the show left Ellen Stewart in storyline limbo, with nowhere to go. Even Henderson Forsythe commented at the time: "Honestly, I don't see what else they could have done." At least with Ellen off screen living close to Annie and the quads, she could have been brought back later on, if the show ever again found PTB who understood and respected ATWT's history.

 

I do agree, however, that having legacy characters disappear into limbo and never be mentioned again is both disrespectful and annoying to the audience. In a perfect soap world of my creating, LOL, characters would continue to be referenced as necessary, even after they were no longer seen regularly.

 

I might have killed Ellen off if Patricia Bruder had chosen to leave, herself, and made it clear she was retiring and would never return. As long as the actress was open to coming back, however, my preference would be to leave the situation open, with Ellen living happily and logically off-screen.

 

What really baffled and irked me about all this was: how the hell did Susan Stewart end up living in Ellen's house? Ellen was wont to carry grudges for decades (ask Lisa, LOL); why would she sell or lease the Stewart house to Susan of all people???

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6 hours ago, vetsoapfan said:

What really baffled and irked me about all this was: how the hell did Susan Stewart end up living in Ellen's house? Ellen was wont to carry grudges for decades (ask Lisa, LOL); why would she sell or lease the Stewart house to Susan of all people???

 

There was no viable explanation to explain why Susan would be living in Ellen's house all those years.  Except TPTB simply wanted to keep the set and use it.  Most people don't realize, the Steward/Lowell house was (at the time) the longest running soap opera set still in use -- having been used on ATWT since the beginning.   They also probably put Susan in Ellen's house simply to save money by using an existing set, rather than building a new set for Susan.   

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1 hour ago, Neil Johnson said:

 

There was no viable explanation to explain why Susan would be living in Ellen's house all those years.  Except TPTB simply wanted to keep the set and use it.  Most people don't realize, the Steward/Lowell house was (at the time) the longest running soap opera set still in use -- having been used on ATWT since the beginning.   They also probably put Susan in Ellen's house simply to save money by using an existing set, rather than building a new set for Susan.   

 

Yes, I always figured that Susan living in the Stewart house arose from budgetary reasons. (I doubt anyone in charge cared about the historical significance of the set, but using it saved money, which was a driving factor in the show's later years.)

 

In terms of real life, it makes sense. In the world of Oakdale, however, I have a feeling Ellen Stewart would rather die than let Susan take over her family's beloved home.

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If Emily had ownership of the house, then decided to let Susan raise Allison there (perhaps hoping that Allison would feel more of a familial foundation) where Allison would feel "grounded" rather than the feeling of being "unmoored" the way Emily felt as a child).

 

And noooo, I don't like the idea of killing off Ellen when her longtime portrayer is still among us. Soaps have done this too often, and it usually strikes me as sad and desperate when they do.

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Along similar lines, it always confused me that Susan went back to Stewart after divorcing Larry. She and Dan divorced before he died (he was married to Kim at that time), so why wouldn't she have gone back to Burke, but kept Stewart? It made even less sense when Alison became largely known as Alison Stewart, even if she was biologically related to Emily, Dan, and Ellen.

 

As a watcher during the 2000's, I always thought of that house as Susan's. I was shocked when those 1979 episodes were released on YouTube to find that the set was around (and largely unchanged) at that time. Makes me even sadder to think that it did eventually disappear. I believe I remember seeing some scenes there in early 2007 when Emily was drifting into prostitution, but I think it ended up one of the casualties of the massive set destructions in 07/08.

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