Delia Coleridge (nee Reid, previously Jerome, Ryan and Crane) is a character who was the breakout character on the now-defunct soap opera Ryan's Hope. She was originated by actress Ilene Kristen, who is most recognized in the role; but was also played at various times by Robyn Millan; Randall Edwards and Robin Mattson.
On General Hospital, the only ABC soap opera still on the air, Delia (again played by Kristen) made some visits to the soap's locale, Port Charles, as villainess Ava Jerome (Maura West) was revealed to be her daughter by mobster, Victor Jerome.
Neurotic and troublemaking
Delia Reid came from one of the worst examples of a broken home. Her father had been institutionalized when she was young and her mother worked herself into an early grave. The only person who could take care of her was her older brother, Bob (Earl Hindman).
Their first contact with the Ryans was when Delia was seven years old. Maeve Ryan knew that with her father gone and her mother always working, that she needed mothering. So, she gave her some food. Delia stuck with the Ryans ever since.
Her childhood sweetheart was the youngest Ryan son, Patrick, but he went to medical school, and nothing came of it. Delia would have a relationship with mobster Victor Jerome, and with him, had a daughter named Ava, whom she put up for adoption.
Because she wanted to be a part of the Ryan family, and she was unable to marry Pat, she married his older brother, Francis (called Frank), a police officer who became an attorney and later a politician. She gave birth to their son, John Reid Ryan (called Little John).
When Ryan's Hope began, it was clear that Frank's attention and affection was slipping. He had begun an affair with Jillian Coleridge, an attorney who was a friend of the Ryan family. Frank and Jill had fallen deeply in love, and he had announced that he was leaving Delia for good to move on with Jill.
An infuriated Delia was not going to allow that. She would shove Frank down a flight of stairs which nearly killed him. A year later, she would do the same thing to Jill in the Ryan's apartment when she saw Jill on the couch. This was the beginning of the Ryans becoming wise to Delia's schemes and deceit.
Her main method of manipulating the Ryans was she played on her being child-like. She would use hysterics, tears and lying to get them back on her side or to make them believe her over all else. She could easily be called a dissembler, as she was often driving the family apart.
As much as she complained about Frank being with Jill, she was no saint either. She began an affair with Jill's brother, Dr. Roger Coleridge!
Meanwhile, she would become pregnant, after a night in bed with Pat. However, she would miscarry their baby. Pat, who was engaged to Jill and Roger's other sister, Dr. Faith Coleridge, offered to marry Delia to give the baby a name. However, he would later regret that.
Delia had a fake miscarriage to hide the true miscarriage (several people, Faith, Roger, her psychiatrist, her priest and nurse Alicia Nieves, all knew about Delia's deceit), and would do anything to keep Pat on a short leash. However, as she had done with Frank, the short leash did not apply to her, as she still had her affair with Roger.
One day, Roger came over to tell Pat about Delia's lies, when he triggered a case of hysterical blindness. She faked her blindness however, after she regained her eyesight not long after. Pat and Delia took a cruise (in which she wangled the tickets out of her in-laws) and it was on that cruise that Pat realized all of Delia's deceit and lies over the course of that year.
Upon their return to Riverside, Delia was confronted on all side by the Ryans, her brother, Roger, and Faith. All of them were not happy with her and her deceit. The Ryans, finally fed up with the conniving Delia and her troublemaking, had decided to detach themselves from her. A broken-hearted Delia realized that she was finished with the Ryans.
However, she and Roger found that they were perfect together. They would marry and would be happy for some time. It was with Roger's help that she would finally break free of the Ryans and would come into her own. She would become a very successful and wealthy businesswoman.
Yet, once more, she would try to become a part of the Ryan family when she fell in love with Johnny's other son, Dakota Smith. That relationship failed, but it would also allow Pat and Delia to repair their friendship.
Many years later, after the series ended, Delia was revealed to have become the owner of Ryan's Bar, as Johnny and Maeve had died in the interim years. Her first husband, Frank was finally and happily married to Jill; Pat was married to Dr. Concetta D'Angelo and was living in Mexico; her son, John was married to Dr. Catherine Ransome and was raising their son, Owen (Delia's grandson), but Delia was still the same scheming Delia (although not as bad as she had been at the beginning of Ryan's Hope, showing that age has somewhat mellowed her). Some things never change!