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Eileen Fulton (born Margaret Elizabeth McLarty on September 13, 1933 in Asheville, North Carolina) is an American actress.
Among other roles (including the Broadway productions of The Fantasticks and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?), she is most famous for her role as Lisa Grimaldi on the CBS soap opera As the World Turns, a role she has played almost continually (with two notable interruptions) since May 18, 1960.
The character of Lisa has a storied history, having been married eight times, divorced three times and widowed four times (with her most recent marriage annulled) making her full nameLisa Miller Hughes Eldridge Shea Colman McColl Mitchell Grimaldi Chedwyn.
Fulton's portrayal of Lisa created the strongest prototype of its time for the daytime vixen; the character and actress were, in Fulton's first decades on As the World Turns, very popular (to the point where, in the late 1960s, Fulton had to hire a publicist, the first soap actress to do so). Despite her popularity, Fulton's run has not been without controversy. During the late 1960s, after her onscreen son was SORASed from age 12 to 19, Fulton was noted for insisting it be written into her contract that her character could not become a grandmother, as she feared it would impede the glamorous, fast-paced storylines in which she was involved at the time. As a result, the actress received enormous amounts of "hate mail" when Lisa's onscreen daughter-in-law, Margo, had a miscarriage in 1986. (It is unclear whether the "granny clause", as it became known, was still in effect at the time.) Now in her seventies, Fulton no longer has the "granny clause" in her contract; her character has two sons—a third son died a number of years ago—and four grandchildren.
She left the show three times - first for several months in 1963, when she was replaced in the role of Lisa by actress Pamela King; in 1965 to bring her Lisa character to her own prime time soap spin-off, Our Private World(CBS's attempt to mimic the success of ABC's Peyton Place).Our Private World lasted less than a season, and Fulton took several months off before returning to [As the World Turns in early 1966. She left again in 1983 after a contract dispute with executive producer Mary-Ellis Bunim, returning the next year. During Fulton's 1983-1984 absence, the role of Lisa was played by Betsy von Furstenberg. The following actresses played the part during Fulton's temporary leaves: Lynn Rogers (1977–1978), Jane Powell (1991, 1993, and 1994), Maeve McGuire (1992) and Carmen Duncan (2004).
Although the character of Lisa is still appearing on the show, Fulton has been vocal about her displeasure at not being more prominently featured. Fulton was prominently featured in April 2006 during the show's 50th anniversary episode, and from January 2008 to August 2008, was roughly seen in at least two episodes per week. Her appearances have dropped off since then but she recently signed a new two year contract that will run through her 50th year on the show, 2010.
Fulton has written two memoirs, How My World Turns and As My World Still Turns. She also wrote a mystery novel, called Soap Opera, loosely based on her experiences on As the World Turns as well as a series of murder mystery novels Take One for Murder about a soap opera star "Nina" and her detective boyfriend "Dino." Fulton is also a singer, and has performed a number of cabaret and nightclub acts, in addition to her acting.
Fulton is a 1955 graduate of Greensboro College and was granted an honorary doctorate in 2005, on the 50th anniversary of her college graduation. She was the commencement speaker at Greensboro's graduation ceremony in 2005.