Kathryn Hays Dies: Longtime ‘As The World Turns’, ‘Star Trek’ Actress Was 87

Kathryn Hays, who in 1972 started playing the trouble-making homewrecker Kim Sullivan in As the World Turns and by the soap’s cancelation in 2010 had aged with her character to become the beloved matriarch Kim Hughes, died March 25 in Fairfield, CT. She was 87.

Her death was announced today in the Connecticut Post.

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In addition to her long-running role on As the World Turns — with her 38-year-stint, she was the fourth-longest-serving cast member when the series went off the air — Hays is remembered by fans of the original Star Trek for her memorable guest portrayal of Gem in the 1968 episode “The Empath.” As the beautiful alien who gives the episode its title, Hays rescued an injured Capt. Kirk by briefly absorbing his injuries.

Jane Hoffman, left, and Kathryn Hays in “Ladybug Ladybug” (1963) - Credit: Everett Collection
Jane Hoffman, left, and Kathryn Hays in “Ladybug Ladybug” (1963) - Credit: Everett Collection

Everett Collection

Born in Princeton, IL, Hays began her professional acting career in the early 1960s with appearances on such series as Hawaiian Eye, Surfside 6, Naked City and Route 66. In 1963, she portrayed a school secretary in director Frank Perry’s socially conscious Cold War thriller Ladybug Ladybug, about an imminent Russian nuclear attack. Around the same time, she appeared in several Broadway productions: The Irregular Verb to Love, The Moon Besieged and Mary, Mary.

Numerous TV guest-starring roles followed throughout the decade and into the ’70s, including in such series as The High Chaparral; Mannix; Here Come the Brides; Marcus Welby, M.D.; Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law;and Night Gallery.

Hayes joined CBS’ As the World Turns in August 1972 and over the course of four decades featured prominently in various soap storylines of romance, health crises and family troubles. One early, controversial story involved marital rape, a rarely discussed issue at the time.

She is survived by daughter and son-in-law Sherri and Bob Mancusi; three grandchildren; and a great-grandson.

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