All My Children's James Mitchell Dies at 89

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James Mitchell (Palmer, All My Children)Soapdom Loses Another Great One!

Soapdom is very saddened to report that James Mitchell (1920-2010), who played the machiavelian Palmer Cooney Cortland on All My Children, died Friday, January 22, 2010 in Los Angeles of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, complicated by pneumonia. Mitchell joined the cast of "All My Children" in 1979, having created the role of Palmer Cortlandt, the wealthy patriarch of one of 

Pine Valley's most popular families. His final appearance was on January 5th, 2010 for the show's 40th anniversary episode.

Mitchell's castmates are grieving over the loss:

"I had the good fortune to visit with James Mitchell recently at his home in the Hollywood Hills while I was in LA for this year's Daytime Emmy's," Jacob Young (JR) shared with Soapdom.  "He will always be remembered for his Hollywood movies and of course the impact he made on 'All My Children.'  To me, he will always be 'Uncle Palmer,' my friend, and one of the most professional actors I've ever worked with."

"(I am) deeply saddened and sorry to say goodbye to a dear soul, Mr. James Mitchell, who passed away yesterday. AMC has lost one of it's most precious children, indeed," said Mitchell co-star, Vincent Irizarry (David, AMC) on his facebook status. "The man was a true gentleman and wonderful talent. I feel honored and grateful to have had the opportunity to work beside him and to be his friend. Light up the heavens as you did the world you walked upon these many years, beautiful man!"

Born and raised in Sacramento, California, Mitchell began his career as an accomplished dancer. He played leading roles in a number of Broadway musicals, including "Brigadoon," "Billion Dollar Baby," "Bloomer Girl," "Carousel," "Carnival," "Mack and Mabel" and "Paint Your Wagon." He appeared with the American Ballet Theater in New York, Europe and South America, and with the Agnes de Mille Dance Theater on tour throughout the United States. He also starred on tour in "Funny Girl" with Carol Lawrence, "The Three Penny Opera" with Chita Rivera, "The King and I" with Ann Blyth and in "The Rainmaker" with his then future "All My Children" co-star, Frances Heflin. In addition he served as assistant to the director of the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera production of "Annie Get Your Gun," with Debbie Reynolds.

Mitchell's notable film roles included "That's Dancing," a retrospective of great dance numbers in movie musicals; "The Turning Point," in which he played the artistic director; "The Bandwagon" with Fred Astaire; "Oklahoma" and "Deep in My Heart" with Cyd Charisse. He also danced with Miss Charisse in both her 1965 television special and in the Academy Awards Presentation program in 1966. From 1969 to 1973 he played the role of Professor Hathaway on the Daytime series "Where the Heart Is." He also appeared in the ABC primetime series "Charlie's Angels."

In addition to performing, Mitchell taught movement for actors and theater arts students, which he described as "an exchange of the disciplines of dancing and acting." He taught at Yale University and at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, which awarded him an honorary doctorate in fine arts.

Mitchell is survived by his long time partner, Albert Wolsky. Memorial services will be held at a later date. He was 89 years old and will be missed. May he rest in peace.