We turn to the television industry for entertainment, and so it is always terribly sobering when a real-life tragedy affects the biz. Sadly, a major tragedy has now rocked the world of daytime television. Former One Life to Live ABC soap opera star Nathaniel Marston has passed away due to grievous injuries following a horrific car crash. He was 40 years old.

The car wreck took place in Reno, Nevada, and the prognosis was grim from the beginning. Updates from Marston’s mother Elizabeth Jackson indicated that her son intended to keep fighting for his life, but his injuries were just too much. In her latest Facebook update that shared the sad news, Jackson had this to say about her son:
Had Nathaniel lived he would have required a ventilator and would never have been able to utter one more word and would have been sentenced to life as a quadriplegic. A condition that Nate would have never been able to tolerate.

The tragedy is perhaps slightly offset by the relative peace with which his mother and family have come to view his passing.

Nathaniel Marston is best known for his contributions to long-running ABC soap One Life to Live. He originally played to role of Al Holden from 2001 – 2004. When Al was killed off, fans of Marston and his part in a popular One Life to Live couple organized a write-in campaign that called for the actor’s return to the show. Marston was brought back as Al, and in grand soap opera tradition, Al’s spirit was written to inhabit the body of Dr. Michael McBain. Marston remained on the show until 2007, clocking in 194 episodes in his dual roles.

One Life to Live did not outlast Nathanial Marston’s tenure for too long. Airing on ABC for more than forty years after its premiere in 1968, cancellation in 2012 put plans in motions to send the soap to the internet as a Hulu web series. Behind-the-scenes disagreements and legal battles resulted in One Life to Live halting production on the web series. New episodes have not been produced since 2013.

Following the end of his run on One Life to Live, Nathaniel Marston had roles in shows such as Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Castle, and Blue Bloods. Nevertheless, his roles as Al Holden and Michael McBain are what have made him unforgettable for fans who followed his journey.

Elizabeth Jackson expressed gratitude for the fans who reached out in support of Marston and their family for the 12 days following the car crash. She promised to share news of memorial services in New York, Hawaii, and Nevada. We can only commend her for her openness in the face of such a devastating loss and send our thoughts to the family of Nathaniel Marston.

Photo courtesy of ABC.

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