Kathryn Hays, ‘As the World Turns’ Star, Dead at 87

by Leanne Stahulak
(Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

“As the World Turns” star Kathryn Hays is dead at 87 years old, after playing Kim Sullivan Hughes on the CBS show for 38 years.

TVLine reports that Kathryn Hayes died on March 25, 2022, in Fairfield, Connecticut. Her representatives have not revealed a cause of death at this time.

Kathryn Hays was a staple of classic television throughout the 1960s, performing in many shows and movies until joining “As the World Turns” in 1972. She played Kim Hughes in nearly 1,8000 episodes across 38 years. Hays’s co-star and on-screen husband, Don Hastings, released a statement about Hays’ passing earlier.

“Our relationship as Bob and Kim was as close as Kathryn and my relationship, except we were not married,” Hastings said. “We were more like brother and sister and we were great friends. Our biggest squabble was that she always wanted to rehearse and I wanted to take a nap. This is a huge loss to all who knew her.”

Kathryn Hays’ Life and Legacy

Kathryn Hays was born Kay Piper in Princeton, Illinois on July 26, 1933. According to The Wrap, she married Sidney Steinberg in 1957 and had a daughter named Sherri with him. They soon divorced and Hays then married fellow actor Glenn Ford in 1966. Those two split in 1969, and Hays remained single for several years after that marriage. Then, from 1984 to 1986, Hays married Wolf Lieshke.

She got her start in acting in the 1960s. Kathryn Hays first starred in an episode of “Hawaiian Eye” in 1962. Throughout the early 60s, she made many one-off appearances in episodes of “Dr. Kildare,” “Wide Country,” “Route 66,” Bonanza,” “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.,” and others. Hays’ big break came in 1966 when she landed the role of Elizabeth Reynolds in “The Road West,” starring in all 29 episodes.

Kathryn Hays’ next big TV appearance came in 1968 when she guest-starred in the original “Star Trek” show. Per TVLine, Hays played a character named Gem in an episode called “The Empath.”

And then, come 1972, Hays’ time on “As the World Turns” began. Leading up to that point, she guest-starred in a few more TV shows like “Here Comes the Brides,” “Mr. Deeds Goes to Town,” “Marcus Welby, M.D.,” and “Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law.”

From 1972 until 2010, Hays’ acting career was limited to mostly “As The World Turns” episodes. She did appear in both a “Law & Order” and “Law & Order: SVU” episode though in the 2000s.

Kathryn Hays was undoubtedly one of the great actresses in soap opera television and will be sorely missed. She’s survived by her daughter Sherri, three grandkids, and one great-grandson. Per TVLine, you may honor her memory by contributing to The Greater Bridgeport Symphony in Bridgeport, Connecticut, The First Church of Christ Scientist in Westport, Connecticut, or your favorite dog rescue organization.