Mary Stuart will forever be known as "Jo Gardner," the character she played for 35 years on the hit soap opera Search For Tomorrow.
Born in Florida, but raised in Oklahoma, Mary started her career when she was only 12 years old, working for her local USO. After she graduated from high school she made her way to New York City to pursue her dream of becoming an actress.
Not long after Mary earned a contract with MGM Studios, appearing in films, screen testing actors, and posing in publicity photos. In 1948, she signed a contract with Warner Brothers for three years, but in 1951 her movie career came to a halt.
A short time later, CBS offered her a part in a new venture, the soap opera The First Hundred Years. Although the series was short lived, executives at CBS loved Mary and soon cast her in their second soap opera, Search For Tomorrow.
When SFT was cancelled in 1986, Mary thought of retiring, she had worked for nearly 40 years non-stop. And while she did some writing, and a short stint on One Life to Live, she was out of the public eye for ten years.
Then, in 1996, CBS came calling again. This time Mary was cast as "Meta Bauer" on the longest running series in broadcast history, Guiding Light! She would remain with the cast for 6 years, up until her death in 2002.
Mary is survived by 2 children and 3 (for now) grandchildren. And by a legacy some actors only dream of.