Author and Psychologist
The Many Lives of Mary Worth

The Many Lives of Mary Worth

You may think you know Mary Worth, but you don’t know her whole story, the story some understandably still try to hide. That isn’t hyperbole (more on efforts at obscuring the reality of her Depression era beginnings later). Most everyone has come across the Mary Worth of today in the newspaper comics section. Whole websites, mostly snarky, are devoted to discussion of her current exploits. Mary is viewed as an interfering old biddy who has nothing better to do in her life than interfere with other people’s lives. That take is understandable, but looking at her long life in the comics (over eighty years, believe it or not), lends some interesting insights into her evolution and the treatment of women along the way.

What follows is the most comprehensive look at the story of Mary Worth yet attempted. Her many “lives” are described, a timeline of her most memorable stories is provided, and brief sketches of the most memorable characters to populate the strip, along with time period they appeared, finishes off this entry. Keep scrolling down, if interested. There is a lot here to take in!

The Depression Era “Apple” Mary (1934-1939)

Unlike for much of American, in 1934, things were looking pretty good for Mary Ella Johnson Worth, living in a mansion with her wealthy husband, her son’s family either living with them or nearby. Her son’s nickname, “Slim”–people called him Slim Worth for good reason–should have been a clue that things might go south fairly soon. In comic strips of that era, it was not uncommon for names to signal the character of the individual. As writer and creator Mary Orr portrayed him, Slim Worth had very little character at all.

The precise nature of Mary’s downfall has never been completely revealed, but the broad strokes are known. Mary’s husband and daughter-in-law were killed in the same “accident.” A business associate of her husband, Old Man Craftee, likely had something to do with the accident. Oil had been discovered on the Worth land and through illegal shenanigans Craftee gained title to their property. All this is told in flashbacks. Slim Worth had disappeared shortly thereafter, leaving Mary—stripped of all means of support—to care for herself and her six-year old crippled grandson, Dennie. Mary, struggling to pay rent in a shabby apartment, takes to selling apples on a city street corner to support herself and Dennie.

The comic strip, called “Apple” Mary debuted on October 29th, 1934, written and drawn by a female cartoonist named Martha Orr. It was a classic Depression era comic strip, similar to Little Orphan Annie of the 1930s, featuring sympathetic characters trying to just get buy. Mary and Dennie were soon joined by the rough around the edges truck driver Bill Biff in January 1935, who provided a little muscle at times when Mary or Dennie were in a jam.

Old Man Craftee provided most of the obstacles to Mary getting back on her feet in 1935. Corrupt city councilman Looter took over the mustache twirling the following year. Women of questionable morals tempted Bill Biff from the straight and narrow. With names like Bessie Buxhom and Goldie Diggs, they really couldn’t help themselves.

“Apple” Mary embodied a certain feminine ideal: devoted to her family, industrious, and capable of fighting like a lioness for her cub on the rare occasion that was called for. She was also gullible, taken in by strangers and often in need of rescue. Her complicated relationship with her son, who returned in 1936, and once again up to no good, became something of a recurring theme.

With the Great Depression slowly lifting, Martha Orr’s retirement from cartooning in October of 1939 came at a perfect time. Her assistant, Dale Conner had completely taken over the art chores a few months earlier and was already was bringing a more stylish look to the strip. And a new writer, Allen Saunders, was brought on board to handle story. Saunders had a different direction in mind for the dowdy matron that would better fit the times.

Housemother to Glamor Gals (1939-1955)

Initially a rather frumpy looking gray-haired woman, Mary becomes more up-to-date in her clothing and hairstyle choices. No longer destitute, she no longer has to sell apples and is henceforth only known as Mary Worth. And due to successful medical treatments, Dennie no longer has to use crutches. Bill Biff and Dennie are still around but they are no longer the central focus of stories as told by Allen Saunders and Dale Conner. The Depression era trappings of the strip are almost entirely wiped clear.

Beginning with befriending an attractive showgirl named Leona Stockpool in 1939, Mary is increasingly drawn into the orbit of showgirls, actresses, aspiring writers, selfless nurses and other professional women. To all of them, she is a steady confidant and source of wisdom, though not all heed it.

Three women in particular appear several times in the narrative of this period, Leona Stockpool (1939, 1942, 1948), who marries aspiring politician John Blackston; selfish actress Angel Varden (1941, 1942, 1949, 1969); and show business writer, “Brick” Bricker (1946 through 1953). Each woman represents a feminine archetype typical of the period, Leona, the ingenue who gives up career for love; Angel, the self-centered bad girl who is unable to find love; and Brick, the tough talking career girl with a soft heart after all.

In the meantime, Mary’s fortunes continue to improve and by 1941 she is running a boarding house in a town named Boomville, thus losing her Apple Mary nickname forever. Unfortunately, the boarding house is destroyed when a cyclone levels Boomville. Mary is undaunted. Her new role as a source of hard-earned wisdom is reflected in the comfort that she gives a distraught Dennie.

“Human beings are like steel blades, my child!” Mary explains. “They must go through fire to be tempered, and must be ground before they become really useful! There’s work to be done here … among the storm victims! I’ll worry about our future when I get time.”

Mary also exemplifies the idealized role of women during World War II. She becomes a volunteer for the Red Cross to help care for returning wounded soldiers. And when asked by the mayor of Boomville, she readily sells her farm to make way for new living units, because as she says “something must be done about better housing conditions for defense workers in town.” (6/10/41).

Mary increasingly wanders across the United States, leaving Dennie and Bill’s niece Sunny to the care of an increasingly mature Bill Biff in 1944. Bill and Sunny are never again seen in the narrative and Dennie will be gone for over ten years. Brick Bricker becomes a semi-regular in the series, first appearing as a supporting character, finding love and losing it with one man, finding it and keeping it a couple years later with another, and still later cheering Mary on in a romance of her own. By the time Brick leaves for Paris with her husband and two children in tow in 1953, author Saunders felt he had exhausted every possible storyline for a beloved character and reluctantly retired her.

Mary Worth’s Renewed Focus on Family (1955-1964)

Loyal readers never forgot about young Dennie, however, and would write Saunders wanting to know whatever happened to him. Saunders was ready for a new recurring character, and so Dennie returns into Mary’s life. The years 1955 through 1963 see Mary reunited with both her son and grandson after a decade’s absence and also sees them achieve successful romances of their own.

Once Saunders realized he could mine a different sort of story with relatives of Mary, three female cousins are introduced: the haughty Constance Hansen who proves to a romantic rival for Mary, at least at first, and sisters Hildy Brent, and Pandora Clark, who present as opposites, one a homebody and the other a future model. All make return appearances. As a result, each year features a romantic storyline of one of Mary’s relatives during this period. Naturally, Mary also continues to meet interesting men and women from a variety of interesting professions, including Hal Rapp, a pastiche of Li’l Abner cartoonist, Al Capp.

Midwestern Visions: Jennings, Ohio (1965-1979)

The birth of Dennie’s first child in 1961 posed a problem for Saunders. Mary was now a great-grandmother, and the little rugrat would only grow older. One suspects with some regret, just as with Brick Bricker, Saunders also retired Dennie and Slim Worth as players in Mary’s ongoing saga. But in doing so, the storyline once again began to drift with Saunders lacking any recurring characters.

The writer solved that problem with the introduction of Frank and  Anne Crawford and their lovely if somewhat difficult daughter, Jennifer, in 1965. While other characters tended to enter with problems and exit with true love, Saunders could take some comfort in be able to return to the lives of the Crawford family every year or two. Locating so many of these stories in a mid-sized Midwestern town generally meant the stories took on a less glamorous slant. Even so, struggling artists, writers, and actors were never in short supply.

Also, increasingly in evidence were “relevant” narratives, as they were known at the time, usually dealing with social issues. Readers were introduced to one-armed magazine writer, Maggie Millis (1970), Peter Barton and his past history of mental illness (1975), and the story that got the most publicity at the time, pregnant teen Karen Cooper (1976). Saunders (or the syndicate) steered away from African American characters, but the author did introduce a series of Latino/a characters facing the challenges of racism: Anita Gomez (1969) and Tomas Rodrigo (1972). Later, Saunders’ son added Carlos Aloras (1987) to the list. One wonders if Latinos were somehow seen by the syndicate as a more “acceptable” minority, despite the real prejudice they experienced.

Mary Worth’s California Dreaming (1979-2004)

When Allen Saunders’ son took over the sole authorship of the narrative, he implemented a major shift in setting which in turn changed the tone of the series. In 1979, Mary is asked to manage an apartment complex (which only later is identified as Charterstone) in the rather sedate city of Santa Royale, California. This development largely brings Mary’s nomadic roaming to an end. The Crawfords are never seen or heard from again. Within a matter of months, Professor Ian Cameron and his artistically talented wife Toby move in, fueling multiple stories over the years. Toby quickly replaces Ann Crawford as Mary’s best friend and confidante and has served that role ever since.

The move to sunny California is courtesy of John Saunders, who has totally taken over the writing of the comic strip with the retirement of his father. The shift in focus and locale reflects a new sense of American community. The apartment complex, in the younger Saunders’ eyes, is the new nexus of social life. While occasional visits to New York still occur, the interesting new people Mary meets are typically new neighbors. In the summer, they often sip drinks around the pool.

Mary’s life increasingly revolves around the lives of these neighbors and/or their children. Mary meets Wilbur Weston in 1993 and later his daughter, Dawn. She also meets and begins her long and rather chaste romance with Dr. Jeff Cory in 1996. They often involves themselves in the romances of his physician children, Drew and Adrian.

A Revisioned Biography Emerges (2004-2017+)

With the death of John Saunders, Karen Moy took over the writing chores, becoming the first woman to write the narrative in over 60 years. Joe Giella continued to handle the art chores until recently. June Brigman is the current artist, who has an admirable body of work in superhero comic books. Moy did not significantly change the focus of the narrative, keeping Mary on as manager of Charterstone. She does introduce a romantic interest for Wilbur Weston named Iris Beedie, who has a troubled son. Tommy Beedie struggles with addiction over several stories. Mary also gets her first stalker, a dangerous fellow named Aldo Kelrast who incongruously resembles Captain Kangaroo.

Mary’s romance with Jeff, after one dramatic story where Mary travels to Southeast Asia to retrieve her seriously ill beau, has slowed significantly, though the two continue to enjoy a dinner together from time to time. Occasionally Mary ghost writes Wilbur Weston’s “Ask Wendy” advice column, a natural development after decades of offering often solicited, but just as often unsolicited, advice.

Of greater interest here is that Moy begins to revision Mary’s past. It was no longer feasible to acknowledge Mary’s roots in the Great Depression. King Features, the owners of the Mary Worth strip, began to suggest that Mary Worth and Apple Mary were not the same character. Mary begins to share details from her impoverished childhood in March 2008 and speaks of her late husband Jack for the first time in decades in August 2013. The two now appear to have had a brief and childless marriage after meeting in college in what appears to be the 1960s or 70s. Slim, Dennie, and his offspring have been wiped clear of the continuity. “The Many Lives of Mary Worth” becomes an apt title for this brief history, as Mary now has lived at least two completely different ones!

Links to Some Mary Worth Websites of Interest

Current writer Karen Moy’s website:

There are two collections of Karen Moy and longtime artist Joe Giella narratives currently available for interested readers.

Mildly snarky commentary on Mary’s daily adventures:

The Comics Curmudgeon on comics, including Mary: 

Mark Carlson-Ghost


Martha Orr Narratives

1934    Mary loses her fortune and must sell apples to support crippled grandson, Dennie.

1935    Truck driver Bill Biff helps Mary learn how Old Man Craftee cheated her.

1936    Dennie brings home a man with amnesia, actually his father, Slim Worth.

1937    Goldie Diggs marries Bill Biff for money? Toddler Sunny is left on Mary’s doorstep.

1938     Mary and Bill fight for custody of Sunny. Dennie is able to walk again.

Allen Saunders Narratives

1939    Mary meets showgirl Leona Stockpool. Upscale drama begins.

1940    Leona and politico John Blackston begin their romance. Slim Worth returns.

1941    Slim disappears again (for a long time). Spoiled Angel Varden takes the stage.

1942    Conman Colonel Canfield romances Mary. Angel Varden and the Blackstons return.

1943    Mary finishes her work as a Gray Lady. Gypsy Monez charms two brothers.

1944    Enter mysterious Lisa de Leon. Mary leaves Bill, Dennie and Sunny behind.

1945    Lyric Lane loves a father and a son. Flame Darcy plays with fire.

1946    Mary befriends a tough talking female writer, the soft-hearted “Brick” Bricker.

1947    Brick, still working for Herb Ashley, gets Broadway bound Pixie Gaye a job.

1948    Brick and Angel Varden fight over Link Riley. Senator Blackston reenters Mary’s life.

1949    “Drum” Greenwood, an arrogant millionaire, is tamed by Mary.

1950    Brick looks on as Mary and Drum’s wedding is undone by a case of amnesia.

1951    Gussie Mack wears a sexy devil costume. Disabled Ricki Zanda sings beautifully.

1952    Brick sets up Mary with Edwin Pinwhistle, who turns out to be a wife killer.

1953    Brick and Link Riley move to Paris, exiting the narrative.

1954    Mary befriends the Dancing Devores and lovelorn columnist, Holiday Hart.

1955    Dennie returns and marries September Smith. Enter Hildy and Pandora Worth.

1956    Dennie and September have a son, making Mary a great-grandmother.

1957    Mary learns new details about long lost Slim Worth. Mary meets Hal Rapp.

1958    Mary competes with her cousin Constance for the heart of admiral Reef Martin.

1959    Dennie rescues Mary from Angie Omen. Hildy Worth Brent becomes a mother.

1960    Mary’s cousin and model, Pandora Clark, needs help with her marital woes.

1961    Hildy feels pressured by her husband to adopt a status-oriented lifestyle.

1962    Slim Worth returns and Mary and Dennie struggle to reconcile with him.

1963    Slim finds a job and a good woman. Slim and Dennie drop out of the narrative.

1964    In her last appearance, Hildy asks Mary to watch her children during foreign trip.

1965    Mary reconnects with old friends, Frank and Anne Crawford.

1966    Jennifer Crawford’s impending marriage to Gatewood Cobb is complicated.

1967    Reef and an alcoholic Connie Martin return.

1968    Frank and Anne celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary.

1969    Aging actress Angel Varden makes her final appearance in the narrative.

1970    Reef buys a castle for Connie. One-armed Maggie Millis is a successful writer.

1971    Enter untrustworthy bearded teacher Van Douglas. Is it the facial hair?

1972    Greenhouse worker Tomas Rodrigo finds love (and trouble) with the boss’ daughter.

1973    Anne Crawford suffers serious injuries in a car accident.

1974    Frank Crawford harbors a secret from his wife.

1975    Mary’s cousin, Rose Morris, finds love. Peter Barton reveals a history of mental illness.

1976    Mary and Frank help Karen Cooper, a pregnant student. Anne sees an old flame.

1977    Karen returns, in love. Jennifer and Gatewood’s marital woes are finally resolved.

1978    Sterling Saxon proposes. Frank and Anne Crawford win a million dollars in the lottery.

John Saunders Narratives

1979    Hamilton Hull almost leaves his wife, then asks Mary to manage Charterstone Apts.

1980    Ham asks Mary to house old friends Professor Ian and Toby Cameron at Charterstone.

1981    Ash Jackson wants to marry Mary. Ham sends Kate Berdan Mary’s way.

1982    Unmarried Karen Cooper visits Mary with a young son and falls in love (again).

1983    Ian Cameron meets Gwen Thorne, the adult daughter he never knew he had.

1984    Ian risks losing his new daughter by trying to interfere in her impending marriage.

1985    While in NYC, Mary and Hamilton Hull try to help astrology fanatic Jenny Troon.

1986    Ham recommends Charterstone to newly retired Cal Lucas and his wife.

1987    Mary hires homeless Carlos Aloras as a groundskeeper for the apartment complex.

1988    A married Jenny Troon visits Mary, who is reunited with old flame Grant Inwood.

1989    Young golf pro Doug Cory struggles with an emerging drinking problem.

1990    Carlos Alora’s haughty niece, Theresa, visits. Shock jock Monty Madison moves in.

1991    Martha Williams, the daughter of Mary’s dour suitor Chad Bryan, arrives.

1992    Toni Dulac plays on Ian’s fears about being so much older than Toby.

1993    Mary befriends new Charterstone residents, Wilbur and Dawn Weston.

1994    Mary helps Bill and Sonia Corey. Corabelle Berkey stirs up trouble.

1995    The difficult Peter Whitlock falls in love with independent Willow Saxman.

1996    Mary clashes with, then falls for, handsome physician Jefferson Cory.

1997    Minerva Monroe, one of Jeff’s patients, uses a gun to make a point.

1998    Reporter Alexa Bennett discovers the judge she’s investigating is her father.

1999    Meg Chester romances, then cons Jeff’s son, Drew Cory.

2000    Minerva, Peter and Willow all reenter Mary’s life one last time.

2001    Elizabeth “Liz” Hoag, Toby Cameron’s older sister, seduces Wilbur Weston.

2002    Dawn enlists Woody Hills’ help in breaking up Liz Hoag and her father.

2003    Woody Hills reenters Dawn’s life, revealing a problematic temper.

Karen Moy Narratives

2004    Mary meets Tommy Beedie, the troubled son of Iris Beedie, for the first time.

2005    Wilbur as “Dear Debby” gets sued for allegedly breaking up a marriage.

2006    Jeff Cory goes to Cambodia. Mary deals with a stalker, Aldo Kelrast.

2007    Mary brings an ill Jeff home. Dawn and Drew Cory have an ill-fated romance.

2008    A chastened Drew goes to SE Asia to further his father’s work there.

2009    Adrian Cory, Jeff’s daughter, finds love with police detective, Scott Hewlett.

2010    Mary sets up psychiatrist Mike Roberts with financial planner Jenna Thomas.

2011    Adrian and Scott are married, prompting Drew Cory’s return from Vietnam.

2012    Nora Wolvenson has a questionable relationship with her boss.

2013    Mary resolves her friendship with John Dill and meets Ken Kensington.

2014    Released from prison, Tommy Beedie returns. Mary befriends Olive Taylor.

2015    Terry Bryson and Adam Miller reconnect. Mary visits Olive in NYC.

2016    Dawn falls for her professor. Tommy Beedie becomes addicted to pain killers.

2017    With Wilbur away, Iris Beedie sees a younger man. Enter evil Esme.

Mary Worth’s Friends and Family

Dennis “Dennie” Worth.  Apple Mary’s plucky young crippled grandson, Dennie receives corrective treatments in 193x that allows him to walk normally. He is an adolescent when Mary leaves him in the care of Bill Biff in 1944. Dennie is not seen in the narrative again until 1955 when he reemerges a Korean War hero and a handsome young businessman working for a department store. That same year he meets, falls in love with and marries September Smith. Dennie and September welcome their first son into the world in 1956. Mary hides information about Dennie’s father that she learned from Edwin H. Medill in 1957. In 1959, Dennie rescues Mary, who has been locked in a wardrobe by Angie Omen. Dennie is finally reunited with his ne’er do well father in 1961. At this time, September has just given birth to a second child, making Mary a great grandmother twice over. Perhaps understandably, Dennie is rarely seen in the narrative after that. 10/34-10/44, 3/55-6/55, 9/19/56-11/56, 2/57-3/57, 6/57, 6/12/59-7/5/59, 8/61-11/61, 6/63, (referenced 12/63, speaks to Mary by phone 4/66).

Bill Biff. A truck driver Dennie enlists to help drive his grandmother to see her old estate. Rough around the edges and good in a fight, the middle-aged Biff soon becomes their protector, though his judgment, especially as regards women—Bessie Buxhom and Goldie Diggs being prime examples—was consistently suspect. 1/35-10/44.

Stanford “Slim” Worth. Dennie finds a man with amnesia and brings him to his grandmother. Mary keeps a secret about the man, who is ultimately revealed to be Mary’s long lost son and the father Dennie never knew. As he recovers parts of his memory, he recalls a wife who cheated him out of money. Slim is only an occasional presence in the strip. While he recovers his memory, he suffers from a perennial lack of character. He comes close to redeeming himself in his later years, though his relations with Mary and his now married and adult son remain ambivalent. Finally, in 1963, with a stable love named Muriel, a stable job with Muriel’s father and a redeemed and tested character, Mary releases his inheritance to him. 11/36-4/37, 11/40-2/41, 8/61-2/62, 5/63-8/63.

Sunny Biff. Sunny is a toddler left in the hallway outside Mary’s apartment with a note asking the Mary care for her and not reveal her identity. Sunny turns out to be the daughter of Bill’s brother Jim and his daughter-in-law Louise, who feels unable to care for her due to their separation. When Jim and Louise reconcile, they take Sunny back but soon enough are killed in an accident. Throughout 1938 custody struggles abound with Bill finally being awarded guardianship. The lion’s share of parenting is done by Mary until she begins to travel around the country. In 1944, she finally leaves both Dennie and Sunny in Bill’s care. Sunny is never again seen in the narrative. 5/7/37-8/37, 12/37-10/44. 

Leona Stockpool. Beautiful nightclub performer whom Mary befriends. She falls in love with ambitious politician, John Blackston and lives an increasingly proper life. In 1947, Leona is threatened by Beverly Hale, her husband’s secretary, and her clear infatuation with John, but knows leaving him would mean the end of his presidential ambitions.11/39-11/40, 3/42-6/42, 3/48-7/48. The 1948 narrative reprinted in Mary Worth 1 (Argo).

John Blackston. Special prosecutor, then governor and finally senator with presidential aspirations, Blackston is on the fast track. He loves Leona, but their relationship is challenged by his political situations. 3/40-11/40, 3/42-6/42, 4/48-7/48. The 1948 narrative reprinted in Mary Worth 1 (Argo).

Connie Barclay. The beautiful and good-hearted niece of Caleb Gribble, the corrupt mayor of Boomville. Because of his kindness towards her, taking her in as a child, Connie has a hard time accepting her uncle’s involvement in nasty doings. 6/19/41-7/42.

Tom Kane. Crusading reporter and editor of the Boomville Times and a loyal friend to Mary, Kane is unsuccessfully romanced by Angel Varden and falls in love with Connie Barclay instead. 7/21/41-3/42.

Gypsy Monez. Exotic beauty and show girl, Gypsy Monez seeks Mary’s help hiding from gangster Max Falcon and in the process wins the heart of two brothers, young Bud and Rick Pendrake. 11/43-4/44. Reprinted in Green Hornet 39-41 and Black Cat 14 (Harvey) and the Blackthorne paperback Mary Worth Book #1..

Dr. Karen Ward. Career driven physician who first deals with trouble in her marriage and then becomes entangled in Senora Lisa DeLeon’s quest to defy the effects of aging. 4/12/44-10/40. Reprinted in Romantic Picture Novelettes 1 (Magazine Enterprises).

Senora Lisa DeLeon. Looking far, far younger than her age due to the special age defying treatments of Dr. Karen Ward, Lisa DeLeon must choose between a young suitor, injured veteran Michael Jones, and a far older man from her past. 7/44-10/44. Reprinted in Romantic Picture Novelettes 1 (Magazine Enterprises).

Selene Adair. Selfish older actress hanging onto youth, Selene forces her adult daughter Binnie to pretend to be her younger sister. Reprinted in Love Stories of Mary Worth 1 (Harvey).

Lyric Lane. Lyric is engaged to an older man, wealthy Matt Brand. Brand’s son Tony thinks Lyric is after his father’s fortune, but the two ultimately fall in love. The father’s untimely death paves the way for chastened couple. 3/45-6/45.

Flame Darcy. Rebellious young woman who only attends art school to escape the watchful eye of her father. She engages in a dangerous flirtation with boxer Kid Coyle, who moonlights as an artist’s model, but ultimately falls in love with earnest artist, Garrett Walker. 7/45-10/45, 4/46. Reprinted in Love Stories of Mary Worth 5 (Harvey).

Cheri Deane. AKA Prudence Powers, radio advisor on “problems of the heart.” Reprinted in Comic Hits 55: Love Stories of Mary Worth (Harvey). 7/46-

Herb Ashley. Program director of WBIX Radio and fiancé of Cheri Deane. 7/46-

Betty “Brick” Bricker. When first in the narrative, Brick works as a radio writer for Herb Ashley, the station program director. A tough talking, but soft-hearted redhead, the attractive Brick wears thick-framed black glasses. She subsequently if frustrated by and taken with fast talking advertising manager, Mike Mason. By 1948, Brick has married and had a son by Mike, but has also been left by and then widowed by him. When Mary comes out to help Brick with her son in Hollywood, she is writing the screenplay for the true story of war hero and now reluctant actor in his own story, Link Riley. His romantic interest in the movie, actress Angel Varden, and Brick emerge as rivals, but it is Brick and Link who fall in love. The two are married in 1949. Brick emerges as a close friend to Mary and is able to return the older woman’s support on several occasions, arranging for at least two jobs for Mary. She is last seen in the narrative leaving for Paris with her husband and now two young children. 7/46-10/46, 1/47-9/47, 10/48-2/49, 8/49, 1/50-5/50, 6/52-9/52, 1/53. Earliest appearances reprinted in Comic Hits 55: Love Stories of Mary Worth and Love Stories of Mary Worth 4 (Harvey).

Pixie Gaye. Ambitious young dancer from the South, Pixie aspires to get to Broadway, but first Brick, still working for Herb Ashley, gets Pixie a job at WBIX. x/47-x/47. Reprinted in Love Stories of Mary Worth 4 (Harvey).

Mike Mason. Handsome, dark-haired advertising manager, Mike falls for Brick, whom he affectionately calls Funnyface. The two marry that same year, though Mike’s penchant for gambling remains a concern. The two have a son together named Donn before Mike leaves Brick and his young son. Not long after, Mike is declared dead due to a plane crash over the Amazon. His body is never found, but among his surviving effects were a large number of lottery receipts.  4/47-9/47, (referenced 10/48).

Sgt. Lincoln “Link” Riley. When a handsome prisoner-of-war returns to America, Hollywood takes notice and Brick Bricker is hired to write the screenplay. A romantic triangle emerges between Link, Brick and actress Angel Varden. Link and Brick are married in 1949 and the following year have a daughter on the way. Link is wary of Brick’s efforts to set Mary up with the charming Edwin Pinwhistle, concerns that end up being well founded. When Link gets a promotion to run his company’s office in Paris, the young family move to France.

Drummond “Drum” Greenwood. Mary and Drum’s personality’s clash when they first meet. The rather arrogant though handsome older man declares that he is “Drummond Greenwood the First.” Mary declares, “I don’t care if you’re Henry the Eighth,” and even threatens to call the police on him. Soon enough, the two have fallen in love and it is a case of amnesia that ultimately thwarts an upcoming marriage. Brick is no fan of Drum, calling him a “selfish old dictator.” 5/49-8/49, (ref 1/50), c3/50-5/50.

Gussie Mack. Hatcheck girl at Radee’s Hades Club, where she dresses in a short skirt and where’s devil horns. Her boy friend and later husband is Lefty Gruber, a handsome boxer who must give up the sport after having several bones broken in a fight. 12/50-5/16.

Ricki Zenda. Beautiful wheelchair bound nightclub singer. She marries David Harcourt despite his mother’s objections. 4/51-7/51.

Marcia and Vic Devore. A married dance act, their faltering romance is rescued by Mary, whom Marcia comes to consider a surrogate mother. 1/54-6/54, 12/54-3/55.

Holiday “Holly” Hart. Newspaper lovelorn columnist who finally surrenders her own heart to persistent editor, Hector “Heck” Bellamy. 6/54-9/54.

September Smith Worth. Fashion designer for a department store chain, an elegant, smart-talking young woman that up and department store middle manager Dennie Worth falls in love with and, in June 1955, marries. 3/55-6/55, 9/19/56-11/57, 1/58-3/58, 6/57, 8/61-11/61, 6/63, (ref 12/63).

Hildy Worth Brent. Hildy Worth is the daughter of the late Walter Worth, Mary’s first cousin, and the rather plain half-sister of the exceptionally attractive Pandora Worth—the two young women having different mothers. Mary comes to stay with Hildy and Pandora after the death of their father. Hildy was a loner and a dreamer as a child, perhaps due to the death of her mother at an early age. Her “genius” at knowing what children will want to play with “has made Angus Archibold a leader in the toy trade.” A rival toy manufacturer, Angus van Dorf, puts his nephew, Jay Brent, up to infiltrate Archibald Toys and woo Hildy over to his company. The two fall in love instead and are soon married. In 1959, Hildy gives birth to their first child. In 1961, Hildy asks Mary to visit when Jay attempts to pressure her into groups to further his business ties. In 1962, Mary comes to stay with Hildy while her husband is on an extended busness trip. In 1964, Hildy askes Mary to come to Jennings to look after her two children while she and Jay go abroad. 12/1/55-3/56, 9/56, 11/59-12/59, 5/5/61-9/61, 11/62-1/63, 6/64, 9/64.

Pandora Worth Clark. Strikingly attractive, dark-haired sister of Hildy Worth. Pandora nobly puts her attraction to Jay Brent aside to see that her sister sees her first real romance to fruition. Angus van Dorf (see above) encourages Pandora to pursue a modeling career as opposed to working at a toy factory. Pandora finds romance all her own when a decorated war hero, Pete Clark, rescues her from falling in front of an oncoming train. They too are soon engaged, but given Clark’s meager finances, she continues modelling. Pandora is briefly referred to what must have been her modeling name, Pandora Price, prior to her marriage. When next seen in 1960, Pandora is often away from home, pursung her successful modeling career. Kippy Clark (his full name is now given as Rudyard Kipling Clark) is struggling as a would-be writer. The solution to their marital woes is presented as Pan giving up her career to raise a family and Kippy taking a construction job so as to make a living wage. 12/3/55-5/56, 9/56, 7/16/60-10/8/60.

Constance Moneta Hansen. Mary’s aristocratic and five time married cousin who puts on airs, interferes with younger relative’s love lives, and has a recurring drinking problem. In her first appearance, Connie is in the unusual role of a romantic rival for a man, Admiral Reef Hansen, whom both she and Mary are interested in. 12/28/58-3/59, 6/59, 3/67, 6/67-8/67, 3/68, 4/70-8/29/70.

Admiral Reef Hansen. A ruggedly handsome retired admiral, Hansen is torn between the comfort of his relationship with Mary and the excitement he feels with her high society, four times married cousin Constance, thereafter known as Connie. Ultimately he marries Connie and the two appear occasionally in the narrative thereafter. 1/59-3/59, 6/67-8/67, 4/70-8/70.

Cassius “Cass” Conrad. Handsome drifter with a questionable past, he gains the affection of attorney Wynne Ashton who is ready to represent him against a robbery charge even though Mary suspects he’s guilty. Cass flees the country rather than drag Wynne down. He return a few months later, claiming to be a race car driver and actually a boxer who’s willing to throw fights. Cass similarly “betrays” Button Bowes, and decides to head back to Jennings, Ohio to turn himself in to authorities. 1/60-4/60, 10/60-12/60.

Button Bowes. Eccentric and occasionally devious young woman who has already appeared in a movie, had a book of her love lyrics published, and been expelled by a progressive college. Mary takes on the role of her informal guardian with the death of Button’s father. who marches to her own drummer, having something of an eccentric beat vibe to her. She is disappointed in a love affair with the shady, but often well intentioned Cass Conrad. 5/60-7/60, 10/60-2/61.

Anne Crawford. The woman Mary describes as her best friend. Anne has a long and largely happy marriage with Frank Crawford, though it must be said she appears somewhat younger and more attractive than her husband. In 1965 and 1966 Anne and Frank are largely reacting to the actions and romances of their only child, Jennifer. In 1968, Anne and Frank celebrate their 25th anniversary and some associated drama. In 1969, Anne calls on her best friend from high school, fading movie star Angel Varden, for a school fundraiser. In 1971 she goes to help her daughter deal with her pregnancy. Anne sustains serious injuries in a car accident in 1973 and deals with Frank’s old high school sweetheart in 1974. The situation is reversed late in 1976 when Anne’s old college sweetheart turns up, millionaire Don Delevan. She disappears with Frank, shortly after his 1978 windfall. 3/65-5/65, 2/66-3/66, 11/68, 2/69-5/69 (Angel Varden), 9/71, 12/71, 2/72, 5/73-8/73, 9/74-12/74, 7/76-3/77, 8/77, 10/77-11/77, 7/78-10/78, 12/78, 2/79.

Frank Crawford. Superintendent of schools in Jennings, Ohio, and husband to Anne. Frank and Anne enjoy regular visits from Mary, who often stays with them while in Jennings for extended stays over a period of 13 years. In 1974, Frank deals with feelings prompted by reconnecting with his old high school sweetheart and now florist, Janella Page Westfield. As school superintendent he deals with the repercussions of a pregnant student named Karen Cooper in 1976 and her return the following year. Frank wins a million dollars on the lottery in 1978. He promptly retires from the school system but remains on the school board. Another high school flame, his “first love” named Donna Fiske returns, posing as a fundraiser, and cheats him out of $25,000. The couple just gradually fade from the narrative thereafter. 3/65-5/65, 2/66-3/66, 11/68, 2/69, 5/69, 9/71-12/71, 2/72?, 5/73-8/73, 9/74-12/74, 7/76-2/77, 8/77-10/77, 7/78-9/78, 12/78-1/79.

Jennifer Crawford. Emotionally expressive only daughter of Frank and Anne Crawford. After a brief foray into romance with a fellow college student named Peter Danch, Jennifer next falls in love and becomes engaged to noted artist Gatewood Cobb while trying to make it in New York City. Later, meeting the other’s parents, especially Gatewood’s folksy and spirited brood, doesn’t go well. The two are married in any case and off for a year in Rome. The couple returns for Jennifer’s parents’ 25th wedding anniversary in 1968. Jennifer gives birth to a son, Byron, in 1971. The happy couple later experiences marital difficulties in 1977 when Jennifer struggles with only being known as Gatewood Cobb’s wife and turns to drink. Woody’s public recognition of her, and her vowing not to drink restores their marital equilibrium. 3/65-5/65, 8/65-11/65, 2/66-3/66, 11/68, 9/71, 12/71, 8/73? (re: her mother’s accident?), 10/77-12/77.

Gatewood “Woody” Cobb. Talented and already famous young artist, Gatewood wins Jennifer Crawford’s heart in New York City with his folksy earnestness. The two are married the following year just before the newlyweds move to Rome for Woody to study art there. Woody calls Mary for help in 1971 when Jennifer becomes pregnant and is seeking her Mom’s support. But his marriage is almost ruined when he slaps Jennifer, who has been frequently drunk from drinking gin. 9/65-10/65, 2/66-3/66, 11/68, 9/71, 12/71, 10/77-12/77.

Anita Gomez. Mexican American young woman who confronts prejudice in her romance with the wealthy Arthur Fincastle and his family’s treatment of their Hispanic servants. 5/69-8/69.

Maggie Millis. Feature writer for Manhattan Diary magazine, an attractive woman with short blonde hair who is missing her right arm. This attribute is not the focus of the story, but rather the complications created when she falls in love with an auto mechanic, Ward Irwin, with an MBA who reveals to her that he went to prison for two years for embezzling money from an earlier job. Maggie accepts this but it takes Mary’s intervention to help her parents to make their peace with the revelation. 8/25/70-12/70, 3/71.

Teena Small. Food editor of Manhattan Diary and somewhat overweight colleague of Maggie Millis. Her lack of experience in romance leads her to be cheated out of money by a handsome conman who shows interest in her. Detective Pat Moses tracks the conman down, falling for Teena even as she gradually loses weight. 12/70-3/71.

Van Douglas. A bearded teacher that Frank Crawford hires with hesitation. School board members are skeptical and, it turns out, with good reason. Douglas uses some school fundraising funds to pay off some debts. Was it the facial hair? 12/71-3/72.

Janet Rhodes. Tough minded head of Rhodes Petal Cosmetics. Frank Crawford notes that running a large company has “given her a high polish… brilliant and hard!” Janet has no time for romance until she hire chemistry teacher “Zip” Ellery away from Crawford’s high school. 6/72-9/72.

Tomas Rodrigo. Greenhouse worker Tomas Rodrigo finds love (and trouble) with the boss’ daughter, Candace Witmer. At one point, Mr. Witmer declares, “I’ve got no use for you and your kind.” Tomas articulates the need to not let himself express anger lest he lose her job. The storyline is shorter than most and may have been cut short due to newspaper editors’ reaction to this narrative. 9/21/72-11/72.

Rose Morris. Yet another one of Mary’s heretofore never mentioned cousins, a youthful looking older woman who credits lots of “work.” Rose finds love with a neighbor’s unwelcome paternal houseguest, Seth. 3/75-6/75.

Peter Barton. A conservative young man is almost rejected by the parents of his new love, modernistic sculptress, Mavis McGrath, when he reveals a past history of mental illness. 9/75-12/75.

Karen Cooper. Senior in school who contemplates dropping out of school due to her becoming pregnant. Karen ultimately gives up her child for adoption. Later, in 1977 and a freshman in college, Karen has a romance with a young man named Stan Szymkowski. Stan, who is a paraplegic, is initially put off by Karen’s disclosure of her history but ultimately proposes. Karen visits Mary in 1982 as a single mother of another child named Chad. She falls in love with an artist named Jeremy Goddard who is impressed with her inner strength and declares himself ready to be a father to Chad. 9/76-12/76, 8/77-10/77, 5/82-12/82.

Rachel Ward. A plastic surgeon, Dr. Rachel Ward’ inital story has echoes of that of another physician who crossed Mary’s path in 1944, Karen Ward. While Karen administered mysterious youth restoring treatments, Rachel’s method is rather more mundane. Both, however, treat a Latina named Lisa de Leon! From there Rachel’s storyline diverges. She briefly treats one of Mary’s new suitors, one Sterling Saxon, and later travels to Florida for a feminist ERA (Equal Rights Amendment) rally. Rachel is married to a rather sexist husband named Stan who doesn’t approve. In Florida, Rachel very seriously entertains having an affair with a younger male reporter covering the rally named Gabe Forrest. Gabe’s going back to his ex-wife, more than any great resolve on Rachel’s part, ends the near affair. 11/77-3/78, 5/78-8/78.

Sterling Saxon. Former stage star and now financial advisor (!), Sterling meets with Mary to discuss her finances. The two quickly fall in love and become engaged, but the marriage is cancelled when Sterling has an opportunity to return to the stage. He has an attractive daughter named Susan who is also an aspiring actress. Susan ends up falling for a handsome theater critic named Sidney Bancroft. Sterling ends up attempting suicide after his comeback apparently fails. 2/78-5/78.

Hamilton Hull. Hull is an advertising executive whose marriage is almost ruined by his infatuation with a younger woman. In the meantime, his wife Sybil bought an apartment complex in Santa Royale, in an effort to establish a living for herself. Once they reconcile, Hamilton arranges to have Mary move to California to manage it. In 1980 he asks Mary to “extend every consideration to a friend, Ian Cameron,” who was moving into the complex on his advice. Ham gives a similar call to Mary in 1981 to see that a former high level employee of his, Kate Berdan gets a nice place. In 1985, while in New York attempting to sell her apartment, Mary and Ham attempt to give fledgling interior designer Jenny Troon a break. In 1986, Ham recommends an old friend, Cal Lucas, retire to Santa Royale with his wife. 6/79-8/79, 3/80, 7/81-8/81, 6/85-3/86, 4/88-5/88, 9/88.

Dr. Ian Cameron. A professor of English literature, Ian can be pompous and a snob but has a generous heart beneath it all. Somewhat overweight, he is white haired and has a beard without a mustache. Ian is fond of swimming in the condo pool, prompting his snarky sister-in-law to refer to him as a beached whale. In 1983, Ian meets Gwen Thorne, the adult daughter he never knew he had. 3/80-x/80 and regularly thereafter to the present.

Victoria “Toby” Cameron. Ian’s much younger second wife, Toby is an attractive blonde-haired woman who paints miniatures. Early on, Toby had to struggle with Ian’s alcoholism. Over the years, she has become Mary’s best friend. In 2017, the two women take a Caribbean cruise together. 3/80-x/80, and regularly thereafter to the present.

Kate Berdan. Hard-nosed businesswoman and former employee of Hamilton Hull moves into a Charterstone apartment while awaiting the construction of her house to be built. In the process Kate falls in love with the architect and engineer, Steve Wales, and the two are married the following year. At the wedding Kate meets her eccentric mother-in-law, the strong willed educator Gert Wales. 7/81-12/81, 10/82-12/82.

Gert Wales. The mother-in-law of Kate Berdan and board member of the Wales Bend College. Mary meets Gert at Kate’s wedding and two women quickly develop a friendship. Strong willed and opinionated, Gert  is romancing physician Carlton Madison, a decidedly younger man who turns out to be scheming behind her back regarding college business. 11/82-5/83.

Gwen Thorne. Gwen first appears as a student hoping to audit one of Ian Cameron’s classes. It is soon revealed that she is the adult daughter that he never knew he had from his brief first marriage to Liz Harworth who subsequently married the wealthy Lord Thorne in England. Ian risks alienating Gwen when he attempts to interfere with her engagement with Jeffry Kenyon, a young man with a secret. 11/83-5/84.

Jenny Troon-Bush. While in New York City, trying to sell her apartment, Mary meets an odd, but creative girl named Jenny Troon who is attending a bogus art institute in the neighborhood. Jenny is a slender whisp of a girl with short black hair. Jenny follows the dictates of her horoscope religiously and believes she has an invisible twin sister. Jenny is romanced by an aspiring young architect named Kevin Bush who brings some much needed stability into her life. Mary enlists Hamilton Hull to give her a job at his advertising firm. In 1988, when a married Jenny Troon-Bush shows up with Kevin in Santa Royale (he has a gig helping build a medical center), Mary learns she was fired by Ham for having had an affair with the art director. The flighty Jenny risks similarly losing her marriage until fellow artist Toby Cameron takes her under her wing. 7/85-1/86, 4/88-9/88.

Carlos Alora. Spanish immigrant who works on the groundskeeping crew at Charterstone but is secretly homeless. After being falsely accused of theft by Edith Windsor, Carlos is offered a permanent job by Mary. Ian Cameron’s somewhat elitist prejudices are revealed in the process. Later, with real anxiety, Carlos welcomes his ambitious niece Theresa for a visit. 12/87-4/88, 8/88, 5/90-12/90, 6/05, others.

Doug Cory. A handsome, blond-haired golf pro, 29-year old Doug gets sucked into bouts of drinking with an alcoholic customer named Tom Canton. When Canton is killed in a drunk driving accident, Doug is guilt ridden given his own drunken driving behavior. No relationship with Jefferson Cory has been indicated. 2/89-8/89.

Theresa Alora. Determined to better herself and her social position, Theresa initially is judgmental that her uncle doesn’t even own a car. “Your uncle isn’t a failure,” Mary gently educates the younger woman, “he is the victim of very unfortunate circumstances.” Theresa, whose English is rapidly improving, is attending college and is torn between fellow students Griff Crawford and the hard-working but poor Esteban “Steve” Calero, who works multiple jobs to help support his family. 6/90-11/90.

“Griff” Crawford. Wealthy nephew of Frank Crawford, Griff works for a company that the newly wealthy Crawford must have invested in. Griff is well intentioned but largely clueless to the depth and meaning of the aspirations of Theresa Alora. 8/90-11/90.

Wilbur Weston. A divorced, syndicated newspaper columnist, Wilbur writes the “Ask Wendy” column. He moved into the Charterstone complex in May 1993, quickly becoming a Platonic friend to his neighbor, Mary. He is often involved in the troubled relationships and conflicts of his daughter Dawn. Wilbur is seduced by Toby Cameron’s manipulative sister, Elizabeth Hoag in 2001. His subsequent fledgling romance with Iris Beedie in 2004 is strained by her drug-addicted son, Tommy. In 2006, Wilbur participates in an intervention with the increasingly erratic Aldo Kelrast. In early 2010, Wilbur struggles with the possibility that Kurt Evans, the son of his college sweetheart, might actually be his child as well. In 2013, Iris breaks off their relationship and Wilbur resumes writing “Ask Wendy” from Mary. In 2014, Wilbur helps Iris’ wayward son get a job. In 2016, Wilbur once again asks Mary to temporarily take over the “Ask Wendy” column again. 4/93-10/93, 10/94-1/95, 8/96-9/96, 7/98-11/98, 5/01-6/02, 5/03-6/03, 10/03, 2/04, 7/04-11/04, 9/06, 7/07-10/07, 11/09-3/10, 1/11-3/11, 5/12-8/12, 9/13-10/13, 2/14-5/14, 6/16, 12/16.

Dawn Weston. Wilbur’s daughter, a college student. Dawn lost a significant amount of weight but remains romantically insecure. She lives with her father in Charterstone and is rather unlucky in life and love. Dawn has a brief romance with Sammy, the grandson of Sam Lyons, in 1996. Dawn is involved with Forrest “Woody” Hills off and on between 2001 and 2004. After painful break-ups with Woody in 2004 and Drew Cory in 2007, Dawn becomes addicted to the internet. In 2012, Dawn goes on an ill-fated cruise with her father and later attracts the attention of one-armed man who is drawn to her due to her resemblance to his late sister. In 2016, Dawn starts seeing her art professor Harlan Jones, drawing suspicious attention from her fellow students. 6/93-10/93, 3/96- 5/96, 8/96-9/96, 7/98-11/98, 5/01-6/02, 5/03-2/04, 7/04-x/04, 1/06, 7/07-10/07, 12/09-3/10, 1/11-3/11, 5/12-12/12, 3/16-6/16, 1/17.

Bill and Sonia Corey. Couple suffering marital adjustments, Sonia having become the high earning breadwinner, and Bill giving up his teaching to become a stay-at-home father to Joshua. Mary helps in watching the youth, who responds to her because of Mary’s resemblance to his grandmother. At the end of the narrative, Bill’s father, a man with a mustache and a money earning scheme appears. No apparent relation to Jefferson Cory. 3/94-9/94.

Peter Whitlock. Arrogant graduate student who moves into Charterstone but then needs to have a roommate to make ends meet. His fiancée, Claire is none too pleased when the “Bill” he writes about turns out to be Billy “Willow” Saxman, a female student. Blond-haired with glasses, Peter disdains mundane social interactions, and puts on academic airs, but is a typical male in that he can’t cook and microwaves all of his frozen dinners. Willow smoothes out many of his rough edges and the two are engaged. They marry after further complications in 1997. 2/95-10/95, 1/97-7/97, 11/98-12/98.

Billy “Willow” Saxman. Tomboy college student from Alaska with progressive ideals, Willow initially clashes with, then rooms with and ultimately falls in live with Peter Whitlock. The two move to Alaska after they become engaged. They come back into Mary’s life in 1997 when the two are in an auto accident and are brought to the hospital where Mary is volunteering. They are ultimately married and Willow has blond twins, Pat and Mike, in 1998. The Whitlocks live on the estate of Minerva Monroe. 4/95-10/95, 1/97-8/97, 9/97, (referenced 2/98), 11/98-12/98, 6/00-7/00, 9/00.

“Straight Arrow” Sam Lyons. Lyons is a crew-cut sporting businessman who views business as the ethical practice of war in which one man seeks the surrender of another. Macho and chauvinistic, Lyons is very fit for being a grandfather and owns a gym. He ultimately falls for a high-powered business woman named Helen Dover. 9/95-8/96.

Dr. Jefferson Cory. Widower and a former chief of staff at a major metropolitan hospital, Jeff Cory retired once his two children, Drew and Adrian, graduated from medical school. Cory initially clashes with Mary when he meets her in 1996 at the hospital where she has begun volunteering. “Do you know who I am?” Dr. Cory roars when Mary treats him like any other hospital visitor. “Have a seat,” Mary caustically advises, “Maybe they will find a relative who can refresh your memory!” With a meeting like that, it was inevitable the two would become romantically involved. The two are described as “almost engaged” in 1997. A pattern is now set with Jeff periodically proposing and Mary demurring, with neither a firm yes or an actual rejection. In June 2006, Dr. Jeff leaves for Cambodia to help repair cleft palette’s in Southeast Asian children. When Jeff falls seriously ill, Mary travels to Vietnam to in January 2007 to take care of him and accompany Jeff back to the states. In June 2008, Jeff and Mary’s relationship almost breaks off over the way Mary’s preoccupation with the troubles of others interferes with their own plans. More recently Jeff is only shown having dinner with Mary at the Bum Boat, their favorite restaurant, in between Mary’s more extended interactions with other people. 10/96-present, 1/14-2/14, 3/15, 10/15, 3/16, 3/17.

Dr. Drew Cory. Jeff’s physician son. In 1997, Drew consults with his father regarding a feisty patient by the name of Minnie Monroe. Drew, something of a ladies man, is deceived in his 2000 romance with Meg Chester, who is secretly . He romances both Dawn Weston and Vera Shields in 2007. Vera’s ultimate rejection of him leaves Drew heartbroken and he readily accepts Mary’s advice to go to Vietnam in 2008 to further his father’s medical mission there in hopes of redeeming himself. When Drew returns from Vietnam in 2011 to attend his sister’s wedding reception (he missed the event itself) he remains in the states and becomes the object of an obsessive female admirer. He appears briefly in 2014, having lunch with Mary. 12/96-2/97, 4/97,1/00-6/00, 6/02-8/02, 10/06-11/06, 2/07, 6/07-10/07, 1/08-3/08, 1/11, 3/11-7/11, 8/14.

Dr. Adrian Cory. Jeff’s physician daughter who wears her black hair in a practical, short cut. In 1998, Adrian delivers Willow Whitlock’s baby. Adrian finds love in 2009 with a police detective, Scott Hewlett, whom she meets when he arrests her conman fiancé, Edward Covice. Hewlett falls hardest first and proposes to Adrian, who only after he is wounded in action decides to accept. Mary assists in her wedding planning which is marred by her best friend who thinks Scott is socially beneath her. 12/96-1/97, 11/98, 3/00-4/00, 10/06-11/06, 2/07, 2/09-5/09, 8/09-12/09, 9/10-1/11.

Minerva “Minnie” Monroe. A gun-touting, tough talking older woman, Monroe comes into Mary’s orbit when Minnie is treated in the emergency room by Drew Cory and he calls his father, Minnie’s regular doctor, while he’s on a date with Mary. Willow and Peter Whitlock come to live at her ranch and their two twins are born there. Minnie next becomes ensnarled with a state attorney named Sylvia Kenwood who challenges her plans for a planned community based on environmental concerns. Minnie is ready to take up her rifle against the tree-huggers, though the two ultimately become fast friends. 4/97-7/97, 11/98-12/98, 6/00-4/01.

Alexa Bennett. Investigative reporter who explores the background of Alan Fulton, a judge running for political office. Fulton turns out to be the father Alexa believed abandoned her and her mother. 7/97-2/98.

Forrest “Woody” Hills. When he first appears, Woody is a graduate student in psychology who pretends to be interested in Liz Hoag at the behest of Dawn Weston to prevent her from making Dawn’s father a fourth husband. After graduating and becoming a professor, Woody and Dawn begin to date but his temper and then his history of severe mental illness ultimately derail their romance. His sister Bev, who helped Dawn and Woody in their first scheme, takes Woody back home to reside in the safety of their wealthy paper mill mogul family. 9/01-6/02, 6/03-2/04.

Connie Harms. Owner of the Chop House, a restaurant that Mary and Jeff frequent, and daughter to Silas Smedlap, a curmudgeon who interferes in her life. 6/02-5/03.

Iris Beedie. Originally a writing student of Cameron’s, Iris is invited by her professor to attend a party at Charterstone and she moves into apartment 2-A shortly thereafter. She soon strikes up a romance with Wilbur Weston, but Tommy, her drug-addicted son causes her and other residents significant stress. Wilbur helps her through these stressful times and two begin dating off and on. She ultimately ends her relationship with Wilbur off panel in 2013 and moves out of Charterstone to be closer to her son who has only recently been released from prison. She returns with her son in 2014. In 2016, Iris and Wilbur break off their relationship when Wilbur decides to leave the country to research a series of stories he’s working on. Iris enjoys a brief, rather chaste romance with a handsome young college student in 2016, but ultimately breaks things off, feeling he is too young for her. 6/04-11/04, 11/05, 10/06-11/06, 3/10, 3/11, 2/14-5/14, 7/16-x/17.

Ella Byrd. 90-year old resident of Charterstone who gives Mary a run for her money as the complex’s best advice giver. Ella appears to have a near psychic sense about people and urges Mary to heed her troubled dreams about Jeff Cory who is then overseas. Ella leaves the complex to her a younger relative. 10/06-12/06, 2/07-3/07.

Vera Shields. Reclusive young woman who comes from wealth but now finds herself needing to work. She is ultimately reconciled with her brother, Von, with whom she had struggled for their father’s affections before he died. Vera is subsequently romanced by Drew Cory, not knowing he has also been dating Dawn Weston. Her ultimate rejection of Drew for a new beau sends the handsome physician into a crisis of confidence and conscience. 3/07-10/07, 1/08-2/08.

Terry Bryson. An attractive cyber crimes specialist, Terry is brought in when Toby becomes a victim of internet crime in 2008. Mary learns she was once a government operative when old lover and former operative, Adam Miller returns, now walking with a cane, hoping to rekindle their romance. The two are soon engaged. 9/08, 3/15-7/15.

Scott Hewlett. Handsome, blond-haired police detective who successfully woos physician Adrian Cory after arresting her then current fiancé for fraud. Scott is badly injured during a drug bust in 2009, but ultimately recovers and marries Adrian. 4/09-5/09, 8/09-11/09, 11/10-1/11.

Dr. Mike Roberts. Handsome, middle-aged psychiatrist and a professional associate of the Cory family. Mary sets him up on a blind date with a financial planner named Jenna Thomas, a new friend living at the Charterstone complex. 6/10-9/10.

John Dill. Dill enjoys baking with Mary and for awhile it seems as if their shared interest might develop into romance. At least Dill hoped it would. He ultimately moves to New York City to pursue his dream of opening a bakery. In 2016, Mary briefly visits his bakery while in New York visiting Olive Taylor. 12/12-2/13, 1/16.

Ken Kensington. A retired Broadway legend who has lost his singing voice, Kensington saves Mary from a mugging while she is falling in love with NYC again and Ken thinks he may be falling in love with her. 11/13-1/14.

Olive Taylor. A shy dark-haired girl with psychic powers visiting from New York City that only Mary seems to take seriously. Olive sees fairies and angels and gets glimpses of future events or omens that a procedure scheduled with a well respected doctor will go poorly. Mary connects with Olive in a way no one else has and beginning in 2015 visits Olive and her family on an extended trip to New York. 6/14-9/14, 10/15-2/16.

Mary Worth Antagonists

Aldo Kelrast. Senior who had lost his wife and becomes obsessed with Mary after she shows him some kindness. A heavy drinker, he dies when he accidentally drives his car off a cliff. Aldo’s sinister intentions were contrasted with his benign appearance which some have said resembled Captain Kangaroo. 7/06-9/06.

Angel Varden. Selfish actress who pursues her own desires often at the cost of others’ and ultimately her own happiness. She and Brick fight for the same man in her final appearance. Years later, in 1969, Mary’s path crosses Angel’s again when it emerges that Anne Crawford is an old classmate of Angel’s. The aging starlet remains as temperamental and self-absorbed as ever. 10/41-1/42, 10/42-1/43, 10/48-2/49, 2/69-5/69.

Angie Omen. A troubled teen that Mary befriends, Angie Omen begins telling lies about Mary, suggesting she is psychologically disturbed and dangerous. Mary finally discovers no such person as Angie Omen exists and her name is actually Angie Anders, a teen-ager falsely found guilty of vehicular homicide. Fearing Mary will notify authorities and have her taken back to reform school, Angie locks her in a wardrobe. Growing short of breath, her grandson Dennie arrives to rescue her in time, having been unconvinced by a telegram “from” his grandmother that she had left town without seeing him. Believing Angie was falsely prosecuted, Mary offers to take Angie back to reform school herself and this time Angie agrees. 3/59-6/59.

Bessie Buxhom. Lounge singer and questionable romantic liaison for Bill Biff. “I like him, if you know what I mean,” Bessie tells Mary. Bessie betrays Mary by trying to sell her secret spiced apple recipe to her Mary’s business rivals (Mary has her own store at this point), but changes her mind at the last minute when she doesn’t like the other businessmen’s attitude. 2/36-9/36.

Caleb Gribble. Uncle to Connie Barclay and corrupt mayor of Boomville. He attempts to cheat Mary by buying farm property from her before Mary can learn the government plans on offering a far larger price for the land to build a new gunpowder plant given the impending war effort. 5/41-8/41.

ChiChi Chambery-Fraise. American con woman from Kansas who poses as a French countess to seduce principal Hal Winston away from school teacher and secret fiancée Sue Carrol and gain access to his wedding nest egg. ChiChi had married a French count for his money, but he subsequently died and she’s burned through what money she inherited. 10/45-x/46. Reprinted in Love Stories of Mary Worth 3 (Harvey).

Colonel Everett Canfield. Con man and card shark who romances Mary. The two are headed towards marriage, but in what was probably an act of kindness, Colonel Canfield leaves her behind. 1/42-3/42.

Corabelle Berkey. Pleasingly plump, grandmotherly figure who offers to clean the apartments of her fellow Charterstone residents at an extremely reasonable price. Only Mary is suspicious of her overly sweet bromides. It emerges that Corabelle is actually a con woman who uses her access to others’ homes to gain access to computer passwords and ultimately to embezzle thousands of dollars from Cameron, Toby, Wilbur and other residents until she is apprehended by the police. The anti-Mary Worth? 9/94-2/95.

Councilman Looter. Politically connected criminal businessman who frames Mary for selling illegal goods and sees her arrested, her apple business appearing to be a cover. Even her former friendship with the mayor is not enough to save her. 2/36-6/36.

Dudley Ford. Self-professed computer genius and ladies’ man, “Dud” seemingly befriends his neighbors in Charterstone, all the while engaging in identity theft and ultimately infecting the military’s computer system with a destructive virus. In the process, Dawn Weston becomes infatuated with his confidence and muscular physique, but is disillusioned when he beats up her boyfriend, Sammy.The war-hating son of a brigadier general, Ford boasts he will never see jail time because he did the military a service by exposing its weaknesses and he will plea bargain in exchange for explaining to them how he did it. 4/98-11/98.

Edith Windsor. Wealthy and extremely snooty woman who looks down on Mary, interferes with daughter Barbara, belittles her son-in-law Marc, and falsely accuses Carlos Alora, Mary’s groundskeeper, of theft. 5/87-1/88.

Edward Covice. Posing as Ted Confey, Covice scams Adrian Cory, becoming engaged to her only to claim financial reversals and a need for some financial assistance. Covice confirms Jeff Cory’s suspicions, turning out to be a bigamist. Dark-haired with a trim mustache, Covice had conned several women in the past. He was ultimately arrested and charged with “fraud, bigamy, forgery, (and) tampering with public records.” 2/09-4/09.

Edwin Penwhistle. Homocidal conman who romances wealthy women, marries them and then kills them for the life insurance policy he takes out on them. Mary almost falls into his trap and is about to marry him when worries that the police are onto him sends him packing. Penwhistle dies of a heart attack waiting for a plane to Havana. Previous aliases included Ezra Partridge and Effram Petworthy. 6/52-9/52.

Elizabeth “Liz” Hoag. Toby’s manipulative, thrice married older sister who regularly insults Cameron’s age and weight. Cameron and Dawn join forces to prevent the dark-haired siren from seducing a clueless Wilbur Weston. 4/01-6/02.

Esme. Self-absorbed torch song performer on a cruise line who attempts to seduce the husband of one of the passengers. x/17-x/17.

Goldie Diggs. Beautiful black-haired con woman and “widow” interested in Bill for a recently acquired fortune. After Bill marries her, Goldie’s husband is revealed to be still alive and in on the plot. 6/37-8/37.

Grant Inwood. Mary’s still handsome college sweetheart, voted “least likely to succeed,” whom Mary happens to meet while on a cruise with Ian and Toby. Mary is falling in love with him all over again, until she discovers he is an ex-convict, on the cruise only to con wealthy women into making investments in bogus ventures. He is tall and slender, distinguished looking with a fetching mustache. 10/88-2/89.

Meg Chester. AKA Second Story Maggie, an English conwoman who attempts to romance and ultimately defraud Drew Cory out of five thousand dollars, all the while successfully robbing wealthy residents of precious jewels. Her “father”, Terry Chester, posing as a butler to a wealthy family, turns out to actually be her husband. 12/99-5/00.

Monty Madison. A controversial radio talk show host, the somewhat plumb, wavy-haired Madison specializes in generating buzz with wild accusations. When Ian Cameron appears on his show to challenge him, Madison distorts an incident from Cameron’s past that makes him appear a traitor to the country. His accusation is so upsetting that it triggers a seizure in the professor and results in Monty’s wife, Jill, leaving him. 12/90-4/91.

Mrs. Hardie. Cruel landlady who arranges for Apple Mary to lose her street corner so she is unable to pay her rent and Hardie can evict her and keep her furniture. 10/34-1/35.

Nora Wolvenson. Ambitious career woman who is willing to have a questionable relationship with her boss and lie about a male rival to get ahead. In general, her behavior strains her friendship with fellow Charterstone resident Mary Worth. Nora ultimately sees the error in her ways and gives up her position as vice president in the company. 1/12-4/12.

Old Man Craftee. A corrupt businessman, Craftee tricks Mary out of her land, which had a rich reserve of oil in it. Craftee’s illegal dealings are exposed, but he is able to escape with Mary’s money. 1/35-2/35, 6/35-10/35.

Sprockett. Old Man Craftee’s secretary who briefly sees to the restoration of Mary’s fortune in hopes of then cheating her out of it as her business manager. When Sprockett tires of Mary’s charitable efforts, he once again joins forces with Craftee, the employer he betrayed. Sprockett is presumed dead in a warehouse fire, after being knocked unconscious in a terrible brawl with Bill Biff. 1/35-9/35, 12/35-2/36.

Tommy Beedie. When Tommy is released from prison after serving time for drug possession, he returns to live with his mother, Iris Beedie, causing trouble for her blossoming romance with Wilbur Weston. Iris is shocked when her son is arrested for dealing meth and nearly causing a fatal overdose in a fellow student. In 2006, Tommy is visited by his estranged mother in prison, where he displays an improved attitude and informs his mother he has found religion. In July 2013, Wilbur informs Mary that Tommy has been released from prison and his mother has moved out of Santa Royale to be closer to his halfway house. Mother and son return to Charterstone in 2014 and Wilbur helps Tommy find a job. With a new girlfriend, it looks like things are going well for Tommy, but in 2016 his girlfriend breaks up with him and Tommy injures his back moving some boxes when they move into a larger apartment. An addiction to pain meds soon results with Tommy conning various physicians and pharmacies in pursuit of his addiction.  8/04-11/04, 11/06, (ref 7/13), 2/14-5/14, 7/16-x/16.

Mark Carlson-Ghost 

Active: 10/29/1934-2017+

Writers:  Martha Orr, Alan Saunders, John Saunders, Karen Moy

Artists: Martha Orr, Kenneth Ernst, Joe Giella, June Brigman

Comic Book Reprints of “Apple” Mary (3-4 pages per issue):

Famous Funnies 20-26 (Eastern).

Popular Comics 9-28, Crackajack Funnies 1-25 (Dell).

Comic Book Reprints of Mary Worth:

Romantic Picture Novelettes 1 (Magazine Enterprises).

Love Stories of Mary Worth 1-5, Harvey Hits 55, (as back-up feature) Green Hornet 39-41, Black Cat 14-17, 19 (Harvey).

Mary Worth 1 (Argo)

Electronic version of these comic books can be found at the Digital Comics Museum by entering the name of the comic book in the search box at the top of the home page or under the publisher that I’ve listed in parentheses. The Digital Comics Museum is a wonderful website I heartily recommend visiting.

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2 Responses to The Many Lives of Mary Worth

    • Thanks so much! It has been a real effort over the last few years. I research one comic strip until I get a little burnt out and then work on another. Judge Parker is almost done. Loved your cut and paste message from Dawn’s overly interested co-worker. Very funny! If anyone else is reading this, Wanders is the blogger creator of , a loving if mildly snarky tribute to and commentary on the current Mary Worth. If you’re interested in Mary Worth’s past, sample this page. But if you’re interested in following the old girl’s present, there’s no better place to do it than Wander’s website! Mark

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