Lee Lawson, 'Guiding Light' Star, Dead at 80

Lee Lawson

The beloved soap star had cancer and battled COVID-19, her daughter announced on Facebook.

Lee Lawson, best known for her near-decade long role on the CBS soap opera Guiding Light, has died. She was 80.

Lawson's daughter, Leslie Bova, took to Facebook and shared the devastating news, saying her mother died on May 22. She added that Lawson also had cancer and COVID-19 prior to her death. "Thank you for having Chris, Me & Gaby so that we could have Gianna, Wilder & Sterling," Bova wrote in her Facebook post on Tuesday. "You fought Cancer & COVID-19 like a champ. Rest, you brilliant, woman. Thank you, mom. R.I.P."

Lawson made her TV debut on CBS's Love of Life in 1965 and later appeared on ABC's One Life to Live in 1979. But her role as Bea Reardon -- the owner and operator of the 7th Street boarding house -- on Guiding Light from 1981 to 1990 is the role she was best known for.

Guiding Light aired on CBS for 57 years, from 1952 to 2009. There was also a 19-year broadcast on radio overlap between 1937 to 1956, giving the soap a 72-year run on radio and TV to make it the second longest-running drama in American TV history.

Lawson also appeared on Broadway, making her debut in 1965 in the comedy Cactus Flower. She also appeared in Agatha Sue, I Love You and My Daughter, Your Son.