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All My Children Star James Mitchell Dead at 89

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James Mitchell, the stage and screen actor best known for playing tycoon Palmer Cortlandt for 30 years on the daytime soap opera All My Children, died Friday in Los Angeles. He was 89.

The actor, who was survived by his longtime partner Albert Wolsky, retired from All My Children in 2009 but returned for a brief appearance earlier this month on the show's 40th anniversary special. Mitchell died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, complicated by pneumonia, according to a rep for Disney.

Mitchell began his career as a dancer in Broadway musicals, including Brigadoon, Paint Your Wagon, and Carousel. In addition to his work on All My Children, Mitchell taught drama and movement for actors at both Yale University and Drake University in Des Moines.

Mitchell received seven Daytime Emmy nominations for his work on All My Children. Though Mitchell never publicly talked about being gay, his relationship with Wolsky was acknowledged and discussed on several soap blogs.

His character on All My Children was one of the first to accept Erica Kane's daughter Bianca when she came out as a lesbian. An earlier story line on the show had Cortlandt befriending a gay teen.

Wolsky is a two-time Academy Award-winning costume designer, for the films All That Jazz and Bugsy. Most recently he was nominated for his work on the Julie Taymor film Across the Universe.

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