Ellen Holly (born January 16, 1931) is an American actress.
A life member of The Actors Studio, Holly began her career on stage appearing in the Broadway productions of Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright and A Hand Is on the Gate, then embarked on a television and film career. She guest-starred on Sam Benedict and The Nurses as well as landed the role of actress-turned-Judge Carla Gray on One Life to Live, a role she played from 1968 to 1980 and again from 1983 to 1985.
Holly came to the attention of Agnes Nixon, the creator of One Life to Live, after writing a letter to the editor of The New York Times about what it was like to be a light-skinned African American. Nixon created the role of Carla and offered Holly a role on her show.
When Holly began on One Life to Live in October 1968, her African-American heritage was not publicized as part of the storyline; her character, named Carla Benari, was a touring actress of apparently Italian-American heritage. Carla and white physician Dr. Jim Craig fell in love and became engaged, but she was falling for an African-American doctor. When the two kissed onscreen, it was reported that the switchboards at ABC were busy by fans who thought that the show had shown an African-American and white person kissing. The fact that Carla was the African-American Clara Grey posing as white was revealed when Sadie Grey, played by Lillian Hayman, was identified as her mother. Sadie convinced her daughter to embrace her heritage and tell the truth. –Wikipedia
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