Charles Santore, Soap: Richard Mulligan and Cathryn Damon

Watercolor and colored pencil on paper
Credit Line
Woodmere Art Museum: Gift of the Artist, 2017
12 1/2 x 17 3/4 in.

Soap was an unconventional sitcom that aired in the evenings on ABC from 1977 to 1981. A satire of outlandish daytime soap operas, it focused on two dysfunctional families, the upper class Tates and the working class Campbells. Santore depicts Cathryn Damon (1930–1987) as Mary Campbell and Richard Mulligan (1932–2000) as her husband, Burt. Both actors won Emmys in 1980 for their performances in the series.

Often controversial for addressing subjects such as homosexuality, race, social class, adultery, impotence, and sexual harassment, the series had a wide following and was praised by TV Guide for the “ heap of talent” in its cast and its nontraditional comedy. It has also been described as “arguably one of the most creative efforts by network television before or after” by the Museum of Broadcast Communications.

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