RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif., April 3 (UPI) -- "General Hospital" producer Gloria Monty, who turned the ABC soap into a pop phenomenon in the late 1970s, has died in California at age 84.
Monty died of cancer Thursday at her home in Rancho Mirage, Calif., The Los Angeles Times reported Monday.
CBS hired in 1954 her to direct the pilot for the "Secret Storm" and she ended up staying there as producer/director for 14 years, the Times said. She also produced "Bright Promise" for CBS before moving to ABC in 1972.
In 1978, Monty was given 13 weeks to save ABC's foundering "General Hospital." She added action, adventure, science fiction and probably the most controversial soap opera story line ever -- the romance and eventual marriage of Laura Webber and her rapist, Luke Spencer.
An estimated 30 million people watched the couple's 1981 wedding, a record for daytime television, the Times said. Monty pushed "General Hospital" to the No. 1 daytime soap and went on to win two Emmy Awards. She left the show in 1987, returned in 1990 and retired for good in 1992.
Her husband of 39 years died in 1991 and she is survived by her sister, Norma, who served as head writer for "General Hospital."