Megan Gordon was the daughter that a teenaged Viki Lord and Roger Gordon had conceived in the underground city of Eterna on ONE LIFE TO LIVE. Sadly, that was only the start of the young woman’s fractured fairy tale. Not only was she dumped by a prince, but she was also erroneously tried for the murder of Michael Grande. And the twist that fate presented Megan with in 1991 turned out to be truly worthy of FRATERNITY ROW, the soap opera that she’d first come to Llanview to star in.
Soon after Megan married hunky ex-con Jake Harrison, he took a job as an arms dealer and left town on business. It was then that she was diagnosed with lupus. “I knew that I was going to leave the show, and I was not afraid of dying on camera,” portrayer Jessica Tuck, who more recently played GENERAL HOSPITAL’s Cassandra, admitted to Soaps In Depth. “I felt like they could use it as an opportunity to inform people about an autoimmune disease that wasn’t necessarily understood.”
Unfortunately, Megan didn’t follow precautions and wound up needing a kidney from Viki. “There was a mother/daughter dynamic at play there,” recalled Tuck, adding that the show “addressed the question of, ‘How does that get pushed on when one of the people in the dynamic is facing a deadly situation?’”
Sadly, the transplant didn’t take, and Jake made it back home to find Megan near death. “I remember saying, ‘Not only do I not want makeup, but I actually want you to put dark circles under my eyes, and I didn’t wash my hair,” Tuck shared. “I didn’t want to show a lip-gloss version of what it means to be at end of life, because I felt that would be disrespectful to those [viewers] who actually were suffering.”
Together, the lovers remembered their wedding day and the tree they’d planted outside the church. Jake had it transplanted to the hospital where he decorated it with Valentine’s Day hearts, and carried Megan to a window to see. “At every turn, it was expected that ‘Oh, this is what’s going to save her.’ Then ‘Oh God, this is what’s going to save her,’” Tuck said. “And the fact that Megan died in Jake’s arms… There was a finality to it. People were like ‘What?!?’”
Tuck remains proud of the impact that the story had and especially of the message it imparted. “I feel that the writers were good about clarifying that Megan wasn’t dying from lupus,” the actress maintains. “She got lupus and didn’t properly take care of herself, and that eventually led to her death.”
For more on what your favorite OLTL stars are up to now, keep reading the ABC edition of Soaps In Depth magazine.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine