1 Million Fans and Followers:      
Search Jobs | Submit News
Thursday, January 23, 2020

71-Year Old Black Actress Who Made Soap Opera History in the 1980’s Refuses to Retire

Mariann Aalda, soap opera actress and pioneer

Nationwide — Meet Mariann Aalda, who in the early 1980’s made history as one of the first African American actresses to play a professional role as a criminal defense attorney in a major daytime television soap opera. She starred as DiDi Bannister in ABC’s Edge of Night, which at the time was watched by more than 10 million viewers daily. Now at 71-years old, she is still acting… and she’s on a mission to fight ageism and age discrimination.

In her recently released TEDx talk, Ageism Is a Bully…Stand Up to It!, Aalda equates vanquishing ageism with surmounting other forms of discrimination.

Watch Her Powerful TEDx Talk:

Aalda comments, “Like with racism and sexism, it’s going to take time, effort and a change of consciousness to totally eliminate ageism, but I think Black women are uniquely equipped to handle it because we’ve already learned how to navigate our way around the other two. In all words that end in ‘ism,’ the I-S-M stands for ‘I Subscribe Mentally,’ but we know how to cancel those subscriptions.”

Citing her drive to change the paradigm on women and aging, AARP has recognized Aalda twice as an Age Disruptor, including a 2017 AARP Studios mini-documentary about her reinvention as a standup comic performance artist.


About Marian Aalda

Aside from starring in Edge of Night from 1981 to 1984, her primetime success followed in sitcoms like Designing Women, Family Matters and The Royal Family, and on the big screen as rapper Kid’s clueless mom in the cult comedy, Class Act. But when roles became scarcer as she got older, she redirected her natural actor’s curiosity about human behavior and motivation into becoming a hypnotherapist.

Ironically, the positive suggestions she gave her clients prompted Aalda to return to her roots of live performing to become a positive change agent for older women – particularly women of color — who she saw as getting short shrift in TV and film.

Her life-affirming, solo comedy show, Gettin’ Old Is a B****…But I’m Gonna Wrestle That B**** to the Ground! broke a box-office record at the 2019 National Black Theatre Festival which attracts 60,000 visitors to Winston-Salem, NC, every other year.


Kathy Coley