As the World Turns and One Life to Live actress Marnie Schulenburg has died due to complications from stage 4 inflammatory breast cancer. She died on May 17 in Bloomfield, New Jersey, per The Hollywood Reporter. She was just 37 years old. While she was known for being a soap star, Marnie had a resume and life that reached far beyond the roles she played on the two popular series. Learn more about the late actress below.
1. Marnie was a wife and mother
Marnie married Blue Bloods actor Zack Robidas in 2013 and they welcomed a daughter, Coda, together in December 2019. Marnie was diagnosed with breast cancer just five months after giving birth to Coda. In a Facebook post following her death, Zack pleaded with people to refrain from saying, “Marnie lost her battle to cancer,” per Variety. “It’s simply not true,” he continued. “I watched her kick cancer’s ass everyday since diagnosis. She is incredible. We chose to attack her diagnosis with blind optimism. We only talked about the future and continued moving forward. I don’t know if this was right but it’s all we knew how to do.”
2. Marnie was always an actress
The Cape Cod, Massachusetts native had a deep passion for acting and her talents landed her a televised role almost immediately out of college, an enviable feat for many aspiring actors. She graduated from Pennsylvania’s DeSales University with a theater degree in 2006, according to The Hollywood Reporter, and she first appeared as Alison Stewart on As the World Turns in 2007. She appeared in over 300 episodes until the soap ended in 2010, per IMDb. In addition to As the World Turns and the one-season reboot of One Life to Live, she is known for staring in Tainted Dreams between 2014 and 2017. Other shows she notably acted in include Army Wives, Blue Bloods, The Good Fight, and City on a Hill.
3. Being a mother was everything to Marnie
While acting was certainly her professional passion, Marnie absolutely adored motherhood. After a stay in the hospital, Marnie celebrated Mother’s Day 2022 the best way she could considering her worsening condition. And in a raw Instagram post, she admitted the guilt she felt for not being able to fully be herself around her toddler. “I know that me being here for her is the best gift I can give her, but right now, it feels like settling since she’s getting a half-life version of myself,” she wrote. “My mother showed up 100 percent all day every day for me growing up, or at least it seemed that way. I want to give Coda the same, but I must be kind to myself and remember that nothing is permanent.”
She expressed the same guilt when she wasn’t able to breastfeed Coda when she was a newborn due to her worsening symptoms from mastitis, which she was diagnosed with before her breast cancer was discovered (she previously said in a written post for SheKnows Soaps that she was not sure if she ever had mastitis or if her breast pain, swelling, and other symptoms were solely caused by the undetected cancer). “I felt like I had utterly failed at the one thing a mother was supposed to be able to do for her child. The rejection was heartbreaking for me,” she recalled of her daughter refusing to drink from her breast. “I didn’t know that there is the belief that cancer affects the way your breast milk tastes leading your child to no longer wanting it. I didn’t know that there was something poisoning me even though my daughter did. I just felt like a failure, and the devastation was all-consuming,” she added.
4. Marnie tried to raise awareness about inflammatory breast cancer
Marnie’s husband Zach hosts a podcast called The Pod Spotter, through which he highlights lesser-known or up-and-coming podcasts. He featured the Bodies podcast in one episode, which allowed Marnie to raise awareness about inflammatory breast cancer. In an Instagram post highlighting the particular episode, Marnie raved about Bodies for “providing a voice and space for conversations about women’s health.” She then opened up about her struggles with her diagnosis. “Although there is no real clear underlying issue why I developed IBC there are several small similarities among those diagnosed specifically in postpartum, pre-menopausal women,” she stated. “Huge hormonal shifts in the body like being on birth control for 17 years then becoming pregnant 4 months later is one of those commonalities. Grateful to shows like these for providing a much needed platform.”
5. Marnie loved spending time outdoors
Whether she was outside teaching yoga classes (she taught her first-ever while pregnant!) or hiking a volcano, Marnie seemed to find a lot of peace in nature. She frequently posted nature shots on her Instagram feed and often hiked with her husband.