|Daisy Murdoch Cortlandt|
|Gillian Spencer as Daisy Murdoch Cortlandt|
|All My Children|
|Portrayed by||Gillian Spencer|
|Current status||Former; Recurring|
|Duration||1980-87, 1989-90, 1995-96, 2010|
Daisy Murdoch Cortlandt is a fictional character from the ABC soap opera, All My Children, portrayed by Gillian Spencer.
Daisy Murdoch left Palmer Cortlandt years ago after she was caught in a sordid affair with a younger lover. Her daughter, Nina Cortlandt, was but a child. Though she was banished from the Cortlandt home, her mother Myra Murdoch was not. Myra promised to watch over Nina in the guise of her maid until Daisy would one day return. Myra called upon Daisy in 1980 to protect Nina from Palmer’s plots to keep her and Cliff Warner apart. Palmer had told Nina that Daisy had died after giving birth to her. The fear of dying in childbirth kept Nina from accepting Cliff’s proposal. Myra arranged for Daisy to arrive in the middle of a staged séance to sway her daughter’s doubts. Daisy decided to make Pine Valley home. She settled into the stable house on the Cortlandt grounds. She befriended Nina under the guise of a woman named Monique Jonvil. She was sure to assure that Palmer never saw her. To pass her time, she began an affair with Palmer’s employee, Sean Cudahy.
Daisy’s ruse was almost compromised by Sean when he discovered cancelled checks made out to Daisy Cortlandt in Palmer’s files. She was able to convince him not to pursue his lead. Little did she know her charade was coming to an end. Cliff was arrested for Sybil Thorne’s murder. Daisy knew that Sean had seen Sybil the night of her death. In order to testify on the stand and exonerate Cliff, Daisy had to admit to her true identity. When Nina looked at Monique as her mother for the first time, she fainted. Back at Cortlandt Manor, Daisy looked to make a quick run from town. But Palmer had other plans. He waited outside the carriage home with his Dobermans ready to rip her apart limb by limb. Palmer went missing in Center City, giving Daisy the opportunity to bond with the daughter she had neglected for so long. When Palmer was found alive, he tried to rekindle their flame, but Daisy did not want to be the other woman in his marriage to Donna Cortlandt.
Daisy and Myra and wondered about Donna Cortlandt’s recent declaration that she was with child, Palmer’s child. Mother and daughter knew that Palmer was sterile. Daisy was determined to find out who the real father actually was. Palmer’s disgust over Donna’s pregnancy fueled his passion for Daisy. They began a secret affair in his own home. But Daisy would only do so under her own conditions. Though Donna was the current Mrs. Cortlandt, Daisy was very much the lady of the house. Daisy planned Pine Valley’s gala of the year to commemorate Nina and Cliff’s second anniversary. Ray Gardner had weaseled his way onto her wait staff. The gala proved to be Pine Valley’s biggest disaster when Ray’s identity was revealed before he tried to kidnap Joey Martin, and Palmer made a failed attempt to shoot Chuck Tyler, the man who fathered Donna’s son.
Daisy pushed Palmer’s patience to the limits. In a romantic trip to New York, Daisy flirted openly with Palmer’s rival, Lars Bogard. Palmer left her at the restaurant in retaliation. But, his unhappy marriage did not keep them apart long. As long as Palmer was married to Donna, Daisy had the upper hand. Daisy’s self-confidence clouded her judgment. She accidentally spilled the truth about Johnny Cortlandt’s paternity to Phoebe Wallingford. Phoebe revealed the truth to Donna who in turn left Palmer. With Donna out of Cortlandt Manor, Palmer and Daisy reunited. Palmer professed his love, and they remarried.
Palmer and Daisy began to pick off where they left off years ago. They were very much a happy couple, even if there were no plans to marry. Daisy worried too much about Nina’s welfare. Without Cliff, she was wondered around Cortlandt Manor aimlessly. She fell victim to the charms of a conman healer named Zach Grayson on Locust Street. She went to confront the opportunists, but too was mesmerized by his smooth talk. After sleeping with Zach, Daisy was filled with regret. She knew this act of infidelity would ruin any chance Daisy had with Palmer. Palmer’s past as a impoverished teenager in Pigeon’s Hallow was revealed when Adam Chandler moved in next to Cortlandt Manor. Palmer welcomed his illegitimate son, Ross Chandler into his life. This carried its own baggage when Palmer invited Ross’ ex-wife Cynthia Preston to live at Cortlandt Manor. Daisy felt threatened by Cynthia and all the attention Palmer was showering on her and her son, Andrew Preston.
Daisy was convinced that she could show Cynthia’s true nature to Palmer. She began to entrap Cynthia in compromising situations. But, Cynthia always seemed to be able to stay one step ahead of her. Daisy’s first priority was always to protect Nina. Zach had drugged Nina and taken incriminating photos of them together in bed. Daisy confronted Zach. She knew if Cliff ever saw the photos, any hopes of their reconciliation would be lost. But Zach had his own agenda. He threatened to reveal Daisy’s infidelity to Palmer if she tried to intervene with his blackmail scheme. One night, Daisy went to Zach’s apartment to finally settle their conflict. But, Zach had other plans, and drugged her. When Daisy awoke, she was holding a bloody knife over Zach’s dead body. Daisy was taken into custody. In her most trying of times, she would loose Palmer to Cynthia. Daisy moved back into the carriage house and prayed for a miracle to save her. That miracle became evident when Donna began to have flashbacks to the night of the murder. The real killer turned out to be Marian Colby.
Nina had suffered a mental breakdown as a result of the stress from the Zach Grayson murder trial. When she was released from the institution, Daisy recognized Nina’s mind was still very fragile. Daisy thought it was best to take her away from Pine Valley. She took Nina out on a long cruise. Cliff and Nina reunited. For this special occasion, Daisy and Palmer put their animosity aside and arranged for a lavish wedding at the Tavern on the Green.
Daisy was not going to sit idle by as Palmer seduced his newest wife, Natalie Hunter. Just as quietly as she came to Pine Valley, Daisy slipped out before anyone would notice.
Daisy surprised the Cortlandts with an appearance at Cliff and Nina’s garden wedding. After the ceremony, Palmer tried to make a pass at her. Daisy made it clear she had moved on, and he needed to too. After wishing her daughter luck in her new life, she departed again for life in France.
Daisy’s latest visit to Pine Valley proved to be a mission of mercy. Daisy did not like how she had left things with Palmer. She wanted to make sure that he was happy. She knew Opal Gardner had fallen for Palmer, but he refused to give her the time of day based on her looks. Daisy began to transform Opal into a lady of society. Daisy accomplished her goal when Opal premiered her new demure look at the University Ball. Just like before, Daisy silently slipped out of Pine Valley.
Daisy came to Pine Valley to attend the Martin family housewarming party. She made a stop at Cortlandt Manor to see how Opal and Palmer were doing. She caught Palmer in a heated argument with another woman. Daisy confronted Palmer who admitted he had cheated on Opal with Janet Green. Daisy begged Palmer to admit his infidelity to Opal. Before they could resolve the issue, Nina arrived. They had a small reunion at the Martin home. Palmer called on Daisy when he admitted his affair to Opal. Opal began seeing Seabone Hunkle, Palmer’s former brother-in-law. Daisy was able to reunite man and wife.
Daisy returned in 2010 to attend the funeral of the late Palmer Cortlandt.