1 9 7 7 – 1 9 7 8 (USA)
301 x episodes
Set in the affluent (fictional) Chicago suburb of Point Clair and revolving around two families – the Cushings and their new neighbours, the Saxtons – this daytime soap from NBC aired weekdays at 11.30 am. The Cushings were old-line rich while the Saxtons were middle-class and on the way up.
Successful stockbroker Richard Cushing (Ron Randell) and his wife Edith (Nancy Marchand (pictured) initially, and then Laurinda Barrett) had two children, 25-year-old Austin (Rod Arrants) – who had a drinking problem – and 22-year-old Megan (Patricia Estrin originally, and then Darlene Parks), a vital sort who was taking journalism courses after graduating from college and was unhappily engaged to wealthy and stuffy Desmond Hamilton (David Knapp), out of a sense of duty to her family.
Edith’s mother, Sophia Slocum (Margaret Barker), also lived with them. It was Sophia who counseled Megan to marry for love, and not for money or societal propriety, the way she and Edith had. These words of advice from Sophia helped Megan to break off her unhappy engagement.
The Saxtons, more down to earth, consisted of Lester (John Heffernan and then Albert Stratton), a former alcoholic who was a warehouse manager for an electronics firm; his easy-going wife Josie (former NBC weather girl Pat Englund); and their five children: 27-year-old Eleanor (Flora Plumb) who was married to wealthy attorney George Kimball (Stephen Joyce); 24-year-old professional photographer Rhett (played in succession by Bob Purvey, David Ramsey and Tom Happer); 22-year-old Jason (Richard Backus); 18-year-old Bentley (Abbott Alexander), and 15-year-old Tessa (played by Vicky Dawson and Breon Gorman).
Also living with the Saxtons was their cousin Amy Gifford (Christine Jones) – a character moved across from Another World – who was smitten with Austin Cushing and he with her.
Austin turned to Lester Saxton (pictured) for guidance with his struggle with alcohol, and with Lester’s support and help, Austin stayed off the booze and faced his problems in Point Clair.
Edith Cushing looked down on the newcomers and would prefer not to have any contact, while the young members of the two families became friends
Rhett Saxton had been engaged to longtime girlfriend, Connie Ferguson (Susan Foster, Cynthia Bostick) until he fell in love with and eventually married his neighbor Megan Cushing.
Also appearing were the Brewster family, who had sold the Saxtons their home: Widowed mother Viola (Patricia Barry) and her daughter, Laurie (Julia MacKenzie).
The series – produced in the NBC studios in Brooklyn, New York – was renamed For Richer, For Poorer halfway through its run and left the air abruptly in 1978 for want of viewers.
Rod Arrants moved almost immediately to CBS for Search For Tomorrow as wheeler-dealer millionaire Travis Tourneur Sentell. Arrants also married his on-screen sister, actress Patricia Estrin.
Nancy Marchand (1)
Laurinda Barrett (2)
Patricia Estrin (1)
Darlene Parks (2)
John Heffernan (1)
Albert Stratton (2)
Eleanor Saxton Kimball
Bob Purvey (1)
David Ramsey (2)
Tom Happer (3)
Vicky Dawson (1)
Breon Gorman (2)
Susan Foster (1)
Cynthia Bostick (2)