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Longest Running Soap Opera Ever Inspired by Unitarian Minister


Who Knew it?  The original character on “The Guiding Light,” the longest running television drama ever, was modeled on Chicago’s famous Unitarian Minister, the Rev. Preston Bradley (1888-1983).  The original radio series was developed and written by Irna Phillips (1901-1973), an enormously successful radio actress turned writer. 

Bradley, Preston (1888-1983)

By Patrick Murfin

No mid-twentieth-century Unitarian minister, save perhaps A. Powell Davies, reached more hearts and minds than did Preston Bradley (1888-1983). Yet outside of Chicago, Bradley has been largely forgotten when he is not scorned.

Years ago, when the list was being compiled for eventual inclusion in the Dictionary of Unitarian Universalist Biography, I noted his name was omitted.…