Frances Reid, 95, who was the last surviving original cast member of "Days of Our Lives" and portrayed the soap opera's matriarch, Alice Horton, for 42 years, died Wednesday.

In announcing her death, NBC called Reid "a true icon of the daytime genre."

Texas-born Reid was a veteran of Broadway when she debuted in the premiere of "Days" on Nov. 8, 1965.

Familiar with the demands of daily, live television after appearing on "As the World Turns" and "The Edge of Night," Reid was hesitant to take the part. But roles for women over 40 were hard to come by, so she finally decided to accept the role, according to an NBC biography.

Alice was known to "Days" aficionados for her spirited, loving nature, her sound counsel, her family values, her annual Christmas tree decorating party and her homemade doughnuts.

This good-citizen résumé didn't preclude her from taking part in some wacky plots, however. At one point she helped an accused killer escape from jail (her scheme involved drugged doughnuts). At another point she was presumed murdered -- choked to death, also with doughnuts -- only to be resurrected, in true soap fashion.