Wild and eccentric Opal Gardner had seen a lot in her life, but nothing
could have prepared her for the hell that was marriage to Ray Gardner.
Opal grew thick skin, which sometimes caused her to neglect those she
loved the most. There was no one she loved more than her children: Jenny
The Martin family in Pine Valley had adopted Tad. Down on her luck, Opal
took Jenny to Pine Valley in search of her son. Tad had run away from
the Martin home. But. Joe and Ruth Martin still welcomed their son’s
Opal wanted to open her own salon, the Glamorama. In the meantime she
needed to augment her dwindling funds. She feigned a heart condition so
as to force Jenny into working. Jenny got her a job at a sleazy men’s
Opal knew something was amiss at the Miss Teen Pine Valley contest. The
judges had all acted very favorably towards Jenny, but Liza Colby was
proclaimed the winner. She polled each judges individually, and realized
that Jenny was in fact the real winner. Liza had manipulated the contest
to make it seem like she had won. Opal warned Liza to stop trying to make
life hard for Jenny or she would get what was coming to her.
Opal wrongfully blamed Jenny for the end of relationship with Sam. Sam
was obsessed with Jenny. Opal got her revenge on Sam by dying his latest
date's hair blue.
Opal was now working for Phoebe Wallingford as her maid. Myrtle got Opal
the job by blackmailing Phoebe's husband, Langley Wallingford. But she
was doing more than just cleaning the English Estate. She had began an
affair with Langley. Opal told Langley their affair was going to cease
unless he divorced Phoebe. But, Langley was not about to part ways with
his new life, and Phoebe’s money. Opal saw a golden opportunity
and began to blackmail her one time lover. She accumulated enough money
from Langley to set up the Glamoramma.
When Jenny left for New York to pursue a modeling career, Opal found herself
under staffed. She was surprised to find Ray back on her doorstep. He
had managed an early parole. But Opal wanted nothing to do with her ex-husband.
Ray was too powerful for Opal and managed to keep her silent while he
lived in the Glamoramma’s back room. Opal had no idea he was creating
a bomb that he intended to kill all the Martins with. His plan went awry
when he tried to disarm it in the last minute learning Jenny was in the
house too. Opal did not waste any time mourning Ray.
1983: Opal and the Martins welcomed Tad home to Pine
Valley, but Opal knew something was amiss. She recognized an oppurtunist
when she saw one. Opal worked hard to keep one step ahead of Tad and his
current plot. This caused much tension between she and Ruth, who took
on a more compassionate approach to Tad’s shenanigans. Ruth was
content as long as Tad remained enrolled at Pine Valley University. Opal
made Tad work for his keep at the Glamoramma.
Opal met Ralph Purdy through a personal ad. They had a whirlwind courtship
and married. Opal was very protective of Ralph. Ralph wanted to show Opal
the world. Opal packed her bags and left Pine Valley for Europe.
Opal returned from her around the world adventure just in time for Tad’s
wedding to southern belle Dixie Cooney. Opal had left Ralph in the Australian
outback and decided that she had an itch to return to Pine Valley. Palmer
Corltandt facilitated the return, hoping she would distract Tad long enough
so that he could plan a way to turn Dixie against him. Tad wished his
mother had kept her distance. At the wedding, she was sure to catch Dixie’s
bouquet. Opal was never one to stay single for very long, especially in
a town of so many eligible and wealthy men.
Opal set her sites on Palmer Cortlandt. But, even Opal knew he was out
of her league. She was content to date his lackies, including Sean Cudahy
and Palmer’s old cellmate, Stan Ulatowski. Daisy Murdoch noticed
Opal admiring her ex-husband. She recognized that Opal’s intentions
were pure. She approached Opal with a proposition. She would help Opal
transform herself into a woman of society. The only catch was that Palmer
was to never know of Daisy’s involvement.
At the University Ball, Opal and Palmer caught eyes from across the room.
Opal could not believe it, Palmer was approaching her for a dance. Palmer
and Opal’s courtship was brief. She quickly became the newest Mrs.
Palmer wanted Opal to help him break up Tad and Dixie. Opal acquiesced.
It did not take much to cause their marriage to crumble. Opal would soon
regret her actions. In a startling turn of events, Tad fell victim to
a bomb set by Billy Clyde Tuggle. Opal could not bear the loss of another
child. Jenny had died while she was married to Ralph. She held on to hope
for as long as she could. Ruth lashed out against Palmer and made her
come to terms with Tad’s death. Dixie and Opal bonded as a result
of their loss.
When Palmer was found poisoned in Cortlandt Manor, Opal became the prime
suspect. It did not help that she was found with a vile of the poison,
CRS-17. Opal made her plea to Palmer, but it fell on deaf ears. Opal left
Stan was revealed to be the real culprit behind the poisoning. Opal refused
to return to Palmer after his doubts during the ordeal. Daisy returned
to Pine Valley. When it looked like Palmer and Daisy were ready to reunite,
Opal admitted her feeling to Palmer. Their marriage was back on track.
1992: After the near end to their marriage the year before,
Opal was happy to announce that she was pregnant with Palmer’s son.
Only, Palmer still believed he was sterile. Opal was insulted when he
insisted on a paternity test after the child’s birth. Opal had been
faithful to her husband.
On Christmas Eve, Peter Cortlandt, was born in the middle of the Cortlandt
living room. Palmer had to deliver his own son after the roadways shut
down because of snow. A DNA test would support Opal’s claim that
Petey was in fact Palmer’s son.
Opal was reunited with Tad. Just as Opal had suspected all along, Tad
survived his fall off the bridge. He had been living for two years as
an amnesiac in the Napa Valley.
1994: Palmer lost control of Cortlandt Electronics. So,
he and Opal went into business together to make ends meet. Opal’s
secret fried chicken recipe made the Cluck-Cluck Chicken Shack a rousing
success. Behind Opal’s back, Palmer sold the franchise for capital
to buy back Cortlandt Electronics. Opal felt betrayed because the recipe
was always meant to stay in the family.
Opal helped reunite Langley with his daughter, Verla Grubbs. Opal was
able to talk Phoebe down after she thought Verla to be Langley’s
Opal learned of Palmer’s infidelity with Janet Green. She kicked
him out of Cortlandt Manor and began romancing Seabone Hunkle, Dixie’s
father. But Palmer still pined for his wife. Daisy came back to Pine Valley
upon hearing of their breakup. Daisy helped Opal realize that she was
still very much in love with Palmer. The couple again reconciled.
Opal and Palmer took in homosexual teenager Kevin Sheffield after his
parents kicked him out of their home. Opal helped him come to grips with
his parent’s rejection. Opal confronted Kevin’s mother, Judith
Sheffield, who blamed Kevin for her other son, Jason Sheffield’s,
incarceration. Jason attempted to kill Kevin's homsexual teacher Michael
Delaney, blaming him for Kevin's sexual orientation. Judith agreed to
take Kevin back in if he attended a psychiatrist. Only, the psychiatrist
was convinced that he could turn Kevin straight. Opal offered Kevin the
open and accepting home that he never had.
Opal had made many mistakes in her past, but none was greater than her
marraige to Ray. Opal tried to get away from him once, starting a new
life with Fred Dawson. But, Ray tracked her down and used threats to Tad's
life to get her back. Opal left Fred, but she had a secret. She had given
birth to a son. A son she never thought she would see again.
Adrian Sword was a spy hired to find Palmer’s stash of Nazi artifacts.
He took a job as Opal’s chauffeur. Opal knew that she had met Adrian
before. When he revealed his father was Fred, Opal knew she had found
her son. Belinda Keefer discovered Adrian’s link to Opal’s
past. Opal was finally reunited with her son.
tried to elude Adrian. He faked his death to protect himself. Opal mourned
the loss of her husband with her new son by her side. Tad and Dixie found
Palmer alive in New York. Betrayed, Opal kicked Palmer out of Cortlandt
Manor. This was the final straw for Opal; there would be no reconciliation.
Though the couple divorced, Opal's feelings for Palmer were still very
much evident. When Palmer was temporarily blinded in the Holidays explosion,
Opal helped him recover.
Palmer wanted to make Opal pay. He wanted to leave her with nothing. He
told The Intruder about how she had abandoned Adrian as a child. Adrian
came to Opal’s defense. Adrian was able to pressure Palmer to stop
his offensive. Opal was awarded all of Palmer’s assets. She also
got primary custody of Petey.
Opal re-opened the Glamoramma in Cortlandt Manor. To help her with Petey,
Opal hired Pigeon's Hallow native Becca Tyree to be his babysitter.
Adrian and Opal attempted a hostile takeover of Cortlandt Electronics.
Their efforts were crushed when Erica, Opal’s best friend, voted
in Palmer’s favor. She explained to Opal how Palmer had always been
there for her, like the father she never had. Erica could not betray him.
With time, the friends repaired their broken relationship.
Opal did not want to admit that she still had feelings for Palmer. This
became apparent when Palmer rashly eloped with Vanessa Bennett. Vanessa
had weaseled her way into Erica’s friendship so as to profit from
a tell-all book about her life. Opal did not want Palmer to suffer the
Erica needed Opal to offer Bianca’s new girlfriend, Frankie Stone,
a place to stay. In reality, Erica was going to plant drugs in Frankie’s
room at the Cortlandt Manor in hopes of driving her out of town. Frankie
was found dead in her room and Erica was taken into custody for the murder.
Opal learned that Frankie was actually Vanessa’s niece and a con-artist.
Gillian Andrassy’s spirit used Opal’s body as vehicle to make
contact with Ryan. Opal always felt like she had a connection with the
supernatural, especially through her use of terot cards.
Opal asked a musician named Hank to accompany her to the Crystal Ball.
She hoped the move would make Palmer notice her, and it worked. Only,
Hank was sincere in his feelings for Opal. Palmer arranged for Hank to
go on a world tour, and Hank begged Opal to accompany him. She admitted
she might still have feelings for Palmer and let Hank down gently.
Opal was at Cortlandt Manor alone when Palmer’s niece, Lanie Rampal,
called looking for him. Lanie had devastating news. She was with Dixie
moments before her car swerved off an embankment in the Swiss Alps. Dixie
Opal was weary of Petey’s new nanny, Kendall Hart. Opal thought
Kendall was taking advantage of Palmer’s state of mind since Dixie’s
unexpected death. Palmer's fragile state also lead to heart problems.
2003: Opal discovered Palmer and Adam’s plot to
kill Michael Cambias for escaping prosecution of Bianca Montgmery’s
rape. For the first time in her life, Opal kept her silence.
Opal was among those at Erica’s intervention for alcoholism. That
night, Opal learned the truth behind Erica’s rape. Eric Kane had
exchanged Erica to Richard Fields so that he would star in his next movie.
The ordeal began Erica’s long road to recovery.
When Bianca got her baby, Miranda Montgomery, back, Opal planted a kiss
on Palmer. Opal was surprised when Palmer returned with one of his own.
Opal was always jealous of Palmer’s relationship with other women.
Old friend Myrtle Fargate encouraged her to pursue him again.
Opal was among those deceived into thinking that Di Kirby was the late
Dixie. She had fallen in love with Di, so much so that she pushed Tad
to pursue her again.
2006: Opal enlisted Del Henry’s help to make Palmer
jealous. He wanted him to be seen with her at public events. In return,
she fueled his passion for the finer things in life. Alas, the plan never
really helped her win Palmer back.
Palmer and Opal confronted Dixie, who had returned to Pine Valley. Opal
could not understand why Dixie stayed away for so long causing their family
so much pain.
Opal rushed to the hospital when she learned the Satin Slayer had poisoned
Dixie. Opal tried frantically to contact Palmer, but for some reason he
was unreachable. No matter how much she prayed, the doctors could do nothing
to save Dixie. Dixie died in Tad’s arms.
Opal welcomed a granddaughter with the birth of Jenny Martin, Tad’s
daughter with Krystal Carey. Opal and Krystal’s relationship had
been estranged because of her role in keeping Bianca away from her daughter.
But Opal was willing to give Krystal another chance so that she could
be a part of her granddaughter’s life.
That Christmas, Opal and Ruth were shocked to learn Tad and Krystal had
eloped. Opal was upset the family was not invited to the wedding.
Opal had visions of a past she wanted to forget when Ray’s brother,
Robert Gardner, came to town. Robert came to Pine Valley under the guise
of a Federal Agent wanting to reconnect with his family. Opal fell for
his ruse. At Jesse and Angie Hubbard’s wedding, Angie caught Robert
with a gun. He sedated Opal before she could tell anyone. When she came
to, she found out Robert had gone on a shooting tirade, injuring Tad critically.
When Tad came out of his coma, he was reunited with his family. Adam revealed
that Kathy Mershon was in fact Tad and Dixie’s missing daughter
Babe Carey asked Opal to offer her friend Richie Novak a place to stay.
Opal kicked Richie out after he began stealing from her.
Petey came back to Pine Valley for the summer before he was to attend
Harvard University. Opal worried about her son when he began to spend
a lot of time at Chandler Mansion. Petey had fallen for Colby Chandler.
He was also working for Adam to sabotage FUSION’s new Bella fragrance.
When Opal told Palmer, he took the lead to discipline his son.
began to have visions of impending doom in Pine Valley. She turned to
Krystal and Babe with her premonitions. Her high anxiety caused her to
have a heart attack. The night she was rushed to the hospital, a tornado
crashed through Pine Valley. Babe died when the Comeback’s roof
caved in on her.
Another tragedy affected Opal when Erica found Myrtle had passed in her
sleep. Myrtle was Opal’s first friend in Pine Valley. Myrtle left
Opal her the Crystal ball she used to tell people’s fortunes while
in the carnival.