|Gretel Rae Cummings|
|Commercial bumper of Linda Dano as Rae Cummings|
|One Life to Live|
|Portrayed by||Linda Dano
(April 25, 2002; temp.)
Gretel was originated by Linda Dano from 1978 to 1980. Dano went on to play Felicia Gallant on NBC's Another World from 1982 until that series' cancellation on June 25, 1999, during which time she won a Daytime Emmy Award for Lead Actress in 1993 and was nominated three other times. On June 28, 1999, Dano returned to One Life to Live as Gretel, who now preferred to use her middle name "Rae." Anna Stuart filled in for Dano in the role on April 25, 2002. Dano was nominated for a Daytime Emmy for Supporting Actress in 2003 for her portrayal of Rae, and left One Life to Live on March 13, 2004.
In a move of network synergy designed to "entice viewers to tune into soap operas that they might not have usually watched," in 2000 then-President of ABC Daytime Angela Shapiro orchestrated Dano's concurrent appearance as Rae on the three other ABC soap operas at the time — All My Children, General Hospital, and Port Charles — in an extended crossover storyline which was the first time a daytime character had ever appeared on four series.
In 1978, Gretel Cummings was working in Llanview, Pennsylvania as Adam Brewster's assistant. Adam was a millionaire and was in love with Pat Ashley, a Llanview TV personality. Gretel knew that Adam had a secret, that he had epilepsy. Soon enough, Pat found out the truth and Adam and Pat were married. Gretel also knew that Adam was in a shady arms deal. She begged him to get out of it, but he refused. She couldn't take it with him anymore and quit her job. Brad Vernon, who had thought Gretel was attractive, asked her out to dinner. Brad tried to seduce Gretel, but she was too smart for that. Brad almost raped Gretel, but he didn't succeed.
Later, Dorian Lord became involved in Pat's talk show. Gretel knew that Dorian would keep the talk show all to herself and not give it back to Pat. Dorian had to give the show back, though, when Pat had Asa Buchanan as a guest. Shortly after, Gretel dated Herb Callison, Llanview's D.A. Dorian lured Herb into going on a secret trip. Herb knew this would mean he would have to begin his affair with Dorian again. He also knew that if Gretel found out, they would have to break-up. They went to Paris together, but they just fought over Gretel the whole time. Herb flew back to Llanview, but he only found out that Gretel already knew about their secret trip. Gretel left Llanview heartbroken in 1980.
While in San Francisco, Gretel purportedly obtained a degree in psychology. Choosing to use her middle name "Rae" professionally, she became a very respected relationship counselor and became very wealthy. With her new found wealth, Rae went to Switzerland and met Daniel Faulkner. They soon married.
One day, in 1999, Daniel left on a business trip and he never returned. Rae soon searched for clues to his disappearance. Her search took her to Paris, where she found a diary and love letters that said he had an affair with a younger woman. Rae set off to find them, and her search led her back to Llanview.
Not long after she arrived back in Llanview, she found the woman. Her name was Grace Monroe, and she was in a relationship with Kevin Buchanan. Mad at Grace for having an affair with her husband, Rae tried to ruin Grace's relationship with Kevin, but she realized that didn't work. So slowly and unnoticeably, she tried to lead Kevin to believe Grace was a horrible woman. Rae also continued to try and find her husband.
Rae wasn't looking for Daniel because she wanted him back; she was looking for him in the hope he could shed some light on the whereabouts of her long lost daughter. As it turned out, Rae had given birth to a baby girl out of wedlock and the infant had been taken from her. Rae was desperate to find the daughter she had never known. While in Llanview, Rae quickly became friends with John Sykes, who helped her in her search. Rae also encountered Grace Monroe, the beautiful younger woman who had once been Daniel's lover. Grace, however, had no information about Daniel to share with Rae.
After getting a new lead, Rae headed to Pine Valley and All My Children to continue her search. Rae took a room at Myrtle Fargate's boarding house and revealed that she was looking for Daniel in the hope he could lead her to the daughter that had been taken from her at childbirth. This hit Myrtle hard as she had given up a baby girl for adoption years ago. Rae also teamed up with Tad and Dixie Martin in an effort to expose a shady lawyer involved in black market baby adoptions, but their sting operation uncovered nothing useful and Rae feared her search would never be successful.
Rae went to the Fannie Battle Home for Unwed Mothers and was surprised to find Myrtle there. Myrtle covered her real reasons for being there and both women learned that all birth records from the home had been written in a Bible. Unfortunately, the desk containing the Bible had been auctioned off. Myrtle and Rae returned home and Myrtle soon made the startling revelation that Rae herself was the daughter she had given up for adoption. After Rae's shock wore off, she and Myrtle shared a loving reunion and their close bond deepened.
Hoping the information contained in the Bible could lead her to her long-lost daughter, Rae set out to locate it. Rae's search took her to the town of Port Charles and with the help of her friend Tony Jones, Rae found the Bible she had been looking for. Unfortunately, Daniel had gotten there first and replaced the bible page with a note telling Rae to go back to Llanview. When she got back there, Daniel kept sending her messages sending her places to find her daughter, but her daughter was never there. When Rae finally came face to face with Daniel, Sykes arrested him and put him in jail.
Since there were no charges to hold him on, Daniel had to be let free. He called Max Holden, Skye Chandler, John Sykes, Rae and Kevin to Crossroads Bar and told them he had a secret he would tell them, for a price. But he never got to reveal it because the hitman that had been after him found him and sprayed the room with bullets. Daniel was wounded and taken to the hospital. Rae followed him there and demanded he tell her who her daughter was. He stunned her by claiming her child had been a son and he was Max Holden. Rae left the room briefly and when she and John returned, Daniel was gone, never to be seen again.
With Renee's help, Rae got a sample of Max's blood and tested it, he was not her son. Then Sophia found a piece of paper lying on the ground near Grace's grave. She gave it to John Sykes and it turned out to be the missing Bible page, which revealed that Skye Chandler was Rae's daughter and she had been adopted by Althea and Adam Chandler. Rae had met Skye after returning to Llanview, but their relationship was so hostile that Rae decided it would be best if Skye never learned the truth.
Unfortunately, Todd Manning had other plans. He found out the truth about Skye and announced at his aborted wedding to Blair that Rae is Skye's mother to get revenge on Skye. Skye did not take the news very well and called Adam to come to Llanview. Rae was there when Adam told Skye that Althea had adopted her and since he was away on a long business trip at the time, he hadn't learned about it until a few years ago. Skye was devastated, and largely severed her ties to Adam and the Chandler family. Rae decided the best thing to do was back off and give Skye some time to deal with the news. Skye and Rae eventually established a relationship.
Skye left Llanview to go to Port Charles to meet her birth father, Dr. Alan Quartermaine. Rae stayed on in Llanview. Allison Perkins, who had been brainwashed by Mitch Laurence and had stolen Viki Davidson's daughter, Jessica, at four weeks of age and then later returned her, became a patient at St. Anne's. She convinced Rae she wanted Viki's forgiveness for her crime, and Rae believed her. Viki forgave Allison, and Rae signed an unconditional release form for Allison. In reality, Allison had not returned the right child. She had switched the baby with Roxanne Balsom's daughter Natalie. Natalie, claiming to be the "real" Jessica", appeared in Llanview, causing grief and turmoil among the Buchanan-Davidson family. Rae was filled with guilt for what she had unintentionally done.
Natalie (who was revealed to be Jessica's twin sister) turned out to be not so bad, and is bonding with her mother, Viki. Rae's biggest problems at the moment was getting over John Skyes, who had left Llanview for California. She was beginning to show some interest in Hank Gannon, but nothing happened between them. Later, she brought out Niki Smith, one of Viki's multiple personalities, so that Niki would tell Viki the secret she was keeping from her.
In 2002, as punishment for faking his death, Asa Buchanan was forced to see court appointed psychologist, Rae Cummings. It was then that Rae was exposed as a fraud. The psychology degree she supposedly held was revealed as belonging to a deceased male classmate named Ray Cummings. Gretel Rae capitalized upon the similarity of her middle name to his first name, and appropriated his degree for herself. Soon, she was stripped of her license and credentials. Thereafter, she blackmailed Asa into marriage with some damaging information she had taped in their sessions. Luckily for Asa, Rae soon tired of him (and his endless schemes to obtain a divorce) and she granted him his divorce.
Rae managed to obtain a genuine license to practice therapy. With no man in the picture and her relationship with Skye severed due to Skye's discovery that Rae had lied about Alan Quartermaine being her biological father, Rae seemed to focus exclusively on her professional life. She pitched in at Llanview University's radio station and worked as an LPD profiler to catch the man who was stalking and killing various women. When Rae realized that the killer was Professor Stephen Haver, he held her prisoner. Repeatedly confusing her with the mother he had adored and despised, he made her dress in hippie clothes and sing with him before strangling her. He then set the room on fire and left. Llanview was deeply saddened by Rae's untimely demise. Several days later, Haver was in the midst of a standoff with the police. To his shock, Rae walked into the room! Speaking to him as his mother, she managed to distract him enough to help the cops subdue him.
Rae explained that she had managed to escape while believed dead. Bo put her in a safehouse until she was needed. While she was under police protection, Bo also contacted her old flame John Sykes, who was shaken to the core when he heard the news of her "death." They reunited, and after Rae said goodbye to Nora and Bo, she and John departed Llanview - at least for a while - to embark on a long, worldwide cruise. Rae became a grandmother on October 24, 2006 when her daughter Skye gave birth to Lila Rae Alcazar, it is unclear as to whether or not Rae has seen or even knows about the child.
On December 18, 2008, Rae's mother, Myrtle passed away in Pine Valley, Pennsylvania. The next day, it was revealed that Rae was in London and could not attend the memorial service, but that she would go to church to say goodbye at the same time the service would take place.