Norma Connolly, 71, who portrayed Aunt Ruby on the television soap opera "General Hospital" for 20 years, died Nov. 18 in Los Angeles after a stroke.

In addition to the perennially popular soap, Ms. Connolly appeared in scores of television specials, movies and miniseries.

The Boston-born performer studied acting at the Leland Powers School of Drama, the Actors Studio and the Cushing Academy. She had a long and distinguished career on stage, as well as in television and the movies.

The actress described herself as "fortunate to have been in three American classics in the theater"--Tennessee Williams' "A Streetcar Named Desire" on Broadway and his "Night of the Iguana" and Arthur Miller's "The Crucible" at Los Angeles' Ahmanson Theatre.

Ms. Connolly also appeared on Broadway in such plays as "Love of Four Colonels" and "Make a Million" and at Hollywood's former Huntington Hartford Theatre in "The Right Honorable Gentleman."

Among her film credits were "The Wrong Man," "The Other" and "They Only Kill Their Masters."

Active in the battle against AIDS, Ms. Connolly served on the board of Hollywood Helps and worked to recruit soap opera performers for fund-raisers. She had served on the board of the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.

She was preceded in death by her husband, screenwriter Howard Rodman. Survivors include three children and two great-grandchildren.