General Hospital executive producer GLORIA MONTY died of cancer on Thursday (03MAR06) in Rancho Mirage, California. She was 84. Monty took over US daytime soap opera in 1978, at a time when the show was struggling to find an audience. She updated the look of the soap opera, adding more adventure, even outrageous story lines and introduced younger characters. Monty introduced popular couple LUKE and Laura Spencer, the first of a series of "super-couples" that helped define the show. According to veteran General Hospital actress Jane Elliot, "In the late 1970's, Gloria Monty transformed soap opera viewing from a housewives' pastime to 'the' cool thing to do. "As I was a beneficiary of that transformation, I will be eternally grateful and will miss her terribly. I can't wait to see what she does with heaven." Monty is survived by her sister NORMA and the family has requested that the funeral arrangements remain private.