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One Life to Live creator Agnes Nixon created Joshua West, adopted as Joshua "Josh" Hall, as the first television or film role for eleven-year-old child actor Laurence Fishburne (credited as "Larry Fishburne") in 1973, first appearing in April. Fishburne was cast for his premiere television role with Nixon by casting director Joan D'Incecco.
Fishburne's 1973-74 portrayal of troubled teenaged youth Joshua West adopted by newly-married supercoupleEd Hall (Al Freeman Jr.) and Carla Gray (Ellen Holly) earned him the "Best Juvenile Actor" honor at the 1974 "Afternoon TV Writers and Editors Awards." The family unit of Freeman's Ed, Holly's Carla and Fishburne's Josh was heralded as "daytime television's first African American family."
Todd Davis took over the role from Fishburne briefly in 1977. He left One Life to Live to play Bryan Phillips on fellow ABC Daytime soap opera General Hospital from 1978 until 1986. Guy Davis played the character from 1985 until its last appearance in 1986.