Soap opera veteran HELEN WAGNER has been rewarded with a spot in the Guinness Book Of World Records for portraying the same character in a TV show for 50 years. The 87-year-old star followed a basic strategy to keep her long-lasting role as matriarch NANCY HUGHES on CBS daytime soap As The World Turns. She says, "They kept offering me a contract, so I kept doing it. And they kept writing things for me, so I kept saying them. I didn't think about leaving or not leaving." The only other actors to rival Wagner's title as the longest-running US TV character played by a single actor are James Arness of GUNSMOKE and Kelsey Grammer of Frasier, with 20 years in their respective roles.