Contract negotiations kept him (and his on-screen wife Helen Wagner) off the soap for most of the early 1980s, but the show finally welcomed the two back in a big storyline with heavy uses of past clips from the show: in the story, Chris and his wife Nancy were celebrating their fiftieth wedding anniversary. In real life, As the World Turns was celebrating its thirtieth anniversary on the air.
Prior to TV, MacLaughlin starred as the title character on radio's David Harding, Counterspy in the 1940s and 50s. Old time radio sites have broadcasts available. He appeared in a 1948 Broadway production of Thornton Wilder's play The Happy Journey to Trenton and Camden.
MacLaughlin died on May 28, 1986, and is buried in Dover, Vermont.