Stars From General Hospital You Didn't Know Died

The following article includes references to mental health struggles and suicide.

Before "ER" and "Grey's Anatomy," there was "General Hospital." The show, which has been on television since 1963, made history after being recognized by The Guiness Book of World Records as the longest running daytime soap of all time. When the show first aired in grainy black and white in the '60s, no one could have predicted that it would run into the new millennium — and then some. From the outset, "General Hospital" garnered loyal fans through its intriguing characters, notably the wealthy Quartermaine and Spencer families.

From the sometimes controversial storylines of power couple Luke and Laura Spencer to the shady dealings of the Corinthos mob family, fans can't get enough of the soap's winning formula. As the series celebrated a whopping 15,000 episodes in 2022, actor Laura Wright, who plays Carly Corinthos, described the show's enduring popularity as the result of viewers' unwavering devotion and investment in the veritable cast of characters. "It's the fans and their love for the show," Wright told "We're really here because of them and their love for the characters, the stories and, gosh, the history."

Seeing as the series has been on air for over half a century, we have lost far too many of its stars throughout the years. But the show's most notable IRL deaths are not confined to those who graced the grounds of Port Charles decades ago; many of the more recent cast members have sadly passed on. These are the stars from "General Hospital" you didn't know died.

Lindsey Pearlman

Lindsey Pearlman played barista Margaret on "General Hospital" in 2020. Despite only appearing in a couple of episodes, she acted in some intense scenes, including getting caught up in a brutal shoot-out. In addition to the soap, she appeared in "Empire," "Chicago Justice," and even in a parody short of "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" called "Kam Kardashian."

In February 2022, she was reported missing and was found dead days later, per The Guardian. The outlet notes that Pearlman, who was 43, was survived by her husband, Vance Smith. Following her death, he wrote in a since deleted Instagram post, "She's gone. I'm broken." TMZ later confirmed that she died by suicide, having struggled with depression for some time.

Pearlman's colleagues paid tribute to her on social media, highlighting her talent as well as her jovial personality. "General Hospital" exec Frank Valentini posted about the loss on X, formerly known as Twitter, praising her performance on the series. Meanwhile, Danielle Pinnock of "Young Sheldon" fame, wrote, "She was hilarious, goofy AF, stunning, and ridiculously gifted. Just talked to her two weeks ago. It feels surreal that she is gone."

John Ingle

Playing duplicitous Edward Quartermaine, a role previously inhabited by David Lewis, John Ingle encapsulated the avarice of the formidable "General Hospital" antagonist. The seasoned star played the Quartermaine patriarch for nearly 20 years. Having found fame later in life, he joked to the Los Angeles Times that, as an older actor, his roles usually entailed the following: "I've either married someone, buried them, fired them, judged them or lectured to them."

In February 2012, his wife of 58 years, Grace-Lynn Martin, died, per People. Seven months later, Ingle died of cancer, aged 84. Speaking with not long before his death, Ingle said that he was excited for his future on the series due to a new head writer taking over. "Jill [Farren Phelps, executive producer] said the other day in a meeting, 'You'll be happy because you'll all have a story.' Which is new. A lot of us haven't had a story for some time," he enthused.

Per Us Weekly, ABC paid tribute to the "General Hospital" veteran, noting that he filmed his last episode mere weeks before he died. His final episode aired just days before his passing. In a bittersweet goodbye to the star, the network wrote, "And with a simple 'I love you, too,' a thumbs up and a smile, we say goodbye to John Ingle's indelible depiction of Edward Quartermaine. His bigger than life portrayal will live on in the hearts of countless fans."

Jay Pickett

Jay Pickett initially joined the "General Hospital" cast as Lorenzo Alcazar, before being cast in a permanent role as Detective David Harper in 2007. The detective was central in investigating the feud between the Corinthos and Zacchara mob families. In addition to "General Hospital," Pickett was in a number of other projects, including on "Days of Our Lives," "Dexter," and a handful of Westerns.

While filming the movie "Treasure Valley" in 2021, Pickett died suddenly on set from a heart attack, as reported by Variety. He was 60. Following Pickett's death, "General Hospital" paid homage to him with an "In Loving Memory" segment, per USA Today. Peter Facinelli, the actor's co-star in "Catch the Bullet," mourned the loss, but added that his memory would endure forever, telling Us Weekly, "The beauty about film is his performance will live on."

An avid fan of Westerns, his colleagues said that his passing was bittersweet since he died doing what he loved best. "Yesterday I lost a good friend and the world lost a great person. Jay Pickett decided to ride off into the Heavens," wrote his "Treasure Valley" co-star, Jim Heffel. "Jay died sitting on a horse ready to rope a steer in the movie 'Treasure Valley' in Idaho. The way of a true cowboy." Shortly before his death, Pickett spoke to Idaho Statesman about his role in "Treasure Valley," explaining that the film was particularly close to his heart as he grew up in the American Northwest around cowboys.

Shell Kepler

A popular "General Hospital" star, Shell Kepler portrayed nurse Amy Vining for 23 years. Known for her wild flaxen locks and OTT makeup, Kepler perfectly embodied the gossipy nurse, not to mention '80s hairspray chic. And she was thrilled to have landed the role. "I love playing Amy!" she said in a 1982 interview (via CBC). "She's a kid and I love being a kid. She's one of the most fun characters on the show. ... And I still haven't seen anybody on daytime TV, or prime-time TV for that matter, who is similar to Amy in character."

Away from her acting work, she also launched a successful clothing line for the Home Shopping Club, which raked in a handsome $20 million in 1994 alone, per the Los Angeles Times. In 2008, TMZ reported that the actor died of kidney failure at age 49.

In the wake of her untimely death, her co-star, Jacklyn Zeman, made a moving statement, per Soap Opera Network. "In addition to her acting and designing talents Shell loved to decorate her home. It was beautiful and warm. ... No one ever left Shell's house hungry," Zeman said. "She also liked to custom make gifts for her family and friends. She had a big generous loving heart and she was a special friend to me." Kepler may have been taken too soon, but she will always be remembered by those whose hearts she touched.

Philip Baker Hall

Acting vet Philip Baker Hall appeared in "General Hospital" in 1983 as Judge Simpson. During his appearance, he entered the lives of the wealthy Quartermaines, officiating the wedding of Lila and Edward. His "General Hospital" stint wouldn't be the last time Hall would play a man of the law. Speaking with AV Club in 2012, he joked that he was accustomed to playing judges. "So life has its own little twists and turns," he reflected. "You never know where things are going."

Perhaps one of his most famous television roles was as Joe Bookman, the library cop, in "Seinfeld," in which he memorably lectured Jerry on the dangers of not returning library books — in the style of a 1940s film noir detective. Hall also starred in a number of indie films, including Lars von Trier's "Dogville" and Paul Thomas Anderson's "Boogie Nights" and "Magnolia," playing a shady game show host in the latter.

Sadly, Hall died in June 2022, aged 90. The New York Times reports that he suffered from complications of emphysema. His death followed those of two other "Seinfeld" stars, Estelle Harris and Liz Sheridan, who played George and Jerry's respective moms and died a week apart and two months before Hall, per the New York Post. Accordingly, the official "Seinfeld" X account paid tribute to Hall, writing, "The great Philip Baker Hall will forever be remembered by Seinfeld fans as the hard-nosed library detective, Mr. Bookman... His talent will be cherished."

Bergen Williams

Housekeeper Alice Gunderson was accustomed to dealing with the various dramas of the Quartermaine clan. As noted by Soaps in Depth, Alice's unrequited feelings for Luke Spencer was at the center of many of her storylines and Bergen Williams imbued the character with pathos. Additionally, she appeared in other medical-themed TV shows, such as "Scrubs" and "Nip/Tuck."

Williams had been living with Wilson's Disease, a rare condition (it affects 30 in 1 million) caused by a genetic mutation and leading to both physical and mental decline; the disease is usually fatal, according to a 2007 study. Following her diagnosis, she parted ways with "General Hospital" in 2014. As a result, she lost her health insurance. "Her disease made it impossible for her to speak her lines the same way as before so they made her quit," her sister, Lynda, tweeted. "I'm sad they didn't just give Big Alice Wilson's Disease on the show so she could keep acting and keep her healthcare!"

Williams died in 2021, aged 62, per Newsweek. Her death devastated her "General Hospital" co-stars. Kimberly McCullough, who played Robin Scorpio on the soap, tweeted, "Bergen was an incredible force to be reckoned with and I'm so sorry to hear of her passing." Meanwhile, Brandon Barash, aka Johnny Zacchara, hailed Williams as "a special one who imbued truly radiant energy into every room she entered."

Susan Brown

Acting vet Susan Brown was popular among "General Hospital" fans as psychiatrist Dr. Gail Baldwin. Brown's performance as the doc saw her receive an Emmy nomination in 1979. After leaving the series in 1985, she returned in 1992 in a recurring role. As noted by Soaps in Depth, Brown made her final appearance in 2004, but the character wasn't written out of the series until 2019 when she was killed off camera.

Aside from "General Hospital," she appeared in other popular soap operas, such as "As the World Turns" and "Santa Barbara." As noted by, Brown also moonlighted as an interior designer. 

Sadly, Brown died in 2018, aged 86. Variety notes that she had been living with Alzheimer's Disease. Her co-star, Kin Shriner, who played Gail's son, tweeted that Brown was one of his besties both on and off screen. Nancy Lee Grahn, famed for portraying "General Hospital" character Alexis Davis, penned a sweet tribute to Brown. "Thinking about my cast mate neighbor, and gracious, classy, lovely woman, Susan Brown today," she wrote. "No one ever looked more beautiful while walking their dog 3xs every day. Sending love & respect to her family." As reported by Digital Journal, "General Hospital" aired a tribute show to the late star in which co-stars reminisced about their time working with her.

Stuart Damon

Playing Dr. Alan Quartermaine, Stuart Damon expertly embodied the troubled, sometimes homicidal doctor. In a 1981 interview with the Boston Globe (via We Love Soaps), Damon explained that while he enjoyed portraying the snooty doctor, he couldn't be any further from him in real life. "I'm nothing like Quartermaine," he said. "I've been known to show up on the set wearing running shorts, a baseball cap worn sideways, speaking with a pronounced lisp. The morning rehearsal is the time to be silly." 

In 1999, he won an Emmy for the role. During his acceptance speech, he revealed that taking home the Emmy had fulfilled his lifelong ambition of depicting a character that would remain beloved and remembered by audiences. Prior to entering the world of soap operas, Damon appeared in a number of musicals on Broadway and London's the West End in the 1950s and '60s.

In 2021, Damon died of kidney failure at the age of 84, per Variety. "He'd been struggling with renal failure for the last several years," reporter George Pennacchio wrote on Facebook. Pennacchio noted that the late actor's son, Christopher, told him that he was elated to be part of the "General Hospital" cast: "It was his favorite place to be. He loved playing Alan and was so appreciative of that role and that job. It was his passion." Following his death, "General Hospital" aired a tribute to Damon's life and career, per Soap Opera Network.

Peter Hansen

Peter Hansen began playing lawyer turned mayor of Port Charles Lee Baldwin in 1965 and continued with the role until 2004. In contrast to the veritable cast of scheming characters in "General Hospital," Lee was altruistic and compassionate, with a strong sense of justice. Though he is best known for his role on the long-running soap, Hansen had over 100 credits to his name, including in a number of classic films. 

With his dashing old-school looks, he shared screen time with some bonafide Hollywood legends, such as Alan Ladd in 1950 Western "Branded." Additionally, he acted in episodes of classic sitcoms such as "The Golden Girls" and "Cheers," in which he played the chairman of the corporation that owns the eponymous bar, scaring the bejesus out of skittish girl boss Rebecca Howe. Hansen also appeared in Danny DeVito's irreverent 1989 black comedy film "The War of the Roses" alongside A-listers Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas.

Despite his onscreen glory, Hansen's life was beset by tragedy. His wife of half a century, Betty, died in 1993, per The Hollywood Reporter. Having then found love with his partner, Barbara Wenzel, Hansen sadly died in 2017, aged 95, per Variety. Following his death, the "General Hospital" account tweeted, "He will forever be a part of the #GH legacy."

Barbara Tarbuck

Barbara Tarbuck played the benevolent Jane Jacks on "General Hospital" from 1996 until 2010. Tarbuck was a prolific actor, having appeared in dozens of TV shows; notably, she collabed with Ryan Murphy on multiple occasions, appearing in "Nip/Tuck," "Glee," and as Mother Superior Claudia in "American Horror Story: Asylum" (the latter being one of her final major roles).

Tarbuck was devoted to her craft and also loved to teach acting. "Teaching and acting and directing all feed one another in me," she wrote on her website (via Legacy). "I am as stimulated and questioned by the young people in my life as I am by new material. ... On stage, before the camera, and in the classroom are the questions, demands, disappointments, delights that feed my soul."

Tragically, Tarbuck contracted the rare disease Creutzfeldt-Jakob disorder, per the Los Angeles Times. Also known as human "mad cow disease," Creutzfeldt-Jakob leads to neurological degeneration and loss of muscle control; there is no cure or treatment available for the deadly brain disease and it's invariably fatal, according to a 2020 study. Tarbuck died in 2016, aged 74. According to Soap Hub, she was preceded in death by her husband, James Denis Connolly, who passed away in 2005. Subsequently, "General Hospital" honored her memory on Instagram. Her co-star, Ingo Rademacher, who played Jasper Jacks, wrote that he was shocked by Tarbuck's death, sharing, "She was the kindest warmest person."

John Reilly

Alas, far too many stars died in 2021, including many "General Hospital" alumni. John Reilly was famed for his role as the devious and devilish Sean Donely on the soap opera. Per Soaps in Depth, he was at the center of numerous memorable storylines, including his character's entanglement with terrorists (resulting in him being put on a hit list), getting caught in a mobster shootout, and being poisoned by his ex-friends. Away from the drama of Port Charles, John starred in "Dallas," "Sunset Beach," and played the father of Kelly Taylor (Jennie Garth) on "Beverly Hills, 90210."

John Reilly died in 2021, aged 86, per Variety. He was survived by his wife and three kids. Following his death, his daughter, Caitlin Reilly, who is a social media star known for her comedic videos, told CNN, "He was the greatest man alive. A true gentleman." On Instagram, she wrote, "The brightest light in the world has gone out. Imagine the best person in the world. Now imagine that person being your dad."

Per Entertainment Weekly, "General Hospital" aired a tribute to John in the wake of his death. In a statement, the show's executive producer Frank Valentini praised the late actor as an immensely talented star who helped to cement the soap's legacy with his portrayal of Sean.

Anna Lee

Lila Quartermaine was one of the most iconic characters on "General Hospital," played by Anna Lee. A year into her role, Lee was paralyzed in a car accident and continued to act in her wheelchair, per The Spokesman-Review. Regarding her portrayal of Lila, she once told the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation's Archive of American Television. "She's the only nice person in the family. Edward is an old curmudgeon who bullies everybody ... Lila's the only one who has a calm, peaceful quality."

Born in England, Lee was dubbed "The British Bombshell" and starred in classic films such as "How Green Was My Valley" and "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?" alongside legends Joan Crawford and Bette Davis. As noted by The Guardian, Lee moved to Hollywood during the outbreak of WWII as her husband, director Robert Stevenson, was a pacifist.

In 2003, Soap Central reported that her "General Hospital" contract had been terminated, which angered the veteran actor since she claimed that execs had promised her a lifetime contract with the soap. ABC stated that no such contract existed. Aged 90 at the time, Lee deemed the dismissal to be flagrant ageism. "They told me age had nothing to do with it," she said, per The Telegraph. "I mean come on, this is youth-obsessed Hollywood, of course age is against me." The following year, Lee died of pneumonia, aged 91, per the Los Angeles Times. Indeed, the seasoned actor predicted her longevity, telling the outlet, "I want to die with my boots on."

Gerald Anthony

Gerald Anthony played Marco Dane on "General Hospital," a character that crossed over from "One Life to Live." As noted in "Soap Opera Babylon," "He was daytime's answer to Al Pacino — short, wiry, and explosive." In 1993, Anthony won the Daytime Emmy for outstanding supporting actor for his portrayal of Marco.

Regarding the unprecedented fame he experienced as a result of playing the devilishly handsome antagonist, Anthony was humorously self-deprecating. "I'd say the hair has receded a lot," he told the Chicago Tribune in 1989. "I saw some of the old pictures of myself and, man, I gotta tell you, I look different. I wanna say, `Who is that guy?' I was this hip, happening young guy. Now I'm a man." In addition to the two aforementioned soaps, Anthony appeared in "Wiseguy," "L.A. Law," and "Another World." His final role was in Spike Lee's indie dramedy "She Hate Me," released the year of his death.

Tragically, Anthony died by suicide in 2004, per his Find A Grave page. He was 52. The actor was buried beside his father, who died two years earlier. Following Anthony's death, soap producer Frank Valentini said, "His dedication to his craft was tireless," per Soap Opera Digest. Robin Strasser, Anthony's co-star in "One Life to Live," called him "a superb human being, a great actor, so much fun to be around, so mesmerizing in his choices as an actor," per Soap Central.

Norma Connolly

Norma Connolly was famed for playing Ruby Anderson, a sex worker turned diner owner on "General Hospital." Connolly was a mainstay on the soap, having played Ruby for 20 years, per the Los Angeles Times. Away from the cameras, she was an ardent activist in raising awareness of AIDS and was on the board of Hollywood Helps; she ushered in her soap opera co-stars to lend support to the important cause via the 1992 "Soap Star Spectacular." She also spoke out against the apparent sexism of Hollywood and campaigned for women to have roles of greater gravitas in the industry.

As noted by The Washington Post, Connolly was a classically trained actor who starred in Tennessee Williams' "A Streetcar Named Desire" and "Night of the Iguana," as well as "The Crucible" by Arthur Miller. She was also in Alfred Hitchcock's "The Wrong Man."

She was beloved by both her co-stars and family. Grandmother to two children, she once said, "The delight of my old age is spoiling them rotten," per Soap Central. In 1998, she died after suffering a stroke, aged 71, per Playbill. She was preceded in death by her husband, writer Howard Rodman. As highlighted by Soap Central, Ruby was peacefully killed off away from the cameras a year after Connolly's death.

Lucille Wall

If you remember Lucille Wall, you have to be an OG "GH" fan! Wall herself was an original cast member of "General Hospital," appearing on the iconic soap opera's debut episode back in 1963. The actor portrayed Lucille March Weeks, the head nurse at the series' eponymous hospital, through 1976 — her work on the show even earned her a special Emmy. Despite departing, Wall continued to make guest appearances on the soap into the early '80s. 

Prior to nabbing her well-known televised soap opera gig, Wall already had decades of success under her belt in another branch of showbiz: radio. The Chicago-born star's prolific acting work on radio shows like "Collier's Hour," "Lorenzo Jones," and "The Adventures of Barbara Wayne" even led to her being dubbed the "Love Story Girl" by listeners by the early 1930s. However, Wall was best known for voicing the titular character on "Portia Faces Life." So much so that former "GH" associate producer Kylie Masterson recalled to the Los Angeles Times of her onscreen debut, "We got hundreds of letters and calls when she first went on television. People had never seen her face but they recognized her voice from radio and wrote to ask if she had indeed been Portia."

Just a few years after her final "General Hospital" appearance, Wall died at age 88 while living in a Reno, Nevada nursing home in July 1986. She sadly left behind no survivors. 

Jacklyn Zeman

"General Hospital" lost a fan favorite and a legacy cast member in May 2023. Jacklyn Zeman portrayed the lovable nurse Bobbie Spencer on the series for a whopping 45 years, beginning in 1977. Zeman remained with the show through 2010, before taking a short break and returning as a recurring star from 2013 until the year of her death. 

Back in 1982, she said of her best-known character (via the Los Angeles Times), "Bobbie has been a fascinating person for me to play. I get to do ... all the things that most women think about but wouldn't dare." During her time on the soap opera, Zeman nabbed four Daytime Emmy Award nominations — three for outstanding supporting actress in a drama series, and one for outstanding lead actress, though she unfortunately never took home a statue.

It was "GH" executive producer Frank Valentini broke the sad news of her death, taking to X, formerly known as Twitter, to write, "On behalf of our @GeneralHospital family, I am heartbroken to announce the passing of our beloved Jackie Zeman. Just like her character, the legendary Bobbie Spencer, she was a bright light and a true professional that brought so much positive energy with her work." Soon after, Zeman's family confirmed to the Los Angeles Times that she'd passed away following a cancer diagnosis at the age of 70. She leaves behind two daughters, Cassidy and Lacey.

Annie Wersching

"General Hospital" lovers will recognize Annie Wersching. The actor — who is perhaps best known for her work as Renee Walker on "24," as well as for voicing Tess in the video game "The Last of Us" — got a big break when she joined the cast of "GH" back in 2007. That year in March, Wersching took on the role of Amelia Joffe, a woman who arrives in Port Charles to expose resident Sam McCall, played by Kelly Monaco. "We're just kind of a good match," Wersching told Soaps of acting opposite Monaco at the time. "I'm not really a 'girly girl' and she's not either." Wersching remained on the series through that September — though she was temporarily replaced by Darby Stanchfield for a spell in May — ultimately appearing in 80 episodes.

Following a 2020 cancer diagnosis, Wersching passed away in January 2023 at the age of 45. She is survived by her husband, fellow actor Stephen Full, and their three sons: Freddie, Archie, and Ozzie. In a statement shared with The Hollywood Reporter, Full said in part, "There is a cavernous hole in the soul of this family today. But she left us the tools to fill it. She found wonder in the simplest moment. She didn't require music to dance. She taught us not to wait for adventure to find you. 'Go find it. It's everywhere.' And find it we shall."

Billy Miller

In 2014, Billy Miller joined the cast of "General Hospital" as beloved character Jason Morgan, filling the shoes of the actor who originated the role, Steve Burton. His work on the show would not only earn him a Daytime Emmy nomination for outstanding lead actor in 2018, but the star would also eventually split off into playing the character's twin, Drew Cain, once Burton returned to the show in 2017. 

Miller — who previously made a name for himself on another soap, "The Young and the Restless," with the part of Billy Abbott earning him three Daytime Emmy wins — eventually left "General Hospital" in 2019. Upon his "GH" exit, Miller stated in part to viewers via his manager's X account, "Instead of sadness, I am filled with gratitude for all your support, encouragement, and every emotion shared. I cherish the journey we have taken together. Thank you for allowing me into your home and lives."

Miller's manager would later break the tragic news of the actor's death in September 2023, revealing to Variety that he'd been dealing with manic depression prior to his passing. Patricia Miller, the late actor's mother, shed further light on his mental health struggles and cause of death. "He fought a long hard valiant battle with bipolar depression for years. He did everything he could to control the disease," her personal statement, which was shared via the manager's X account, read in part. "He loved his family, his friends and his fans but in the end the disease won the fight and he surrendered his life." Billy Miller was just 43 years old. 

If you or anyone you know needs help with mental health or is in crisis, contact the relevant resources below: