jacklyn zemanwho played Bobbie Spencer for 45 years on ABC General Hospital, has died. She was 70 years old.
Zeman died after a brief battle with cancer, his family confirmed Wednesday. News of his death was first announced by the show’s executive producer, Frank Valentini.
“I am heartbroken to announce the passing of our beloved Jackie Zeman,” he wrote on Twitter. “Like her character, the legendary Bobbie Spencer, she was a shining light and a true professional who brought a lot of positive energy to her work.”
ABC entertainment and General Hospital also released a statement saying, “Jacklyn Zeman has been a beloved member of the General Hospital and the ABC Family since originating the iconic role of Bobbie Spencer more than 45 years ago. She leaves a lasting legacy for her Emmy-nominated portrayal of the bad girl-turned-hero, and she will always be remembered for her kind heart and radiant spirit. We are devastated by the news of her passing and send our deepest condolences to Jackie’s family, friends and loved ones.”
Zeman joined General Hospital in 1977 as Barbara Jean, who went by Bobbie, and was the feisty younger sister of Anthony Geary’s Luke Spencer. Zeman came to regard Geary as off-camera family. “I’m probably closer to him than a brother would be in real life,” she told her co-star Maurice Benard last year on their State of Mind YouTube series.
Bobbie had worked as a teenage prostitute and given up a baby for adoption, but managed to turn her life around and become a nurse at General Hospital. Zeman’s portrayal of Spencer was an energetic and optimistic woman who was as sweet as pie but she also had a sense of herself. She didn’t put up with fools and had no problem revoking niceties if she was justified.
“Bobbie has been a fascinating person to me,” she said in a 1982 interview. “I can do…all the things most women think of but wouldn’t dare.”
One of Zeman’s most memorable scenes was in 1994, when Bobbie’s daughter BJ was in a school bus accident that left her brain dead. Bobbie and her then-husband Tony (played by Brad Maule) made the decision to donate her daughter’s heart to her cousin, Maxie, who had Kawasaki disease.
Actress Laura Wright, who plays Bobbie’s daughter Carly Spencer, posted a series of heartbreak emojis. Jon Lindstrom, who plays Kevin Collins, wrote: “It will take me a minute to process this. I can’t believe a life force like yours is gone.
Born March 6, 1953 in Englewood, NJ, Zeman discovered his love of dance as a child and began acting in school productions as a teenager. He worked in Venezuela as a dancer after high school and was a pre-med at New York University, but dropped out when he was offered a contract on the ABC soap opera. one life to live after originally being hired for just three days of work.
In A lifeplayed Lana McClain for a little over a year and then went to General Hospital. “I didn’t even audition,” she told a blogger in 2010. Zeman was nominated for four Daytime Emmy Awards for her work on the show.
Outside of soap operas, Zeman worked as a Playboy Bunny to help pay for college and also acted in commercials. She had a role in 1982 National Lampoon class reunion and appeared in a number of TV movies, including the ABC Afterschool Special crossroads of montana in 1993. She also had a series regular role as Sofia Madison in the crime drama series The Baywhich earned him a fifth Emmy Award nomination.
Zeman’s last appearance in General Hospital It was in April for the wedding of his character’s grandson. The same month, she also celebrated the show’s 60th anniversary by posting a video on Instagram for fans.
“A big, big, heartfelt thank you to the very special people who have been watching and supporting and keeping us on the air all these years. We love you,” she said.
She was married and divorced three times, first to Glenn Gordon and then to Steve Gribbin and disc jockey Murray “Murray the K” Kaufman. Zeman’s survivors include two daughters, Cassidy and Lacey, from her marriage to Gordon.
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