Home Entertainment Jackie Zeman: ‘General Hospital’ veteran soap star dies at 70

Jackie Zeman: ‘General Hospital’ veteran soap star dies at 70


Jacklyn Zeman, a veteran soap opera actress who starred on the ABC television show “General Hospital” for more than four decades, died May 10 after a brief battle with cancer. She was 70.

Her death was announced on Twitter late Wednesday by the show’s executive producer, Frank Valentini. Her family confirmed Thursday that she died of cancer after a short illness but did not provide details.

Ms. Zeman was best known for playing feisty nurse Barbara “Bobbie” Spencer on “General Hospital,” where fans followed her fictional family and work dramas for more than 40 years after her debut on the show in 1977. She took a three-year hiatus from the program from 2010 to 2013, then rejoined it and remained in the cast until her death. Her last appearance on the show was in April.

“On behalf of our General Hospital family, I am heartbroken to announce the passing of our beloved Jackie Zeman,” executive producer Valentini tweeted Wednesday.

“Just like her character, the legendary Bobbie Spencer, she was a bright light and true professional that brought so much positive energy with her to work,” he added. “Jackie will be greatly missed, but her positive spirit will always live on with our cast and crew.”

Ms. Zeman was born March 6, 1953, in Englewood, N.J. She was a keen dancer and trained in ballet from age 5, according to IMDb, before winning a scholarship to New York University to major in dance.

She turned to acting in commercials. But it was in daytime soap operas that she made a name for herself, starring in “One Life to Live,” “Misguided” and “The Bay.”

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General Hospital launched on ABC in 1963 and is set in Port Charles, a fictional lakeside city in western New York, with intertwining plots of medicine, love, family and intrigue.

Ms. Zeman, who described herself on Twitter as an “Actress, Mom, Author, Designer,” was nominated for a number of awards for her role, including daytime Emmy awards for outstanding lead actress.

“Jacklyn Zeman has been a beloved member of the ‘General Hospital’ and ABC family since she originated the iconic role of Bobbie Spencer over 45 years ago,” the show’s official Twitter page said in a statement paying tribute to her. “She leaves behind a lasting legacy for her Emmy-nominated portrayal of the bad girl turned heroine and will always be remembered for her kind heart and radiant spirit.”

Ms. Zeman was married and divorced three times and is survived by her two daughters, Cassidy Zee Gorden and Lacey Rose Gorden.

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