The soap community is mourning the death of beloved General Hospital star Jacklyn Zeman (Bobbie Spencer). The show has confirmed that the actress has died at age 70.
"On behalf of our @GeneralHospital family, I am heartbroken to announce the passing of our beloved @JackieZeman," GH executive producer Frank Valentini shared on Twitter. "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. Jackie will be greatly missed, but her positive spirit will always live on with our cast and crew. We send our heartfelt sympathy to her loved ones, friends, and family, especially her daughters Cassidy and Lacey."
Zeman's family told ABC News that the actress "died after a short battle with cancer."
Born March 6, 1953, in Englewood, New Jersey, Jacklyn completed her high school studies at 15 and studied dance on a scholarship at New York University. Soon, she was dancing and modeling professionally while continuing her studies. A desire to act on daytime television led Jacklyn to her debut on ABC's One Life to Live. After her character's untimely demise, Jacklyn was asked to go to Los Angeles to create the role of Barbara Jean "Bobbie" Spencer on General Hospital. It is a role she would play from December 1977 through 2023.
"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 official General Hospital Twitter account shared in a post. "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. We are devastated by the news of her passing, and send our deepest condolences to Jackie's family, friends and loved ones."
In addition to television work, she performed in off-Broadway and community productions, including Come Blow Your Horn, Barefoot in the Park and The Boyfriend. Over the years, she has appeared in numerous feature films, such as Gary Marshall's Young Doctors in Love, John Hughes's National Lampoon's Class Reunion, and The Day the Music Died, to name a few. She has also appeared in episodic primetime dramas and situation comedies such as Chicago Hope, Mike Hammer, Love American Style, Fantasy, and Sledge Hammer.
Zeman appeared as a series regular on the streaming series The Bay from 2010 to 2023. Her work as Sofia Madison earned her a Daytime Emmy nomination in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Daytime Fiction Program category in 2021.
Jacklyn received critical acclaim for her starring role in Montana Crossroads, an ABC Afterschool Special. She took a break from her busy General Hospital schedule to co-star as a lawyer in the ABC comedy movie for television Jury Duty. Under her own production banner she co-produced and co-starred in an original stage play, Seacliff California.
Jacklyn was a frequent guest on some of television's top talk and game shows. Her appearances include Good Morning America, Oprah, Donahue, Live With Regis & Kathie Lee, The Rosie O'Donnell Show, The Merv Griffin Show, Hollywood Squares, Family Feud, and Wheel of Fortune. Jacklyn hosted a popular cable special profiling the Men of Daytime and co-hosted a series of specials for EPCOT Magazine, on location in Florida with Michael Young, for the Disney Channel.
Jacklyn co-hosted ABC-TV affiliate morning shows throughout the country and was a family member and occasional co-host of ABC's Home Show, doing special segments on beauty, health, fitness, and fashion. Jacklyn's first book, Beauty on the Go, was published by Simon and Schuster in 1986. She wrote beauty and fitness feature articles for major consumer magazines and columns for daytime television publications. She contributed recipes to more cookbooks than she could count in order to help raise money for various charitable organizations.
Jacklyn was the national spokesperson for the International Correspondence Schools. Jacklyn also devoted her time and energies to help support public awareness programs for organ donors, and filmed a video used in hospitals nationally to promote Hepatitis B vaccines to medical workers.
Honors and awards over the years include six Daytime Emmy Award nominations, including one for Outstanding Lead Actress in 1998, a Soap Opera Digest Award, and the Les Etoiles de Coeur Award from the American Heart Association, the Left-handers Society's Outstanding Left-hander of the Year award, and the Hollywood International Favorite Actress Award.
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