How Cancer Took Away the Life of Jacklyn Zeman, the Beloved General Hospital Star

Jacklyn Zeman was a legendary actress who played the role of Bobbie Spencer on the ABC daytime soap opera General Hospital for over 45 years. She was a bright light and a true professional who brought so much positive energy to her work and her fans. Sadly, she passed away on May 9, 2023, at the age of 70, after a short battle with cancer. Here is a look at her life, career, and cause of death.

Early Life and Education

Jacklyn Lee Zeman was born on March 6, 1953, in Englewood, New Jersey, to a family of Jewish descent. Her parents were Rita Zeman-Rohlman, a magazine supervisor, and Richard S. Zeman, a systems engineer. She grew up in Bergenfield, New Jersey, and completed her high school studies at age 15, at Bergenfield High School. She then studied dance on a scholarship at New York University. She also worked as a Playboy Bunny at the Playboy Club in 1972.

Career and Achievements

Zeman began her acting career with several small parts before landing a regular role in the ABC soap opera One Life to Live, playing Lana McClain from 1976 to 1977. Later that year, she was cast as Bobbie Spencer on the sister-soap General Hospital, a role that made her a household name and a fan favorite. She played the character of Bobbie, a bad girl turned heroine, on a regular basis until 2010, and then on a recurring basis since 2013. She received four Daytime Emmy Award nominations for her role, three for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series and one for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.

Zeman also appeared in other television and film projects, such as the comedy film National Lampoon’s Class Reunion (1982), the spoof film Young Doctors in Love (1982), and the TV movies Jury Duty: The Comedy (1990) and Montana Crossroads (1993). She also performed in off-Broadway and other productions, such as Come Blow Your Horn, Barefoot in the Park, and The Boy Friend. In 2021, she received another Daytime Emmy Award nomination for her role as Sofia Madison in the streaming series The Bay.

Personal Life and Relationships

Zeman was married three times and had two daughters, Cassidy and Lacey, from her third husband Glenn Gorden. Her first husband was Murray Kaufman, known professionally as Murray the K, a DJ. Her second husband was Steve Gribbin. She was a close friend of her General Hospital co-stars Shell Kepler (nurse Amy Vining) and Anna Lee (matriarch Lila Quartermaine), and delivered eulogies at their funerals. She was also close to John Stamos, who played her nephew Blackie Parrish on the show.

Cause of Death and Tributes

Zeman died at Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center in Thousand Oaks, California, on May 9, 2023, after a short battle with cancer, according to her family. Her death was announced by General Hospital executive producer Frank Valentini, who wrote on Twitter, “On behalf of our @GeneralHospital family, I am heartbroken to announce the passing of our beloved @JackieZeman. 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 also expressed his sympathy to her loved ones and said that her positive spirit will always live on with the cast and crew.

The ABC daytime soap opera also released a statement following the news of her death, stating, “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. 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.”

Several celebrity friends and colleagues paid tribute to the actress on social media, including John Stamos, who shared a touching tribute on Instagram alongside an old photo of the two. He wrote, “I am deeply saddened to hear about the passing of the talented and beloved actress, @jacklyn.zeman I recall the wonderful times we spent working together on General Hospital. Her warm personality and infectious energy always brightened my day. Jackie will forever hold a special place in my heart, and her memory will continue to inspire me. XO.”

Zeman’s fans also mourned her loss and thanked her for her decades of entertainment and inspiration. She was a legend in the soap opera world and a cherished member of the General Hospital family. She will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved her.

Doms Desk

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