SUNDAY UPDATE (8/1/2021): It is with great sadness to report that soap alum Jay Pickett (“Port Charles,” “General Hospital,” “Days of our Lives”) has died. He was just 60 years old.
The official Facebook page for “Treasure Valley,” the new film in which Pickett had written, starred in and was co-producing stated, “There is no official explanation for the cause of his death but it appears to have been a heart attack. Everyone present tried as hard as they could to keep him alive. Our hearts are broken and we grieve for his family who are so devastated by this shocking tragedy.”
On Saturday, the film’s co-producer Jim Heffel shared the news of Pickett’s passing on Facebook, saying, “Yesterday I lost a good friend and the world lost a great person.” He added, “Jay died sitting on a horse ready to rope a steer in the movie ‘Treasure Valley’ in Idaho.The way of a true cowboy.” The film was written by Pickett who was also serving as its co-producer.
“My greatest friend has sadly left this world,” wrote former “Port Charles” co-star Michael Dietz (ex-Joe Scanlon) on Facebook. “We met when we were cast as brothers on ‘Port Charles’ many many years ago. He played my big brother on TV but that carried over into real life and an amazing friendship that was one of a kind,” said Dietz. “He was an incredible husband, father, friend and Godfather to my daughter. Everyone that knew him loved him. I love you Jay. Keep smiling my friend. All my love to his family who truly became our family as well. You will be forever missed. ❤️ until I see you again….”
Born February 10, 1961 in Spokane, Washington, Pickett earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Boise State University. He later earned a Masters of Fine Arts degree from UCLA. He was an expert roper and western rider.
In addition to his portrayal as Frank Scanlon on “Port Charles” from 1997-2003, Pickett entered the daytime soap arena as Dr. Chip Lakin on “Days of our Lives” from 1991-1992. He later portrayed the role of Lorenzo Alcazar on “General Hospital” as a temporary recast in 2006. Due to high interest, he returned to the soap, this time as Detective David Harper from 2007-2008. The actor appeared in numerous primetime TV shows including “The Mentalist,” “NCIS: Los Angeles” and “Queen Sugar,” just to name a few. In film, he starred in several westerns, including “Heart of the Gun,” “Catch the Bullet” and “Soda Springs,” among others.
Pickett is survived by his wife of 36 years, Elena, and their three children: daughters Maegan and Michaela, and son, Tyler.