After the Monday, August 9 episode of “General Hospital” concluded, longtime fans of the daytime drama series were treated to the anticipated on-air tribute to the late Stuart Damon who for more than 30 years portrayed the beloved Dr. Alan Quartermaine on the soap opera. Damon died in June after a long battle with renal failure. He was 84 years old.
The 30-second tribute highlighted highs and lows, happy times, and not-so-happy times for the Alan character. It particularly included clips of Damon’s Nurses Ball performances, notably when he embodied the Cowardly Lion from “The Wizard of Oz” during the 1995 celebration.
Unlike the tribute episode dedicated to the Sean Donely character, which aired in May following the January death of portrayer John Reilly, “GH” is not expected to incorporate a storyline involving the Alan character since the show had already killed off the character in 2007. After the infamous Metro Court hostage crisis, Alan suffered multiple heart attacks before succumbing to his death at General Hospital. The character’s tortuous death came as no medical help could be administered due to hostage-taker James Craig (later identified as Jerry Jacks; played by Sebastian Roché) refusing aide. Damon would later appear as a ghost version of Alan Quartermaine on the show over several episodes following the character’s death and throughout 2008. He again reprised the role, still as a ghost, over multiple episodes from 2011-2014.
Stuart Damon Tribute
To this day, fans still question why Alan Quartermaine had to die and in such a horrific manner. In fact, some of Damon’s co-stars were vocal about it at the time. Speaking with Soap Opera Digest around the time of the hostage crisis storyline, Rebecca Herbst (Elizabeth Webber) told the magazine, “It’s very sad, and I’m not afraid to say I don’t understand why and I do not agree with it at all. This does hurt. I’ve only been here 10 years, he’s been here almost 30, and that’s really hard to swallow.” Her words were amplified by Kimberly McCullough (ex-Robin Scorpio), who also told the magazine at the time, “It’s completely irresponsible and cruel and uncalled for. That’s on the record.”
A current writer for “The Bold and the Beautiful,” Daytime Emmy Award winner Michele Val Jean, who was part of the “GH” writing team at the time, finally put to rest long-held fan speculation that the show’s then head writer Robert Guza Jr. was the person responsible for deciding to kill off Alan Quartermaine. Val Jean tweeted, “This makes me inexpressibly sad. RIP, Big Stuie. It was a blast knowing you” in response to news of the actor’s passing. She later commented, “I’m saying this once and I’m not taking questions. I was there. In the writers room. Every day. Guza did not want to kill Alan Quartermaine.” She ended the tweet with the hashtags “full stop” and “bad rap.” Actress Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis Davis) responded to Val Jean’s tweet, saying, “I’ve no doubt. He wasn’t the showrunner or exec in charge. If I were in charge, (a fate worse than death to so many Flushed face) I would’ve cherished such an important character to the fabric of show, for fansake, and especially since being there meant so much to him.”
Grahn’s comment about how much being at the show meant to Damon echos that of the late actor’s son, Christopher, who told ABC7’s entertainment reporter George Pennacchio in announcing his father’s passing in June, “It was absolutely his favorite place to be. He loved playing Alan and was always so appreciative of that role and that job. It was his passion.”
Outside of playing the Alan character on both “GH” and its spinoff “Port Charles,” Damon appeared on the soap operas “As The World Turns,” “Days of our Lives” and “Hotel.” He starred in multiple TV movies and appeared in several TV shows throughout his career, but he’s best remembered to non-soap fans for his portrayal as the Prince in the 1965 CBS TV movie, “Cinderella.”
“What a lovely, funny, talented Prince of a man. He truly was Charming. What a pleasure it was to work with his iconic self. Condolences to his family,” Grahn said of her former colleague shortly after learning of his passing in June.
A Prince indeed!
Watch the ABC7 report on Damon’s June death below.
Watch the tribute to Stuart Damon shown at the tail end of the Monday, August 9 episode of “GH” below.