UPDATED: Jacklyn Zeman, who for over 45 years portrayed the role of Barbara Jean “Bobbie” Spencer on “General Hospital” has died. Executive producer Frank Valentini announced the news late this evening on social media. Zeman was just 70 years old.
According to ABC7, Zeman’s family informed ABC News that the actress died “after a short battle with cancer.”
Zeman joined the “General Hospital” cast in December 1977 after a relatively short run playing Lana McClain on “One Life to Live.” When she wasn’t playing a nurse in Port Charles, she appeared in Bay City as Sofia Madison on “The Bay.”
The recipient of five Daytime Emmy Award nominations throughout her career, three of which were for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Daytime Drama Series (1981, 1995 and 1997) for her role as Bobbie Spencer on “General Hospital” and another in 1998 for Outstanding Lead Actress for her work on the daytime drama series, Zeman was most recently nominated in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Daytime Fiction Program category for her role in “The Bay.”
“On behalf of our @GeneralHospital family, I am heartbroken to announce the passing of our beloved @JackieZeman,” said Valentini 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.” He added, “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.”
“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,” read a statement released by the show. “We are devastated by the news of her passing, and send our deepest condolences to Jackie’s family, friends and loved ones.”
In early April, “General Hospital” aired its annual Nurses Ball which included a moving tribute to Zeman’s character on the show. In her final tweet, Zeman thanked Valentini for the inclusion, saying, “To Frank Valentini with my love and heartfelt appreciation always.” She used the “heart” emoji to close out the post. A few days prior, she tweeted, “To all our @GeneralHospital friends and family. Thank you with love #gh60.”
Zeman’s additional TV credits include appearances in such shows as “The New Mike Hammer,” “Sledge Hammer!,” “Chicago Hope” and the digital series “Misguided.”
Zeman is survived by her daughters, Cassidy and Lacey, and her grandchildren, Kennedy and Decker.