In memoriam: Saying goodbye to the soap stars who died in 2019

Tribut to the soap opera stars lost in 2019.
There were some tough good-byes that had to be said in 2019. Pic credit: @ImageCollect.com/Carrie-nelson

2019 is winding down, and it is time to pay tribute to those talented soaps stars that were lost this year. It is never easy to say good-bye to some of daytime’s most famous actors and actresses.

Everyone on the list deserves to be remembered for the impact they left on the daytime community on and off-camera. Their legacies will live on forever.

Kristoff St. John (The Young and the Restless)

Kristoff St. John died in February from heart disease at the age of 52. The sudden death of the talented actor rocked the daytime community, with social media becoming flooded with tributes to Kristoff. Y&R paid tribute to him in April with a memorial service to Kristoff’s alter ego, Neil Winters. It was a send-off worthy of the extraordinary man fans, friends, colleagues, and family loved dearly. There will never be another like him, just ask anyone who had the privilege of knowing him.

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John Clarke (Days of our Lives)

John Clarke died in October from complications of pneumonia at the age of 88. The talented actor suffered a stroke in 2007, and sadly his health had been deteriorating since then. John was an original cast member on Days playing Mickey Horton, the son of Horton legacy couple, Tom and Alice. He was on the NBC show for 39 years before choosing to retire in 2004. There will never be another who played Mickey the way John did and NBC learned that the hard way. The character was eventually killed off-screen, but John will always be Mickey Horton to fans.

Luke Perry (Loving)

Luke Perry died in March after suffering a massive stroke at the age of 52. The shocking death of Luke rocked Hollywood and devastated fans, friends, colleagues, and his family. Although he will forever be Dylan McKay to fans, Luke’s brief stint on Loving kicked off his acting career.  Riverdale started Season 4 with a tribute episode to Luke and the character he played Fred Andrews. The passing of Luke Perry is still felt today by those who knew him and those whose lives he touched with his acting talents.

Cameron Boyce (General Hospital Night Shift)

Cameron Boyce died in July at the age of 20 from a seizure. His family later revealed the young actor passed away in his sleep due to issues related to a medical condition, which was epilepsy. Cameron got his acting start by playing Stone Cates, the young son of Jagger Cates (Antonio Sabàto, Jr.) on General Hospital: Night Shift. He went on to become a fixture on the Disney Channel. However, philanthropy was his true passion. Those close to Cameron are keeping his legacy alive by giving back and making his charity dreams a reality.

Georgia Engel (Passions)

Georgia Engel died in April at the age of 70. A cause of death was never revealed, but there is speculation her faith as a Christian Scientist played a part in it. The faith did not allow Georgia to seek out medical attention. The actress played Esmerelda on the NBC daytime drama, Passions, but many fans remember her as Georgette from The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Rhoda. She also played Robert’s mother-in-law on Everybody Loves Raymond. Acting was in her blood, and she made a fantastic career out of doing what she loved.

Jed Allen (Days of our Lives, Santa Barbara & Port Charles)

Jed Allen died in March at the age of 84. His son posted the news on Facebook, but the family never revealed a cause of death. Jed took the daytime community by storm as Don Craig on Days. He then went on to play C.C. Capwell on Santa Barbara and Ed Grant on Port Charles. One of his most memorable roles though was in primetime, as Rush Sanders, Steve’s (Ian Ziering) father on Beverly Hills 90210. Tributes poured in after news of Jed’s death broke. Those close to him agree there is an emptiness left following his death.

Carmen Duncan (Another World & As The World Turns)

Cameron Duncan died in February at the age of 76, after battling cancer for the fourth time. The Australian actress will always be remembered as Iris Wheeler, the troublemaking daughter of Mac Cory (Douglass Watson), who hated her stepmother Rachel Cory (Victoria Wyndham). After leaving the soap opera world, Cameron continued to act, mostly in Australia. She left behind two children and three grandchildren, as well as a fantastic acting legacy.

Brian Tarantina (One Life To Live)

Brian Tarantina died in November from an accidental drug overdose at the age of 60. The actor is known in the soap opera world as Lucky Lippman on One Life To Live. Although he left his mark in the daytime, Brian was a Broadway star, and he considered the theater his great passion. Brian also showcased his talents on TV shows such as Gilmore Girls, The Black Donnellys, and, most recently, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Current and past cast members, as well as fans, friends, and family, used social media to honor the extraordinary man following his death.

Candice Earley (All My Children)

Candice Earley died in January at the age of 68 following an eight-year struggle with Multiple Systems Atrophy. The disease is described as a rare neurodegenerative disorder that causes tremors, slows movement, and causes muscles to become rigid. Candice spent over 15 years playing Donna Beck on All My Children. She also loved to showcase her acting skills on Broadway. However, she retired from showbiz in 1992, leaving the ABC soap opera and New York behind for a life in Arkansas with her husband, Robert C. Nolan, who she married that same year.

William Wintersole (General Hospital & The Young and the Restless)

William Wintersole died in November at the age of 88 from complications related to his cancer battle. The actor played Mitchell Sherman, the prominent Genoa City attorney, whose biggest client was Katherine Chancellor (Jeanne Cooper), for nearly 20 years. Fans wondered where Mitchell was during Katherine’s funeral because it would have been perfect to have him read the will. William also made a pitstop in Port Charles as Ted Ballantine on General Hospital. He also had roles in hit TV shows such as I Dream of Jeannie and The Fugitive.

Pamela Payton-Wright (One Life to Live)

Pamela Payton-Wright died two weeks ago on December 14 at the age of 78. The cause of death has not been revealed yet. Pamela made her soap debut as Hazel on Another World in 1978. It was a short stint, though. She is best known as Addie Cramer on OLTL, joining the ABC daytime drama in 1995. Pamela played Addie off and on until the show was canceled. She was also a renowned Broadway star and last appeared on the stage as Mary Tyrone in Long Day’s Journey Into Night.

It has been a tough year for the soap world. As 2019 comes to a close, fans remember all of the talent lost along the way.

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