Gerald “Jerry” M. verDorn, who is best known to daytime-TV audiences for his run as Guiding Light‘s Ross, died peacefully at home on Sunday after a months-long cancer illness. He was 72.
Born in Sioux Falls, S.D., verDorn after graduating from what is now Minnesota State University Moorhead had major roles in many seasons of summer theatre and also spent a year studying at an acting academy in London.
In June 1977, after marrying his college girlfriend, Bethea “Beth” Stewart, the two moved to the Big Apple, where among other stage productions verDorn understudied George Grizzard in the lead role of Shaw’s Man and Superman on Broadway, playing matinee performances for several months.
It was there that verDorn caught the eye of casting agents for CBS’ venerable Guiding Light, and he joined that cast in March 1979 as attorney Ross Marler, a role he played until 2005 and for which he earned two Daytime Emmys and four additional nominations.
In 2005, verDorn moved to One Life to Live, recreating the role of Clint Buchanan (originally played by Clint Ritchie) until that ABC serial and its online revival ended in 2013. He then retired after 34 years on daytime television.
VerDorn is survived by his wife Beth; his sons and daughters-in-law Jake and Laura verDorn and Peter and Erin verDorn; his sister Bonnie Simpfenderfer and brothers Jim verDorn and Dan Verdorn; and several nieces, nephews, cousins, and three young grandchildren.