Soap star Jacklyn Zeman, who played Bobbie Spencer on General Hospital for more than four decades, has died at the age of 70.
Zeman passed following a short battle with cancer, her family told ABC News.
“On behalf of our General Hospital family, I am heartbroken to announce the passing of our beloved Jackie Zeman,” executive producer Frank Valentini tweeted on Wednesday. “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. 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.”
The ABC daytime soap’s production also released a statement in the wake of Zeman’s passing: “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. We are devastated by the news of her passing, and send our deepest condolences to Jackie’s family, friends and loved ones.”
Rick Springfield, the ’80s rock star who played Dr. Noah Drake on the soap, added this tribute to Deadline: “Incredibly stunned and brokenhearted to hear of Jackie’s passing. Such a truly kind soul with no touch of the diva and only sweet things to say about everyone. She was the one, along with Gloria Monty, who helped launch my ’80s career when after the screen test along with several other hopeful young men. Gloria asked Jackie who she thought would make a good Noah Drake and God bless her if Jackie didn’t say me. Love to your spirit as it ascends, sweet girl. You left your mark on many of us and you will not be forgotten.” (For additional tributes, click here.)
Zeman had a regular role on One Life to Live before debuting as Bobbie on General Hospital in 1977. She remained a regular on GH until 2010, earning a total of four Daytime Emmy nominations: three for best supporting actress and one for best lead actress. She shifted to a recurring role on the show in 2013, still appearing in episodes earlier this year. She also appeared on the streaming soap The Bay.
Bobbi and Lucy were always my favorites. BOTH characters showed such growth. But Bobbi was on since I 1st started watching as a teen, so I enjoyed watching her for literally decades and am sad to hear of her passing. :(
*Frank Valentini, not Gary
I fondly remember Jackie’s very first episode of GH and she remained a personal favorite throughout her tenure as Barbara Jean Spencer. She was always such a lovely, dignified and constant cheerleader for the show and her many costars during the years. You will be greatly missed but certainly never forgotten, sweet Jackie. Rest in peace. 💔
I’m absolutely shocked!!! My sister and I were just talking about how great she looked. This is so sad. Deepest condolences to her family and her GH family and all those who have known and worked with her over the years. She was in the business a long time! GH has experienced a lot of unexpected loss recently which is very sad. This will be another very difficult loss for the GH family. Ugh…this is just very sad!!!
I’ve been watching General Hospital since it started I feel so bad that such a beautiful woman passed away due to cancer. My heart goes out to her family and she will be dearly missed rest in peace
I too have been watching GH since the beginning. Still love it, it’s better than most of the network prime time shows. I was very shocked to hear about Jackie’s untimely passing. She is from Bergen County, NJ which is where I am from. RIP, you will be missed.
Have watched & loved Jackie Zeman for all of her 45 years of acting. Will miss and love her always. So so shocked of her passing. Prayers for her and her family. RIP. ♥️🙏🏻
She was a crush I had as a little kid. As I grew older I realized besides being beautiful she was talented RIP
Her family has since announced she died following a brief cancer battle.
Rip Bobby Spencer loved your character on GH. Prayers go out to her family and friends. She will be truly missed.
This was the 1st thing that “greeted” me this morning over coffee. I am shocked and saddened to say the least. I, too, remember Jackie’s first GH appearances – and when Anthony Geary joined her as her brother (the indelible Luke Spencer) it was magical. RIP Jackie – deepest condolences to your family and friends and to everyone that loved you and were privileged to have you love them back.
I am shocked by this news. I have been watching Jacklyn Zeman for 45 years. Rest in peace, Jacklyn.
Very sad news. Enjoyed Jackie Zeman’s portrayal as Barbara Jean Spencer for over 40+ years. She will be missed. RIP Bobbi
RIP beautiful lady.
I can’t even find the words. My sister and I grew up watching GH.
Jackie brought poise, dignity and an unmatchable flair to the show – something heaven is getting a sneak peek at now. Miss you already. Our deepest condolences to the family.
I’m so sad to hear this news. Bobbie was always one of my favrotie characters on the show.
RIP to the beautiful and talented Jacklyn Zeman. Bobbie was such a firecracker character and Jackie was a wonderful actress. My condolences to her family and her GH family.
Watched her when she was on One Life to Live. Great actress and she will be greatly missed. Sending thoughts & prayers to her family and friends. May she rest in peace.
Rest in Peace sweet lady. You entertained me for many of those 4 decades on General Hospital. Prayers for your family and friends. God Speed.
What I don’t like about this article is that it completely downplays her current role. Maybe it’s just me because I still watch. But I mean, she literally JUST HOSTED THE NURSES BALL a month ago! She may be recurring, but she recurs often enough! And they just had Bobbie replace Lucy in managing and hosting the Nurses’ Ball while Lucy was kidnapped and hidden away. And to be honest, the fact that the show has continued to use and pay respect to these actors who have such a rich history with the show, is awesome!
Anyway, I wish this article didn’t dismiss her current role on the show because she still played an active role, even if it was recurring. And considering that her character’s family is going through a crisis right now, and Carly is a major player, it’s going to be shocking for the storylines too when they have to announce her death. They will probably wait like they did with Sonya Eddy. But Sonya’s role wasn’t as in the middle of everything and everyone as Bobbie Spencer was. I’m glad Jackie got to host the Nurses’ Ball before dying, and play a prominent role once again. I wonder if they planned it that way on purpose. I hope the show handles this well.
She’s definitely been on the show more in the last few months. In addition to the Nurse’s Ball, she just had those lovely scenes with in the episodes around her grandson’s wedding. To be honest. with the writers strike going on, I hope they do wait to do anything honor her or the character until the strike is over, so they writer’s who know her history can think of something special.
She was the best lovely in every way rip
Bobbie and Noah were one of my favorite GH couples. Rest in Peace, Jackie. Condolences to her family and friends.
I am so sad to read this news. As a long-time General Hospital viewer, I have been watching since Jacklyn Zeman’s first appearance. Loved the stories with her and her brother Luke, and Laura and Scotty. I appreciate General Hospital keeping so many of the older actors around when they can. I will miss seeing Bobbie and hope the writers give her a nice tribute when they return from their strike.
Bobbi and Roy DeLuca. Those were the days. I remember her from OLTL.
Bobbie was the original OG Spencer. Luke came to town to help out his little sister, and originally was only going to be on for 13 weeks.
Without them, General Hospital would have been canceled during the Carter Administration.
I hope they can get all the remaining Spencers back on board for the inevitable tribute episode (and for Hell’s sake, don’t let the scabs write it!)
And that includes Luke. Y’all know he ain’t dead. Take my word for it…. wouldn’t I be the first to know if he was?
It was always a delight to see Bobbie in a scene. I was especially touched by the mother daughter scenes with Carlie. GH has suffered its losses these past few months and my condolences go to the cast and crew who knew her and loved her as Jackie as well as to her loving family and friends. Thank you Jackie for bringing hours of entertainment, joy and tears over the many years playing Bobbie on General Hospital.
Had no idea. Did notice she had not looked the healthiest in the world but assumed it was just her losing weight. Rest in peace our Bobbie Spencer.