Jacklyn Zeman Of “General Hospital” Has Died
Last month, when Jerry Springer died, many 90s kids were taken back to simpler (and messier) times when they would fake sick from school to watch his show. And last night, we lost another daytime TV babysitter. Soap opera legend Jacklyn “Jackie” Zeman, who played Nurse Bobbie Spencer for over four decades on General Hospital, died. Jacklyn Zeman was 70.
Frank Valentini, an executive producer on General Hospital, delivered the sad news last night. Jackie’s family later told USA Today that she died after a short battle with that horrible mound of demon smegma known as cancer.
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. #GH
— Frank Valentini (@valentinifrank) May 11, 2023
Jackie Zeman was born on March 6, 1953, in Englewood, New Jersey. After graduating high school early at 15, she studied dance at NYU. Before Jackie began her journey to becoming a daytime soap opera institution, she worked as a Playboy Bunny at the Playboy Club in the early-70s and had a non-porn role as Office Girl in Deep Throat Part II.
In 1976, Jackie was cast as Lana McClain on One Life to Live and played the role for a year. In 1977, she landed the role that would turn her into a longtime soap opera icon. Teen prostitute turned nurse Barbara Jean “Bobbie” Spencer made her debut on General Hospital in December 1977. Nurse Bobbie was the younger sister of Luke Spencer (played by Anthony Geary) and came to Port Charles after being forced to give up her baby for adoption. Nurse Bobbie was a regular mainstay until 2010 when Jackie left GH. But General Hospital wasn’t without Nurse Bobbie for long because Jackie returned to the soap in 2013 and played Bobbie until her death.
One Life to Live was my soap opera of choice as a kid (yes, some of us 80s and 90s kids had soap operas of choice) because it’s what my mom watched during her lunch break at work, and I wanted to keep up with her stories. I even recorded OLTL on VHS! General Hospital aired right after OLTL and was on when I came home from school, so I’d watch that too. And whenever Nurse Bobbie entered a scene, it was like a ginger breath of fresh air glided into the room. During her time as Nurse Bobbie, Jackie brought talent and raw emotion to her scenes, and I still remember Bobbie finding out that her husband Tony cheated on her with Carly and Bobbie later finding out that Carly was the daughter she gave up for adoption!
And Jackie Zeman wouldn’t be a soap opera legend if she didn’t perfect the art of dramatically slapping a trick down:
Jackie Zeman was nominated for four Daytime Emmys for playing Nurse Bobbie. She got another Daytime Emmy nomination in 2021 for her performance in Peacock’s soap opera The Bay. Jackie was also in National Lampoon’s Class Reunion (1982) and guest-starred on an episode of Chicago Hope.
She was married three times. Her first husband was NYC DJ Murray the K, and they were married from 1979 to 1981. She married Steve Gibbin in 1985, and they divorced a year later. Jackie was married to her third husband, Glenn Gorden, from 1988 to 2007. They shared two daughters: 32-year-old Cassidy Zee Gorden and 30-year-old Lacey Rose Gorden.
Here are tributes to Jacklyn Zeman from General Hospital and many of her co-stars:
We are devastated by the news of her passing, and send our deepest condolences to Jackie’s family, friends and loved ones.
— General Hospital (@GeneralHospital) May 11, 2023
Rick Springfield (Dr. Noah Drake) on Jackie Zeman's passing: "Incredibly stunned and broken hearted 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…
— Deadline Hollywood (@DEADLINE) May 11, 2023
Jackie !!! ❤️ https://t.co/24eN9XOAPQ
— Laura Wright (@lldubs) May 11, 2023
Beautiful, beautiful Jackie. This was way too soon. pic.twitter.com/vrO2a2S5p1
— Genie Francis (@GenieFrancis) May 11, 2023
My earliest memories of my time on General Hospital involve @JackieZeman loving on & mothering me, gently guiding me toward success, where she felt so at home. Beautiful Queen, inside & out. I know everyone who loved her is devastated. My love to her girls, fam, work fam & fans💔 pic.twitter.com/8l4eYQSQCO
— Sarah Joy Brown (@sarahjoybrown) May 11, 2023
Jackie was the first person I spoke to when I walked on set to film my very first scene. I was so nervous, but she soothed me with hugs as she introduced herself. Thank you for all that you were to me & so many. Love you now & forever. My condolences to her beautiful family pic.twitter.com/HWAd7GCuIM
— Eden McCoy (@RealEdenMccoy) May 11, 2023
Rest in peace, Jacklyn Zeman.
Pic: Craig Sjodin/ABC