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In Appreciation: Jacklyn Zeman

Jacklyn Zeman, best known as Nurse Bobbie Spencer on General Hospital, has passed away. The Englewood, New Jersey, native died at Los Robles Regional Medical Center in Thousand Oaks, California, came after a “short battle” with cancer, according to her family.

Zeman played Bobbie for more than 45 years on the daytime drama, and remained one of its central legacy characters. From the beginning, her character was part of some of the series’ biggest drama; as the sister of Luke (Anthony Geary), object of affection for Scotty Baldwin (Kin Shriner), and rival of Laura (Genie Francis), Zeman provided the plenty of fire at a time when both the show and daytime drama in general burnt at their brightest.

But Zeman’s contributions only grew in value over the decades, and she played a vital part in several of the genre’s greatest storylines, including serving as an ally and surrogate mother to Elizabeth Webber (Rebecca Herbst) following her rape; the discovery that her husband (Brad Maule) was cheating on her with Carly Benson (Sarah Joy Brown at the time) and the subsequent revelation that Carly was the daughter she had given away at birth; and the loss of her daughter, B.J., following a school bus accident. Most count the last as one of the most seminal storylines in all of television, and Zeman was magnificent throughout. Of her four career Emmy nominations, three came during this most acclaimed period.

And while the writers pulled back on the character of Bobbie in later years, she still appeared sporadically, usually to provide succor to Carly (later Tamara Braun, currently Laura Wright) and interact with the many long-term characters who continued on the show, contributing to a shared sense of history. Last month, General Hospital aired its most recent Nurses Ball, which included a tribute to the character of Bobbie.

That tribute will also now serve as a tribute to Zeman’s great talent and spirit, which always shone bright as Bobbie.