Tragic news from the daytime television world:
Jeffrey Carlson, an actor who played the first-ever transgender character on the long-running soap opera All My Children, has passed away unexpectedly.
He was 48 years old.
The star’s death was first publicly announced by Time Out New York theater editor Adam Feldman.
“RIP Jeffrey Carlson, 48, nerve-bare star of Broadway (Billy in The Goat, Marilyn in Taboo) and TV (the groundbreaking trans character Zoe in All My Children),” he tweeted on July 8.
“A powerful actor and a painful loss.”
Carlson – a graduate of the University of California Davis who also attended New York City’s Juilliard School – made his Broadway debut in 2002 in the play The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?
Carlson debuted on All My Children in August 2006 as a British rock star named Zarf, before returning to the show using the name Zoe.
Wrote actress Susan Hart shared on Facebook in the wake of this terrible development:
“For those of you who don’t know, I am very sorry to share the news that Jeffrey passed away yesterday.
“I have respected his family’s privacy by not sharing the news sooner… couldn’t breathe or function either… still can’t… love to all… just broken.”
“They hired me as a day player, but then they wrote me on the show. My parents were thrilled,” Carlton told Chicago-based LGBTQ+ newspaper Windy City Times in 2013 about his role in All My Children.
“I met with the producer and they explained that they wanted to do the first male-to-female transgender coming-out story on daytime television.
“I asked, ‘How are you going to do it?’ She said, ‘With dignity.’”
Eden Riegel, who played Zoe’s girlfriend Bianca on All My Children, paid tribute to her late costar on Twitter following the news of his death.
“Devastated beyond measure to learn of the passing of the beautiful and gifted Jeffrey Carlson,” the actress wrote.
“I am lucky enough to have called this kind soul a friend and got to see his brilliant work up close. Gone way too soon – an unimaginable loss. I love you, Jeffrey. Rest friend.”
No cause of death has been announced at this time.
“I was very moved by it,” Carlson told the Los Angeles Times of the storyline in 2006. “If it leads to a conversation, I think we’ve done our job.”
The arc earned All My Children a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Daily Drama in 2007… while Carlson finished his run on the ABC soap later that year before returning to theater work.
May Jeffrey Carlson rest in peace.
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