Jacklyn Zeman nurse Bobbie in General Hospital dies at 70

Jacklyn Zeman, aka Bobbie Spencer of ‘General Hospital’, dies at 70

Jacklyn Zeman, an Emmy-nominated actress who played the role of nurse Bobbie Spencer on the long-running soap opera General Hospital for nearly half a century, died Tuesday in Thousand Oaks, Calif. She was 70 years old.

Her death in Los Robles According to her family, she was admitted to the Regional Medical Center after a “brief battle” with cancer.

Announcing Ms. Zeman’s death On WednesdaySeries executive producer Frank Valentini wrote on Twitter, “Like her character, the legendary Bobbie Spencer, she was a shining light and a true professional who brought so much positive energy to work.”

As Barbara Jean (Bobbie) Spencer, Ms. Zeman was among the longest-lasting cast members on the series, which since 1963 has revolved around the lives of characters who work in the hospital and affluent business world of the fictional New York City of Port Charles. Ms. Zeman first appeared on the series in 1977 and appeared in nearly 900 episodes.

Bobbie was a student nurse who had left her previous life as a prostitute and put a baby up for adoption in Florida; vied for the affections of a law student named Scotty Baldwin; and was the younger sister of Luke Spencer, played by Anthony Geary.

She portrayed her character as a loving but tough nurse who emerged from a difficult past. In one scene, she defends her harsh upbringing to Mr. Baldwin, saying she was never given anything.

“I wanted Bobbie to be vivacious and have positivity and energy,” she said in an interview with TV Insider last year. “I wanted her to have intelligence, humor and love for people. Bobbie came from a dysfunctional background but wanted to have children and be a mother.”

“I wanted the character to be perky and come in like a hurricane,” she said.

Ms. Zeman has been nominated for four Daytime Emmy Awards for her work on the show and received a fifth nomination for her role on the television series The Bay in 2021.

Jacklyn Lee Zeman was born on March 6, 1953 in Englewood, New Jersey and grew up in Bergenfield. She was the eldest of three daughters born to Richard Zeman, an IBM engineer, and Rita (Duhart) Zeman Rohlman, who worked for Scholastic Magazine.

She started ballet training at the age of five, said Cassidy Zee Macleod, one of Ms Zeman’s two daughters. When she was 15, she moved to New York City to pursue dancing and briefly attended New York University, Ms. Macleod said. She was cast to play Lana McLain on One Life to Live in 1976 before moving to General Hospital in 1977.

In addition to Mrs Macleod and Lacey Rose Gorden, another daughter she had with her third husband, Glenn Gorden (they divorced in 2007), Mrs Zeman is survived by two sisters, Lauren Fischetti and Carol Kolb, and two grandchildren.

In April, “General Hospital” celebrated its 60th broadcast anniversary. Ms Macleod said one of her mother’s last appearances was at the series’ nurses’ ball in April.

Ms Macleod said her mother, who lived in Calabasas, California, admired Bobbie’s “strong-willed” role and that she and her sister recognized how deeply her mother’s role had impacted people when some of the nurses she mentored, describing how Bobbie had inspired them.

“We realized how many lives she touched,” Ms. Macleod said. “They said they became nurses because of her.”