Bridget Dobson, Daughter Of General Hospital Creators Frank And Doris Hursley, Dead At 85

On January 6, blogger Pierpaolo Dongiovanni posted on Facebook that "Santa Barbara" co-creator Bridget Dobson died at age 85 on January 3, writing, "Jerome Dobson told me that his beloved wife Bridget passed away three days ago. They spent a lifetime together, co-created, co-produced, and beautifully co-wrote 'Santa Barbara,' among other things." He further explained that Bridget was a loving friend who inspired him. "She may be gone," he continued, "but always present. All my love to Jerry and Mary Dobson."

The soap opera world reeled from the news of Dobson's passing, as "General Hospital" star Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis Davis) ruminated about her time playing Julia Wainwright on "SB," lovingly paying tribute to Dobson in a January 7 Instagram post. She captioned a picture of Dobson with, "Bridget Dobson and her husband Jerry hired me to play the most curious, absorbing, complex, inspiring character of my career." She felt privileged for the opportunity and acknowledged that it helped her career, making her a well-known star worldwide.

Dobson's parents were the legendary creators of "GH," Frank and Doris Hursley, and she would go on to a writing and producing career. In 2000, she told Soap Opera Weekly that she started "By begging my way into writing 'General Hospital.' My parents thought I was a "party girl" and really did not want me to write with them or for them." Much like a real soap, she threatened to leave until they acquiesced to her demands.

The Dobsons hit a few snags on their way to success

Between 1967 and 1983, Bridget Dobson wrote for the daytime serials "General Hospital," "Guiding Light," and "As the World Turns." Eventually, she wanted to move away from the genre. But in her Soap Opera Weekly interview, she was asked if there was a turning point in her life. "Saying that we didn't want to write soap [operas] anymore and retiring from 'As the World Turns,'" she remarked, "That's when NBC came to us and said, 'What would it take to get you back into the business?' That's basically when they had to give us 'Santa Barbara.'"

However, it wasn't all roses as the couple hit stumbling blocks twice. In 1989, TV Guide reported that the Dobsons filed a lawsuit for the sum of $53 million against NBC, alleging that they had been locked out of the studio by the network in 1987. They had also sold the show to New World Television in 1985 but ended up in a legal battle with that company after it fired head writer Anne Howard Bailey, and the matter was eventually settled out of court in 1988. "Santa Barbara" eventually found its way, winning 24 Daytime Emmys over the course of its run.

Other soap stars who paid tribute included "Santa Barbara" cast members Lane Davies, who played Mason Capwell, and John Wesley Ship, who played Martin Ellis. Dobson will be sadly missed by the entire soap opera world.