General Hospital Character Deaths That Occurred After An Actor Death

The circle of life comes to soap operas both on-screen and off. Favorite characters often die as a plot point and something to move the story along. Sometimes it happens because an actor wants to leave the show and sometimes the writers decide that a character has run his or her course.

Then there are times when a character hasn't run their course at all and instead is beloved and someone fans want to have around forever. There have been several such characters on "General Hospital," but sadly, when the actors who have played these characters for years pass on, the soap makes it a point to write the death into the story, allowing a beloved character to pass on in their sleep or while out of town. Two of those deaths occurred in recent times, while others happened years ago. While it's tragic when an actor dies, "GH" typically finds a way to remember that character in a special way.

Anna Lee — Lila Quartermaine

Anna Lee spent much of her career as a Hollywood starlet, appearing in such films as "The Sound of Music," "How Green is My Valley," and "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" (via IMDb). In 1978, the British-born actress was already in her 60s when she joined the cast of "General Hospital" as the spunky Quartermaine matriarch, Lila Quartermaine. Lee spent her last years bringing Lila to life, even when a car accident left her in a wheelchair (via The Famous People).

"GH" also outraged fans when it unceremoniously took Lee off contract in 2003, making Lila's appearances on the show almost non-existent. The next year, Lee passed away from pneumonia at the age of 91 (via Soaps.com). Lila was said to have died peacefully in her sleep and her children, Alan and Tracy, mourned her right along with the rest of the fictional town of Port Charles — and her legions of devoted daytime fans.

John Beradino — Dr. Steve Hardy

When "General Hospital" first premiered on April 1, 1963, John Beradino was there as beloved Dr. Steve Hardy, who ended up being the show's first romantic lead, eventually marrying Nurse Audrey March (Rachel Ames). Beradino began his career as a child actor in the "Our Gang" film shorts but then made it into the world of professional baseball before he returned to acting after a 1953 leg injury, according to The New York Times.

Ten years later, he made his way to the soap opera world on "GH" and played Dr. Hardy, the heart of Port Charles General Hospital, until 1993 when cancer forced him to leave the role. He received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame the same year and died on May 19, 1996. His death was soon written into the show as Steve's family and friends were informed he had died of a heart attack off screen (via Soap Central).

Susan Brown — Gail Baldwin

Susan Brown had also been a longtime working actress in Hollywood when she took on the role of psychiatrist Gail Baldwin on "General Hospital" in 1969 (via IMDb). As the wife of Lee Baldwin (Peter Hansen) and stepmother to Scotty Baldwin (Kin Shriner), Gail became a beloved character who heard everyone's problems and kept them to herself.

Brown had been suffering from Alzheimer's Disease for several years when she passed away on August 31, 2018 (via Soap Hub). Although she had not appeared on screen since attending Lila's funeral in 2004, per Soaps In Depth, her death hit the residents of Port Charles hard. "GH" even gave her an entire tribute episode in 2019 in which Gail sent her old friends on a treasure hunt throughout the hospital, with the treasure turning out to be envelopes of confetti, telling her friends that the fun of the hunt was her gift to them (via Soap Hub).

John Reilly — Sean Donely

In 1984, "General Hospital" met a new spy on a show filled with super spies. John Reilly debuted as Sean Donely, the head of the fictional World Security Bureau (via IMDb). He sparred with fellow WSB agents Anna Devane (Finola Hughes) and Robert Scorpio (Tristan Rogers) and eventually fell in love with and married Tiffany Hill (Sharon Wyatt). Reilly left "GH" and the role of Sean in 1994, but made occasional appearances on the spin-off series "General Hospital: Night Shift" and another "GH" appearance in 2013 (via Soaps In Depth).

When Reilly died at the age of 86 on January 10, 2021, according to Deadline, the show wrote his death into the story with a special episode devoted just to Sean in which his former spy friends had to solve a big WSB case that turned out to be a way to tell Sean's daughter, Annie, that she had been accepted into the WSB. Annie was also played by Reilly's real-life daughter, Caitlyn Reilly (via Soap Hub).