2016 has given daytime fans another shocking loss. Soap opera alum Barbara Tarbuck (ex-Lady Jane Jacks, General Hospital; Sister Allegra, Santa Barbara) passed away on December 27 at the age of 74.
The Michigan native got her start in the entertainment business at the age of nine when she landed a series regular role on a children's radio series called Storyland. Tarbuck took a short break from professional acting to attend Cooley High School and Wayne State University but stayed active on the stage via school theater productions. She later earned her Master's Degree in Theater at the University of Michigan and went on to Indiana University to work as the lead actress in the inaugural season of the school's theater touring company.
After a brief stint in which she taught acting while working on her PhD, Tarbuck received a Fulbright Grant to study in London, which she says eventually gave her the courage to move to New York City to pursue her acting career.
"I recently found an essay I had written about the theatre years ago. In it I write I had been afraid to take myself seriously as an artist until I won the Fulbright Grant to study in London," the actress wrote on her official website. "It was then I was asked, 'What made me decide to make the theatre my life.' I don't remember what I answered. What I do remember is that I was accorded the respect and regard of a professional. It was no longer every little girl's dream."
After arriving in NYC, Tarbuck quickly landed roles in popular television shows like The Waltons, Quincy M.E., Cagney & Lacey, and The Golden Girls. However, she managed to gain quite a large daytime following due to her several soap opera roles.
The actress played the roles of Dallas's Agnes; Dynasty's Dr. Holton; Falcon Crest's Dr. Randall; Knott's Landing's Mrs. Schumacher; Santa Barbara's Sister Allegra; and General Hospital's Lady Jane Jacks, a character she originated in 1996 and played on a recurring basis until 2010.
Despite aging, theater remained ever present in Tarbuck's life, who more recently appeared on series like Dexter, American Horror Story: Asylum, and Mad Men.
"Teaching and acting and directing all feed one another in me," she shared on her blog. "I am as stimulated and questioned by the young people in my life as I am by new material or a famous director's notes. On stage, before the camera, and in the classroom are the questions, demands, disappointments, delights that feed my soul. Mine is a life of continual change and upheaval. It is freedom and renewal and an underlying belief in the strength and dignity of human expression."
UPDATE: Ingo Rademacher (Jasper Jacks), who played Tarbuck's on-screen soon, took to Instagram to mourn her passing
So shocked to hear about my TV moms passing on the 26th of December. I first met Barbara in 1996 and she played Lady Jane jacks for 20 years. She was the kindest warmest person and it was always a joy to be around her. Was hoping we would have many more years of great scenes with her. My thoughts go out to her family, her daughter who she talked about often. I will miss you Mom. #barbaratarbuck @generalhospitalabc @realsebroche
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