Veteran soap opera actor John Reilly, whose daytime roles included stops on As the World Turns, General Hospital, Passions, and Sunset Beach, passed away Saturday evening. He was 84.
The news of Reilly's passing was shared by his daughter Caitlin Reilly on Instagram. The TikTok personality wrote, "John Henry Matthew Reilly AKA Jack. The brightest light in the world has gone out. Imagine the best person in the world. Now imagine that person being your dad," Caitlin wrote. "I'm so grateful he was mine. I'm so grateful I got to love him. I'm so grateful I made it in time to hold him and say goodbye. I honestly don't know what I'm going to do, but I know he'll be with me. I love you forever Daddy."
A cause of death was not provided.
Born on November 11, 1936, in Chicago, Reilly's early acting career included work from 1974 to 1976 as Dan Stewart on As the World Turns. His time in Oakdale was short, just two years, but it foreshadowed a career that included memorable daytime characters. In February 1984, Reilly made his debut as Sean Donely, a former WSB boss. His character would later be paired with Tiffany Hill. His most recent appearance on GH came in 2013.
"The entire General Hospital family is heartbroken to hear of John Reilly's passing," General Hospital said in a post on its Twitter account. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to his loved ones. Rest in peace."
"Such a good man, husband and father," John J. York (Mac Scorpio) shared on Twitter. "Sooo many wonderful memories! God’s speed my friend."
General Hospital's Kristina Wagner (Felicia Scorpio) took to social media to share an old school Polaroid photo. "Sean Donnelly was Felicia's father figure. He and Frisco protected the princess. Rest in peace John Reilly. YOU were a treasure," she shared in an accompanying message. "Sending love to his family."
A wardrobe polaroid from my collection. Sean Donnelly was Felicia's father figure. He and Frisco protected the princess. Rest in peace John Reilly. YOU were a treasure. Sending love to his family. #RIPJohnReilly #GeneralHospital pic.twitter.com/vdRyxDAh8s— Kristina Wagner (@KristinaWagnr) January 10, 2021
In a post on her Instagram account, Finola Hughes (Anna Devane) recalled her first encounter with Reilly. "One of the first days I walked on the GH set this tall, handsome man in a leather jacket sauntered towards me. In his deep, all American growl he welcomed me to the show and told me he would be there for me should I ever need anything. Boy was he true to his word," she recalled. "His love of his wife Liz and their gorgeous daughters was legion. I am so happy I got to experience and see that love firsthand. One of a kind. Fellow Irishman, God speed."
Journalist Michael Logan called Reilly "a grand actor with old-time movie star charm and just about the sweetest, coolest guy on earth."
RIP John Reilly. To know him was to love him. John was a grand actor with old-time movie star charm and just about the sweetest, coolest guy on earth. What fabulous magic he made with Sharon Wyatt as Sean & Tiffany on @GeneralHospital! ??#GH #ATWT #Passions #Dallas #Dynasty pic.twitter.com/6iDak49yn0— Michael Logan (@TVGMLogan) January 11, 2021
Reilly also appeared as Del Douglas in the short-lived NBC soap Sunset Beach, and later as Alistair Crane on Passions. He also made appearances on the GH primetime spinoff, General Hospital: Night Shift, as well as the Emmy-winning streaming series The Bay. Outside of daytime, Reilly appeared in the Barbra Streisand film The Main Event, and on primetime programs that included Arli$$, Melrose Place, Empty Nest, Three's Company, The Bionic Woman, and dozens of other programs.
McKenzie Westmore (ex-Sheridan Crane) took to Twitter to express her grief. "Heartbroken at the passing of my onscreen dad - John Reilly. May he Rest In Peace," she wrote.
Heartbroken at the passing of my onscreen dad - John Reilly. May he Rest In Peace ???????? pic.twitter.com/S71KFkQsdK— McKenzie Westmore (@mckenziewestmor) January 10, 2021
Reilly is survived by his wife Liz and three daughters.
General Hospital has announced that the show is working on a tribute episode for Reilly. Learn more about that part of the story here.
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