A mention of Lady Jane Jacks on GENERAL HOSPITAL, had some newer viewers wondering exactly who that character was. She was Jax’s mother, and her death was first mentioned in the April 3, 2017 episode of the soap to reflect the real-life passing of her portrayer, Barbara Tarbuck in December of 2016. But who was Lady Jane?
The character of Lady Jane was introduced to GH in 1996 as Jax’s mother. She and her husband, John Jacks, had a loving marriage and they raised their sons Jasper and Jerry in a life of adventure. However, even though Jerry turned to evil, she still loved her son. In fact, even after Jerry had plastic surgery to disguise his appearance, Lady Jane was the only one to recognize him at Jax’s wedding and realize immediately that he was her child.
Lady Jane was also very supportive of Jax’s relationship with Carly, believing she was the best woman for her son. So she was naturally quite disappointed when she learned that the couple had divorced after years of marriage.
The last time Lady Jane was seen on screen on GH was in January of 2010 when she attended her granddaughter, Josslyn’s, christening. In spring of 2011, Jax declared his intention to take Joss to visit her grandmother in Australia. Sadly, Jax admitted that his mother was ill in early 2017, and in April, he returned to Port Charles again to break the news that Lady Jane had died. He assured Josslyn that she died peacefully in her sleep and he was by her side the whole time so she was never alone. He also gave Joss a letter from her grandmother, but the young woman wasn’t ready to read it yet and put it aside for later. You can watch the powerful scene right here:
WATCH: Jax and Josslyn mourn the unexpected passing of Jane Jacks. #RIP #GH pic.twitter.com/b7Vf1BhHo9
— General Hospital (@GeneralHospital) April 3, 2017
Lady Jane’s portrayer, Barbara Tarbuck, died on Dec. 27 at the age of 74 from Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a degenerative brain disorder. “She was the kindest, warmest person, and it was always a joy to be around her,” recalled on-screen son Ingo Rademacher (Jax). “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.”
Tarbuck began her career as a little girl in radio before appearing on numerous television series including primetime sudsers DALLAS, KNOTS LANDING, FALCON CREST, and DYNASTY. On stage, she acted in plays by Harold Pinter, David Mamet, and Neil Simon. And on the big screen, Tarbuck could be seen in films such as Short Circuit, Curly Sue, and Walking Tall. More recently, she was seen as Mother Superior Claudia in AMERICAN HORROR STORY: ASYLUM.
Take a look back at Tarbuck’s acting career in our special gallery below featuring just some of the many roles she played during her life.
For more on the stars of GH — past and present — keep reading the ABC edition of Soaps In Depth magazine.
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More from ABC Soaps In Depth
Barbara Tarbuck Gh 01
With Ingo Rademacher (Jax), Laura Wright (Carly) and Aaron Refvem (Morgan) on GH in 2010
Barbara Tarbuck Golden Girls 02
As Martha McDowell with Betty White's Rose on THE GOLDEN GIRLS
Barbara Tarbuck Journeyman 01
Playing Barbara Vasser on the NBC series JOURNEYMAN in 2007
Barbara Tarbuck Gh 03
With Laura Wright (Carly) and baby Josslyn on GH in 2009
Barbara Tarbuck Golden Girls 01
Guest-starring on THE GOLDEN GIRLS with Estelle Getty and Bea Arthur
Barbara Tarbuck Stage
Starring in The Cripple of Inishmaan on stage in 1998
Barbara Tarbuck Journeyman 02
With Lisa Sheridan on JOURNEYMAN in 2007
Barbara Tarbuck Hal Linden
With Hal Linden at a Tony Awards celebration in Hollywood in 2015
Barbara Tarbuck Gh 04
With her GH son Jax, played by Ingo Rademacher in a scene from 2010
Barbara Tarbuck Journeyman 03
With Gretchen Egolf and Kevin McKidd on JOURNEYMAN
Barbara Tarbuck Golden Girls 03
In the GOLDEN GIRLS episode "To Catch a Neighbor"