The daytime community was heartbroken when actor Jeffrey Carlson died at the age of 48 on July 6, especially his former ALL MY CHILDREN co-star Eden Riegel (Bianca). During his time on the ABC soap in the groundbreaking role of transgender musician Zarf, later Zoe, the actors worked very closely together.
“Devastated beyond measure to hear of the passing of the beautiful and gifted Jeffrey Carlson,” Riegel shared on Twitter. “I feel fortunate to have called this kind soul a friend and see his brilliant work up close. Gone far too soon – an unimaginable loss. Love you, Jeffrey. Rest, friend.”
Back in 2006, Carlson played the groundbreaking character of Zarf, a British musician whose arc on AMC found him coming out as a transgender woman, transitioning as Zoe. The soap showed her falling in love with Bianca and beginning her transition journey, attending support groups and meeting with a doctor for gender-affirming healthcare. The storyline — and Carlson’s performance — earned AMC a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Daily Drama in 2007.
Daytime drama and other television came in the middle of Carlson’s career, which began and ended on the stage. He started out on Broadway in shows like The Goat or Who Is Sylvia?, Tartuffe, and Taboo. Later in his career, the actor performed works like Lorenzaccio and Hamlet at the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington D.C. Measure for Measure at the Goodman Theatre, and Henry IV and Edward II at Chicago’s Shakespeare Theatre.
The Shakespeare Theatre Company expressed their condolences on Carlson’s passing in a Facebook post featuring a photo of the actor on stage and ending with “Good night, sweet prince, and may flights of angels sing thee to they rest,” from Hamlet.