It is with great sadness that we share the news that daytime veteran Gil Rogers passed away on March 2. The Kentucky native, who was known to soap viewers for his roles of GUIDING LIGHT good guy Hawk Shayne and ALL MY CHILDREN villain Ray Gardner, was 87. The actor’s daughter, actress Amanda Hall Rogers, announced her father’s death in a touching post on Facebook.
“As you all know, my dad was awesome,” she wrote. “He was my best friend, confidant, mentor, and just an awesome dad. He came to pick me and Charlotte Whitaker Zdanowski up at clubs at 2 a.m. in our teens to keep us safe and drank bourbon with me every day since moving out here [to California] two years ago. He was welcoming and kind, funny and gregarious, a shameless flirt, and a fierce protector. He loved his dinners with his grandkids and endured animated movies and discussions about Pokémon.”
Born and raised in Lexington, Kentucky, Rogers began acting as a child at the local Lexington Children’s Theatre. While attending Harvard University as a chemistry major, Rogers realized that he truly wanted to be a performer — and enrolled in the drama department of Transylvania University in his hometown. The actor’s prolific career as a performer spanned stage, television, film, and commercial work. He appeared in several Broadway productions, most notably a 2-and-a-half-year run as Sheriff Ed Earl Dodd in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. His film roles include Eddie Macon’s Run and the cult horror flick The Children, and Rogers was a spokesman for Grape-Nuts cereal, starring in a series of commercials over the course of five years. (He even owned a racehorse named Nutty Grapes.)
But to soap fans, Rogers will forever be known as GL’s Hawk and AMC’s Ray. He began his daytime career in 1964 with a small role on ANOTHER WORLD before landing a three-year stint as Dr. Martin Brandt on THE DOCTORS. He was tapped to play Tad and Jenny’s diabolical father on AMC in 1977 and appeared on the soap on and off until 1999. As the legend goes, Rogers was so convincing at playing the villainous Ray that he needed to have extra security at his family’s Manhattan apartment.
Rogers went across the dial to CBS in 1986, where he played Reva’s rodeo cowboy and conman dad on GL. Like with AMC, Rogers appeared on and off on the soap, making his final appearance during GL’s last days in 2009.
“I miss him so terribly already,” Amanda concluded her poignant post, adding that her father did not suffer at the end of his life. “He died in his sleep, without pain or fear. I am so grateful to have had such a great father and to have spent these past two years with him every day.”
We extend our condolences to the entire Rogers family at this difficult time.