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Jane Elliot Reveals Why She Returns to GENERAL HOSPITAL


Fans were sad when Jane Elliot announced her retirement in 2017, but happy to find that it didn’t really stick, and the actress continued to return to GENERAL HOSPITAL as Tracy Quartermaine for frequent visits in the years that followed. While previous stints have been relatively brief, it’s said that her latest run — beginning on Tuesday, April 18 — will be much longer.

Of course, stepping back into Tracy’s shoes still proves daunting even after all these years. “The night before I go back, I don’t sleep because I’m so anxious that I’ve forgotten how to do it, I won’t be able to do it, and I’ll just be the new kid on the block again,” Elliot admitted to Soap Opera Digest. “And then, of course, I get onto set and I’m working with Wally [Kurth, Ned], Lisa [LoCicero, Olivia], Nancy Grahn (Alexis), or Lynn Herring (Lucy) and all of that disappears and I’m home.”

Back in the ‘70s, Elliot saw her friend, Deidre Hall, working steadily as Marlena on DAYS OF OUR LIVES and decided she needed to make a change in her own career. “She had a structure, she knew when she was going to work, she had scripts to learn, she had shows to do, she had a part to play,” the GH vet recalled. “And I was hand-to-mouthing it, paycheck to paycheck, job to job. And she had this stable life.”

General Hospital Edward Lila Tracy
Tracy was always stirring the pot among the Quartermaine family.ABC Photo Archives/ABC

In addition to the steady income, there was another important reason why Elliot informed her agent that she’d changed her mind about doing soaps. “I said, ‘I definitely want to do a soap,’” she recalled. “‘I’m sick of never having enough work to be able to hone my craft I want more hours in front of the camera. I want more flight time so I get to get good at what I do!’”

And she certainly did, earning four Daytime Emmy Award nominations in the Supporting Actress category over the years and taking home the trophy in 1981. It’s also why she’s happy to occasionally call up GH’s executive producer, Frank Valentini, to see if he can give her enough episodes to qualify for her union health insurance.

GH Tracy Alexis
Elliot’s last appearance was in January 2022 for Luke’s memorial service.ABC/Christopher Willard

“So when you see me on TV, when you see me playing this part on this show, that’s what you see,” Elliot declared. “You see somebody who has so fully realized my vision of where this was going to take me, and where it’s taken me is to comfort and ease. I’ve raised two children as a single mother on acting money and continue to be able to help my children on acting money. And that is, in my profession, a big win.

“So is it the character, is it the show, is it me?” she added. “It’s a combination of all of them, but I think the overriding aura there might be around me is appreciation that this is who I get to be and how I get to live my life. To get to love what you do and then have people love what you do? I mean, how many people can say that?”

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