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Why Bobbie’s Memorial Was Delayed on GENERAL HOSPITAL


When veteran soap star Jacklyn Zeman passed way on May 9, 2023, GENERAL HOSPITAL fans knew that the soap would do a tribute to the beloved actress and her character of Bobbie Spencer, but unfortunately, real life got in the way and those episodes didn’t actually come to air until January 2024.

“Jackie passed away while we were in the middle of the writers’ strike, and I wanted to make sure that we saved Bobbie’s memorial and everything dealing with Bobbie’s and how we were going to deal with the character parting the canvas,” GH’s executive producer, Frank Valentini, explained to People. “There was never any question in anyone’s mind that we weren’t going to recast Bobbie because that just would’ve been impossible and I think would not have honored the show. So we decided that Bobbie needed to have had some kind of purpose to help explain her exit.”

The two-episode tribute began with Port Charles coming together to mourn Bobbie at her memorial service and a reporter revealing her involvement in helping rescue victims of human trafficking, sending Carly and Felicia on a quest to complete Bobbie’s final mission. Valentini credits headwriters Dan O’Connor and Chris VanEtten with the idea of bringing Brighton Hertford, who used to play Bobbie’s daughter, B.J., back as the reporter who was later revealed to be the spirit of B.J. herself. 

GH Bobbie Nurses Ball 2023
Bobbie received a special tribute on stage at the Nurses Ball.Christine Bartolucci/ABC

Since the strike delayed the memorial service, Valentini was grateful that they were able to honor Bobbie and Jacklyn during the 2023 Nurses Ball in March, shortly before she passed. “Coincidentally, we did a big tribute to the character of Bobbie Spencer at the Nurses Ball this year, which I thought was magnificent, and Jackie loved it,” the producer revealed. “I mean, she had such a good time, and she was such a pleasure to work with and kept thanking me for the story. It gave the Nurses Ball meaning, it gave the hospital meaning. It worked on so many levels.

“I’m so happy that I did that,” Valentini continued. “That was such a smart thing to do. We got to honor Jackie while she was alive, and then when she passed, I wanted to make sure that the writers were the ones that… that it was in their very capable hands to not only break the news to the characters in Port Charles, but to also have her death count for something for the story.”

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