Tragic news out of the daytime television world:
Jeffrey Carlson, an actor who portrayed the first-ever transgender character on the long-running soap opera All My Children, has passed away unexpectantly.
He was 48 years old.
The star’s death was first announced publicly by Time Out New York theater editor Adam Feldman.
“RIP Jeffrey Carlson, 48, exposed-nerve star of Broadway (Billy in The Goat, Marilyn in Taboo) and TV (the groundbreaking trans character Zoe on All My Children),” he tweeted on July 8.
“A powerful actor and a painful loss.”
Carlson — a graduate of University of California Davis who also studied at New York City’s Juilliard School — made his Broadway debut in the 2002 play The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?
Carlson debuted on All My Children in August 2006 as a British rock star named Zarf, before returning to the show with the name Zoe.
Wrote actress Susan Hart shared on Facebook in the wake of this horrible development:
“For those of you that don’t know, I’m very sorry to share the news that Jeffrey passed away yesterday.
“I have been respectful of his family’s privacy in not sharing the news sooner… also could not breathe or function… still can’t… love to all… just devastated.”
“They hired me as a day player but then they wrote me on the show. My parents were thrilled,” Carlton told Chicago-based LGBTQ+ newspaper Windy City Times in 2013 of his role on All My Children.
“I had a meeting with the producer and they explained that they wanted to do the first coming out story of a transgender from male to female on daytime television.
“I asked, ‘How are you going to do it?’ She said, ‘With dignity.'”
Eden Riegel, who played Zoe’s friend Bianca on All My Children, paid tribute to her late costar on Twitter following news of his death.
“Devastated beyond measure to hear of the passing of the beautiful and gifted Jeffrey Carlson,” the actress wrote.
“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.”
No cause of death has been announced at this time.
“I was very moved by it,” Carlson told the Los Angeles Times of the story line in 2006. “If it creates a conversation, I think we’ve done our job.”
The arc earned All My Children a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Daily Drama in 2007… while Carlson wrapped up his run on the ABC soap opera later that year before returning to theater work.
May Jeffrey Carlson rest in peace.