Remembering Jane Elliot and Tracy Quartermaine
A look back at a daytime legend set to retire.
Jane Elliot’s final episode of General Hospital will air on May 4, 2017. Soaps.com decided to take a look back at her career and iconic role of Tracy Quartermaine in honor of this event.
Elliot made her first appearance in daytime in 1965 on the short-lived ABC soap “A Flame in the Wind” as Linda Skerba. She went on to guest star on other shows, including “Kojak” and “Electra Woman and Dyna Girl,” where she played Princess Cleopatra. There she met and became lifelong friends with Deidre Hall from “Days of our Lives.” She later landed the lead role of Jessica Hornesby in NBC’s “Rosetti and Ryan” in 1977.
Elliot’s most famous role was on “General Hospital.” Tracy Quartermaine was created by Douglas Marland and Gloria Monty for Jane Elliot, and debuted on June 19, 1978. Tracy was the youngest child of Edward and Lila Quartermaine. She was introduced as a recent divorcee with a child she preferred to dump in boarding school or on her parents. Her former husband Lord Larry Ashton wouldn’t be seen on screen for almost a decade, along with their son Ned. Tracy came to town to attend the wedding of her brother Alan to Monica Webber. This began a long feud with Monica, because Tracy was determined to never let her children get their hands on the Quartermaine trust fund her grandfather set up for his heirs.
Elliot played Tracy from 1978 until 1980, during which she taped the now infamous scene where Tracy found out her father was cutting her out of his will, so she withheld his heart medication when it appeared he was having a heart attack. Edward was faking it to test Tracy, and as a result disowned her. In 1981 Elliot won a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress for the part.
Elliot went on to appear as Judy Trent in the primetime soap “Knots Landing,” on “Guiding Light” as Carrie Todd, and then played Cynthia Chandler Preston Cortlandt on “All My Children.” From 1987 until 1989 she played Anjelica Deveraux on “Days of our Lives,” where oddly enough she romanced Wally Kurth who played Justin Kiriakis, but would go on to later play Tracy’s son Ned Ashton on “GH.”
Tracy Quartermaine returned to Port Charles in 1989, after her ex-husband Larry Ashton and son Ned arrived in town. Tracy was stunned to learn her son Ned had an affair with her nemesis and sister-in-law Monica, while Monica’s husband Alan was romancing Lucy Coe. That same year Edward Quartermaine was believed dead in a plane crash, which led to Alan and Tracy fighting for ownership of ELQ. Tracy entered a string of affairs with men who were primarily out to deprive her of her family fortune. One was Paul Hornsby, who was involved in the mob and after ELQ. He was carrying on with Jenny Eckert on the side and eventually married her, but not before fathering Tracy’s second child Dillon. Tracy was forced to flee town with Dillon to keep him away from Paul, and avoid criminal charges for running down Jenny with her car in a fit of rage.
Tracy returned to Port Charles briefly in 1996 to try and take ELQ away from her son Ned, who was running it, but eventually made her way to New York for the “GH” spinoff “The City.” It was while on “The City” that Tracy got involved with the mob family the Soleitos. As a joke she sent some goons to Port Charles to pretend to rob her family on Thanksgiving, but the prank ruined their dinner and began the tradition in 1997 of the Quartermaines having pizza for Thanksgiving.
Elliot returned to “GH” in 2003 where she would remain until her retirement and final episode airing on May 4, 2017. These years saw her dealing with her younger son Dillon growing up, her mother Lila passing away in 2004, and in 2006 marrying Luke Spencer in Las Vegas after a night of heavy drinking. The marriage started off as a sham, but eventually blossomed into love. When her brother Alan died in 2007 he began haunting Tracy and acted as the conscience she never had for awhile. When her father Edward died in 2012 she learned he had cut her out of his will due to her antics over the years, leaving her only a jar of her mother’s Pickle-Lila Relish. She soon realized the recipe was worth a fortune, but had to battle her nephew AJ Quartermaine for it. This led to a disastrous appearance on ABC’s “The Chew” where the recipe was tampered with and made all who ate it ill.
In 2013 Tracy and Luke rekindled their relationship after she rescued him from Helena, though at the time nobody realized Luke was suffering from duel personalities due to a long-buried secret from his past. Luke had also been carrying on a secret partnership with Helena Cassadine while romancing Tracy, and she couldn’t take it and broke things off with him again. Elliot’s performance in this storyline earned her another Daytime Emmy nomination. Around this time Tracy’s adult son Dillon returned as did his father newly single Paul Hornsby. Tracy and Paul briefly reconnected, though he turned out to be the GH serial killer and attempted to kill Monica. This incident, along with Tracy contracting a case of brain worms which almost killed her, led to Monica and Tracy finally ending their long standing feud.
“General Hospital” won’t be the same without Jane Elliot or Tracy Quartermaine, but after playing the character for 39 years off and on, and 52 years in the business, Elliot deserves some rest and relaxation.
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Photo credit: ABC, ChrisD, Howard Wise, Sean Smith, Paul Skipper/JPI, Nikki Nelson/WENN.com
Video credit: Mindwrp105, donna515, ackgh73994, The Quartermaine Vault, Franco GH
– Dustin Cushman