Jerry verDorn, Beloved Star of Guiding Light and One Life to Live, Dead at 72
Daytime has lost one of its greats.
On May 2, former Procter & Gamble publicist-turned-Locher Room host Alan Locher shared devastating news via Facebook: Jerry verDorn passed away peacefully at home on May 1 following a months-long battle with cancer.
The actor earned two Daytime Emmys for his unforgettable 1979-2005 run as Guiding Light’s Ross Marler, then went and did the near-impossible, taking over the role of One Life to Live’s Clint Buchanan and making it his own. When the ABC soap’s ahead-of-its-time online version wrapped in 2013, verDorn retired following 34 years as a soap MVP.
The Sioux Falls, SD, native and “wife Beth started their relationship while acting together in a university production of Anne of a Thousand Days,” his obituary notes. “Jerry was King Henry VIII and Beth played the role of Jane Seymour, who was to become Henry’s future wife. Little did they know that their roles would lead to a nearly 45-year marriage, two wonderful sons and daughters-in-law, and three loving grandchildren.
“Jerry was an avid reader, New York Times crossword aficionado and diehard Mets fan. His sons fondly remember their many trips to Shea Stadium and Citi Field and the endless times he supported them at all their school and town sporting events. He was an accomplished cook and especially relished making his famous — and delicious — holiday meals. He also played the piano and loved listening to music throughout each day.
“In his younger years, he and his mountain bike rode trails all over Sussex County, but more recently, he enjoyed just walking the dog several times a day.
“Jerry’s colleagues, friends and family appreciated his amazing wit and the generosity he always showed, making those who knew him feel welcomed and respected.” So, I can tell you from experience, did the soap reporters who interviewed him. When I was a young and green newbie in the 1990s, I had a Q&A with verDorn and leading lady Elizabeth Keifer (Blake) go south when the button I pressed on my tape recorder turned out not to the the “record” one. The then-Guiding Light star wasn’t fazed at all; he along with Keifer laughed it off, and we just redid it.
He didn’t even make me feel like I had made the rookie mistake that I had. He was like that.
On this somber occasion, take a look at what verDorn’s former co-stars have to say about their beloved friend, and pay your respects to the actors we lost last year in the below photo gallery.