Jerry Douglas, Beloved Patriarch of Young & Restless’ Abbott Family, Dead at 88
Some farewells we’re just never prepared to say.
It’s a sad day for fans of The Young and the Restless, as our sister site, TVLine, has confirmed that Jerry Douglas, much loved as Abbott patriarch John, died at the age of 88. He was just two days shy of his 89th birthday.
By the time he showed up in Genoa City in March of 1982, Douglas had been on television for over 20 years, racking up a slew of appearances on some of TV’s biggest shows. He guest starred on everything from The Outer Limits to The Bionic Woman, but for soap viewers, he’ll always be our John Abbott. It was in this role that Douglas proved that the third time is, indeed, the charm.
John had been around for two years with two different actors playing the part before Douglas stepped into the Abbott patriarch’s shoes. He played the role for the next 25 years, guiding his children — Jack, Ashley, Traci and Billy — until the day he died… and beyond.
Credit: CBS/Courtesy of the Everett Collection
Though John got into plenty of trouble in Douglas’ more-than-two decades on the show, Jabot’s founder was one of Genoa City’s genuine good guys. He butted heads with Victor in the business world, but never let it grow to the level of personal hatred that consumed Jack. And when he learned that Ashley wasn’t his daughter after all, John swallowed his pride and continued loving her just as fiercely as he always had.
Granted, his romances never failed to cause drama in the family, whether he was competing with his own son for Jill’s attention, falling in love with the Abbott’s beloved maid, Mamie, or marrying the gold-digging Gloria. But John never lost his moral compass, and when he died in 2006, the Abbott family lost the one man they knew they could always count on.
But John’s death in 2006 turned out to just be the end of Douglas’ first act. And the actor himself was perfectly aware of this when he released his 2007 jazz album and called it “The Best is Yet to Come.”
Douglas, it turned out, could croon with the greats. Check it out below.
The actor and singer toured the U.S. and Canada, but Genoa City was never far from his heart. Though John’s death was one of the few that really, truly stuck, Douglas spent the next few years recurring on the show as the Abbott patriarch’s ghost, guiding his family even after he’d passed to the great beyond. In 2008, he even stuck around for a stint as John lookalike, Alistair Wallingford.
His last appearance was in 2016, but John Abbott was never far from the hearts and minds of his family, nor of us. We’ll miss him, and we’ll miss wondering when Douglas might once again visit us in Genoa City.
Sometimes it helps to let it all out, so while you’re here, you might as well take a somber stroll through our photo gallery of other daytime stars that have been taken from us by 2021.