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Doug Sheehan, General Hospital and Knots Landing Alum, Dead at 75

doug sheehan from general hospital and knots landing.

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Doug Sheehan, who was a General Hospital mainstay in the early 1980s when he played Joe Kelly (yes, that Kelly — his father, Paddy, originally owned the Port Charles diner now known as Bobbie’s), passed away on June 29 at home in Wyoming at the age of 75. Kane Funeral Home posted the death announcement. His wife since 1981, Cate Abert, was by his side.

Born April 29, 1949 in Santa Monica, Calif., Sheehan got his start on television acting in a guest spot on Charlie’s Angels back in 1978. An episode of Kaz followed along with a part as a police officer in the film 10.

Kelly joined GH in 1979 as Joe, the unlucky-in-love lawyer who was romantically linked to Bobbie Spencer and Heather Webber. He remained with the show until 1982, when Joe moved away to accept a new job.

soap opera digest cover with jacklyn zeman and doug sheehan

In 2020, the late Jacklyn Zeman (ex-Bobbie) gushed to Soap Opera Digest about working with Sheehan, “I remember having so much fun with him and then, all of a sudden, he wasn’t on the show. I was like, ‘What happened?!’ I still don’t know why he left, if it was his decision or a network decision. In those days, they didn’t talk about that. But I really miss him because he was such a doll. The character was perfect for Bobbie and he always knew his lines, always showed up on time. In those days, everybody was out partying at night and not everybody came in to work so prepared; some people were more of a joy to work with than others and he was a joy.”

On X (formerly Twitter), GH’s Kin Shriner (Scott) wrote, “RIP Doug ,he was so professional and I always felt exuded a Jimmy Stewart quality very funny , I shared many scenes with him @GeneralHospital hey day and looked up to him !!”

After he left GH, Sheenan found a prime-time soap hone in Knots Landing, where he played Ben Gibson. Ben would fall in love with Valene Ewing (Joan Van Ark). He stayed on the hit CBS show from 1983-1988.

Over the course of his prolific career, Sheehan also appeared on series like Cheers, Alice, MacGyver (where he reunited with former GH co-star Richard Dean Anderson, ex-Jeff Webber), and Dear John in the 1980s and then became a regular on Day by Day playing Brian Harper. He also appeared in TV movies like In The Line of Duty: The FBI Murders, Stranger In My Bed and A Mom for Christmas.

The next decade would bring more guest spots on shows like ColumboPromised Land, Style & Substance and then he was cast as a regular on the TV show Clueless playing Mel Horowitz, which would take him to the end of the 20th Century.

The next century had him appearing in Diagnosis MurderThat Was ThenWhat I Like About You and as Davis on Passions. His last credit was in 2003, appearing as Edward on Sabrina the Teenage Witch.

Digest sends condolences to his family, friends and former co-workers during this difficult time.