Longtime General Hospital actress Barbara Tarbuck has passed away according to her daughter, producer Jennifer Lane Connolly. Tarbuck was 74 years old and died on December 26 after a battle with a rare neurological disease known as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disorder. News of the General Hospital alum’s death spread slowly on Thursday following the more publicized deaths of actress Carrie Fisher and her mother Debbie Reynolds along with pop star George Michael.
Barbara Tarbuck was on General Hospital from 1996 to 2010, playing the character of Lady Jane Jacks, the mother of Jasper Jacks. Tarbuck’s character only appeared in 41 episodes of General Hospital over the course of that period. Along with General Hospital, Barbara also appeared for a short time in the soap opera Santa Barbara.
According to NBC News, Barbara Tarbuck began her career at the age of 9 on the radio show Storyland. Acting on Storyland until the age of 13, Tarbuck was able to glean lots of tricks of the trade from fellow voice actors of shows like The Lone Ranger. Barbara went on to study acting at Wayne State University and was a Fulbright Scholarship recipient who attended the London of Music and Dramatic Arts.
Barbara Tarbuck joins the ever-growing list of celebrity deaths for the year 2016. The sudden deaths of actors Carrie Fisher, Alan Thicke, Garry Shandling, and more have put many film and television fans on edge as they brace themselves for news of the next celebrity to go. Though Tarbuck’s acting resume is lengthy with many bit roles going back to the 1970s, her most prominent role was on General Hospital.
Tarbuck’s contribution to General Hospital may not be as substantial as Anthony Geary or Genie Francis, but Barbara’s acting career spanned multiple decades and Tarbuck emerged as a frequent guest star on several other notable shows including NYPD Blue, Nip/Tuck, NCIS, Dexter, and Glee. More recently, Tarbuck had the recurring role of Mother Superior Claudia on American Horror Story: Asylum.
American Horror Story fans took to Twitter to pay their respects to Barbara.
Barbara Tarbuck, the actress who played Mother Superior Claudia in AHS Asylum, has passed away at age 74.???? RIP pic.twitter.com/tJQYCymvur
— AmericanHorrorStory (@fyeahahs) December 29, 2016
Barbara Tarbuck, who played Mother Superior in AHS: Asylum died 2 days ago at age 74… R.I.P. pic.twitter.com/VsK58eyADg
— AmericanHorrorStory (@AHSfandom) December 29, 2016
Along with her frequent short stints in television, Barbara Tarbuck also had a couple of film roles including the 1980s cult classic Short Circuit and alongside Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in his remake of Walking Tall in 2004. Tarbuck played Johnson’s mother in the movie. Barbara’s last role was in the film Come Simi starring Molly Shannon in 2015.
Though Dwayne Johnson posted tributes to both Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds on social media, the actor has remained mum regarding his onscreen mom’s demise thus far.
Barbara also enjoyed her time on the stage performing live in the original Broadway of Neil Simon’s Brighton Beach Memoirs as well as multiple regional productions. Tarbuck reportedly used her experience as a veteran character actor to teach acting at UCLA.
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the disease from which Tarbuck suffered only affects one in 1 million people with only about 300 cases diagnosed in the United States each year. It is estimated that 90 percent of those diagnosed die within the first year. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disorder causes muscle weakness, vision disturbances, behavioral changes including dementia, and at times a comatose state. Though it is unknown how long Barbara Tarbuck suffered from the disease, symptoms generally occur in patients by their mid-60s. Barbara was seen in public as recent as March 2015 at the Tony Awards.
[Featured Image by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images]