Lee Lawson, ‘Guiding Light’ Actress, Dead at 81

by Caitlin Berard

Lee Lawson, the actress behind Bea Reardon on the classic soap opera Guiding Light, has passed away at the age of 81, as confirmed by her long-time friend, Marian Hailey-Moss. In a Facebook post shared on Monday, Moss wrote a touching tribute to the late actress.

“My down-to-earth, sassy smart and beautiful friend LEE LAWSON is telling it like it is in a better place,” she wrote. “A fine actress and a super generous friend. I’ll meetcha there LEE!! 1941-2022.”

Lee Lawson is survived by her three children, two daughters, Leslie and Gabriella Bova, and a son, Christopher Boal. In a heartbreaking social media post, Leslie mourned the loss of her mother. “My Mother died,” she wrote. “May 22, 2022.”

The grieving daughter then thanked her mother for her own children, as well as her nieces and nephews. “Thank you for having Chris, Me and Gaby so that we could have Gianna, Wilder and Sterling,” Leslie continued. “We love you. You fought Cancer and COVID-19 like a champ. Rest, you brilliant woman. Thank you, mom. R.I.P.”

Born in 1941, Lee Lawson’s career began in her early 20s with a role on the long-running soap opera Love of Life, on which she played Barbara Sterling. From there, she took a few small TV roles until the opportunity to star in Guiding Light presented itself.

Then, from 1981 to 1990, Lee Lawson played Bea Reardon, a single mother of seven who owned and operated the 7th Street boarding house.

Lee Lawson’s ‘Guiding Light’ Costar Jerry verDorn Dies at 72

It’s been a tough month for Guiding Light fans. Lee Lawson wasn’t the first but the second death from the cast of the beloved soap opera. On May 3, news of Jerry verDorn’s passing was announced. After a grueling battle with cancer, verDorn died peacefully in his home on May 1, 2022, at the age of 72, as confirmed by his family.

“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,” they wrote in his obituary. “He was a gifted speaker, talented actor, loving husband, father, brother, and uncle. But of all the roles he played in his life, his favorite was that of “Papa” to his three grandchildren.”

Born November 23, 1949 in South Dakota, verDorn’s career began with in the theater department of Minnesota State University. After graduating, he starred in a few Broadway productions, then made his way to daytime television.

The actor starred alongside Lee Lawson for the entirety of her time on Guiding Light and stayed with the series until 2005. Jerry verDorn played Ross Marler, a role that earned him two Daytime Emmy Awards and four additional nominations.