‘General Hospital’ Actor Jay Pickett Dies While Filming Western in Idaho

by Emily Morgan

Jay Pickett, the veteran actor, known for his work on daytime soap operas such as “Days of Our Lives,” “Port Charles,” and “General Hospital,” has died. He passed away Friday while making a movie in his home state of Idaho. He was just 60-years-old.

The tragic news was announced via Facebook.

“Many of you have already heard about the tragedy that happened two days ago. Jay Pickett, our leading man, writer, producer, and creator of this movie passed away suddenly while we were on location preparing to film a scene,” wrote Travis Mills on Sunday. Mills is also one of the film’s stars. 

He added: “There is no official explanation for the cause of his death but it appears to have been a heart attack. Everyone present tried as hard as they could to keep him alive. Our hearts are broken, and we grieve for his family who are so devastated by this shocking tragedy.”

Mills continued: “He was doing what he loved: acting, riding horses, making movies. And he was magnificent.” Jim Heffel, his co-star and fellow producer on Treasure Valley, also posted about the sad news. 

“I lost a good friend and the world lost a great person,” Heffel wrote in the post. “Jay Pickett decided to ride off into the Heavens. Jay died sitting on a horse ready to rope a steer in the movie Treasure Valley in Idaho. The way of a true cowboy.”

In the film, Pickett was playing a cowboy searching for his long-lost daughter in the movie. In addition to acting, he also co-wrote the script. 

Jay Pickett’s Prolific Career in TV Ends Too Soon

Born on Feb. 10, 1961, in Spokane, Washington, his parents raised him in Caldwell, Idaho. After graduating high school, he attended Boise State University and UCLA.

In the late ’80s, Pickett’s acting career began picking up speed when he booked television roles on such shows as “China Beach,” “Mr. Belvedere,” “Jake and the Fatman,” and “Matlock.” Finally, he got his breakout role when he booked the role of Dr. Chip Lakin on NBC’s “Days of Our Live.” He had a role on the show from 1991 to 1992.

He also portrayed paramedic and substitute teacher Frank Scanlon on ABC’s “Port Charles” from 1997 to 2003. He also starred as Det. David Harper on ABC’s hit soap opera, “General Hospital” from 2007 to 2008.

In addition to his on-screen work, Pickett also wrote and produced the 2012 feature, Soda Springs. It acted as a Western featuring Tom Skerritt. Pickett also had cameos on “Dexter,” “The Mentalist,” “NCIS: Los Angeles,” “Rosewood,” and “Queen Sugar.”

When he wasn’t working, he enjoyed playing football, basketball, baseball, and skiing. He was also an expert roper and western horse rider.

Survivors include his wife, Elena, and their three children.