Elizabeth MacRae, Former Star of ‘General Hospital’ and ‘Andy Griffith Show’, Dies at 88

Former General Hospital star Elizabeth MacRae, known for her role in the popular soap opera, has passed away at the age of 88.

The soap star, sadly, passed away on Monday, May 27, in her hometown of Fayetteville, North Carolina, as confirmed by Deadline.

According to Jim MacRae, the nephew of MacRae, he expressed that she had a remarkable life. He mentioned that she was intelligent and expressive. He also mentioned that she was still receiving fan mail at Highland House.

He expressed his sadness, saying, “It’s unfortunate, but she has passed away. She had a remarkable life. Although the last few years were challenging, she is now reunited with my beloved dad, whom she cherished, as well as her parents, sister, and husband. Overall, she lived a fulfilling and meaningful life.”

These are just a few of the many stars we lost in 2024. Each of them had a unique talent and a remarkable impact on their respective fields. Although they may no longer be with us, their legacies will continue to shine brightly in our hearts and in the art they left behind.

The actress leaves behind five stepchildren – Terry Halsey, Peter Halsey, Hugh Halsey, Cate Halsey, and Alex Halsey Topper.

MacRae started her acting journey in the late 1950s, with her first television appearance in 1958 on the show “The Verdict Is Yours.” Over the course of her 25-year acting career, she went on to star in various television shows, including “Route 66,” “The Fugitive,” “Gunsmoke,” “Bonanza,” and “I Dream of Jeannie,” among others.

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From 1966 to 1969, she gained widespread recognition for her recurring role as Lou-Ann Poovie on the popular TV show, Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. Additionally, in 1967, she made an appearance as Betty Parker on The Andy Griffith Show.

Luck and timing play a significant role in a show business career, as revealed by MacRae in a 2014 interview with The Mount Airy News. According to him, fortunate opportunities and breaks are crucial in an industry filled with countless talented individuals.

MacRae’s soap opera career was quite extensive. She portrayed the character of Meg Bentley on “General Hospital” from 1969 to 1970, taking over the role from Patricia Breslin who had played it from 1966 to 1969. MacRae made a comeback to “General Hospital” as Meg once again from 1972 to 1973. Additionally, she had a stint as Agatha Dobson on “Guiding Light” from 1983 to 1984.

In her film career, MacRae had the opportunity to collaborate with renowned director Frances Ford Coppola on the 1974 movie The Conversation. She took on the role of Meredith, showcasing her talent and skill.

Actors Who Started Their Careers on Soap Operas: Julianne Moore, Meg Ryan, and More

Soap operas have served as a launching pad for many talented actors throughout the years. In fact, some of Hollywood’s biggest stars got their start in the world of daytime television. Names like Julianne Moore and Meg Ryan are just a few examples of actors who rose to fame after appearing on soap operas.

Julianne Moore, known for her remarkable performances in films like “Still Alice” and “Boogie Nights,” began her acting journey on the soap opera “As the World Turns.” Her portrayal of Frannie Hughes earned her critical acclaim and laid the foundation for her successful career in film.

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Meg Ryan, beloved for her roles in romantic comedies like “When Harry Met Sally” and “Sleepless in Seattle,” also started her career on a soap opera. Ryan made her acting debut on “As the World Turns” before transitioning to the big screen and becoming a household name.

These actors are not alone in their soap opera success stories. Many other talented individuals have used the platform of daytime television to showcase their acting abilities and gain recognition in the entertainment industry. Soap operas have proven to be a breeding ground for talent, providing actors with the opportunity to hone their skills and connect with audiences on a daily basis.

So, the next time you find yourself engrossed in a soap opera, remember that you may be witnessing the early work of a future Hollywood superstar. The world of daytime television has been instrumental in launching the careers of many actors, and their journey from soap operas to the silver screen is a testament to their talent and determination.

After retiring from her acting career, MacRae dedicated her time to working as a drug and alcohol counselor at the Freedom Institute in New York City. Her obituary states that she and her late husband, Charles Day Halsey, Jr., who passed away earlier this year at the age of 96, eventually moved back to North Carolina. MacRae and Halsey Jr. had tied the knot in 1969.

In 2011, MacRae showcased her acting skills by lending her voice to multiple characters in the animated series “Supernatural: The Animation.”

The obituary of the late actress states that she generously donated a collection of items that chronicle her acting career to the Southern Historical Collection at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. In March 2023, MacRae was honored by being inducted into the Fayetteville Performing Arts Hall of Fame.

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