R.I.P. Jerry Douglas, who starred on ‘The Young and the Restless’ for over three decades

He started his career in classic shows like Gunsmoke, Bonanza and Mission: Impossible.

The Everett Collection

It’s not often an actor gets to play the same character for years on end, let alone multiple decades. Jerry Douglas, who joined The Young and the Restless eight years into its run in 1981, played patriarch John Abbott for more than three decades. Though the character died in 2006, he appeared to his children as a ghost for ten more years. Douglas’ final appearance on the long-running soap, and last time on television, came in 2016.

Anthony Morina, executive producer of The Young and the Restless, said in a statement to Deadline, “Jerry came to Y&R in 1982 with an impressive resume of credits. Our show was lucky to have an actor of his caliber join the Y&R cast and introduce the audience to the iconic Abbott family. His contribution to the legacy of Y&R as Abbott family patriarch, John Abbott is still felt to this day. He will be sorely missed.”

Born Gerald Rubenstein in Chelsea, Massachusetts in 1932, Douglas attended Brandeis University on a football scholarship. Though he graduated with a degree in economics, acting remained a strong passion. He even studied the craft with famed actor and teacher Uta Hagen in New York.

His screen debut came in the 1961 gangster flick Blast of Silence, followed by guest spots in shows like The Untouchables, The Donna Reed Show and The Outer Limits. The latter part of the decade saw turns in Westerns like Gunsmoke and Bonanza. He also played a police sergeant in the Dragnet pilot “The LSD Story” and appeared in Land of the Giants as well as the 1967 Peter Gunn theatrical film Gunn alongside Craig Stevens, Ed Asner and Sherry Jackson.

In the Seventies, he appeared on Mannix three times, twice as Lt. Mitch Webster. He was also in Mission: Impossible, Ironside, The Bionic Woman, The Streets of San Francisco and The Rockford Files.

The multi-talented artist wrote and developed projects with Josh O’Connell for their production company O’Connell/Douglas Productions. Douglas also released an album of jazz standards called The Best is Yet to Come in 2007.

Jerry Douglas passed away this week at the age of 88.

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Jack 31 months ago
GOD Rest the Soul of Jerry Douglas ... Amen - Alleluia!
deby 31 months ago
so very sorry to read about his passing, he was a very good actor everyone will miss him
31 months ago
I had no idea he was on Dragnet. I always wondered why he stopped coming on Y&R. Rest In Pease Jerry.
MarkSpeck SheriHeffner 30 months ago
Yep. He played narcotics detective Sgt. Eugene Zappey in that episode.
ncadams27 31 months ago
The LSD Story was not the Dragnet pilot. Dragnet 1966 (a TV movie) was, although it did not air until 1969.
Jeffrey 31 months ago
WOW! That's a shocker for me and many of his other fans, I imagine. I was hoping he would return to Y&R as John Abbott brought back from the dead. It's been done in many other TV shows and movies. R.I.P. Jerry Douglas.
Runeshaper 31 months ago
R.I.P. Jerry Douglas. He sounds like a man that really did a lot and contributed a lot (-:
Zip 31 months ago
I loved his character of John Abbott. He exuded that "Boss" air as the CEO of Jabot.
I hated when they killed him off; thought it was silly that they kept bringing him back as a "ghost"/Jack's conscience, but still thought it was always nice to see him whenever he was on. I stopped watching not long after they started doing that though.
Still, a great man who had a great run.
Douglas 31 months ago
R.I.P. Jerry Douglas! A.K.A. John Abbott!
PulsarStargrave Douglas 31 months ago
LOVED his work, including as the "Ghost" of John Abbott who haunted/advised Jack! May he rest well in Paradise...
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