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.
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.