12 Biggest Soap Exits, Firings & Deaths From 2021

Steve Barton Briana Nicole Henry Stuart Damon
Craig Sjodin/ABC, XJ Johnson/ABC, ABC/Courtesy Everett Collection

The only thing constant is change, especially on daytime television! Soap opera fans said goodbye to some talents from The Young and the Restless, The Bold and the Beautiful, Days of Our Lives, and General Hospital this year as actors passed away, lost their jobs, or simply moved on to other ventures.

And in two headline-grabbing shakeups, General Hospital producers fired a pair of longtime actors from the show after they refused to follow vaccination mandates!

Here’s the scoop on this year’s soap opera losses…

Mike Windle/Getty Images

Exits: Donny Boaz, ‘The Young and the Restless’

Boaz told Instagram followers this January that he’d been let go from Y&R. “I’d love to say that this was my choice, that I’ve booked the next big project and [am] leaving of my own accord… but that wouldn’t be the truth,” he wrote in his original caption, per Soaps.com. Producers recast the part of Phillip “Chance” Chancellor IV in November, hiring Conner Floyd for the role.

Alyvia Alyn Lind
Monty Brinton/CBS

Exits: Alyvia Alyn Lind, ‘The Young and the Restless’

Ahead of her starring role on the Syfy/USA horror series Chucky, Lind exited The Young and the Restless this April, ending a 10-year stint on the show. Producers recast the role of Faith Newman, casting Reylynn Caster in the part.

Linsey Godfrey
Chris Haston/NBC

Exits: Linsey Godfrey, ‘Days of Our Lives’

Godfrey ended her nearly-three-year run as Days’ Sarah Horton this June, with Kristen DiMera (Stacy Haiduk) abducting the character and stealing her identity. “It’s truly been a pleasure,” the actress tweeted in March, when her impending departure made headlines. “A massive thank you to @nbcdays for the opportunity to play Sarah and all 86 of her hairstyles.”

Kiara Barnes as Zoe Buckingham in The Bold and the Beautiful
Adam Torgerson/CBS

Exits: Kiara Barnes, ‘The Bold and the Beautiful’

Barnes departed B&B in July, with her character, Zoe Buckingham, leaving for Europe after hearing the truth about Carter’s (Lawrence Saint-Victor) affair. The actress’ final episode came two and a half months after she was hired as a series regular in Fox’s primetime drama Fantasy Island.

The Young And The Restless - Michael Mealor and Hunter King
Sonja Flemming/CBS

Exits: Hunter King and Michael Mealor, ‘The Young and the Restless’

King and Mealor left the soap in August — reportedly because of a breakdown in their contract notifications — with their characters, Summer and Kyle Newman, forging a new life in Milan.

Briana Nicole Henry and Donnell Turner on General Hospital
XJ Johnson/ABC

Exits: Briana Nicole Henry, ‘General Hospital’

When Jordan Ashford survived a kidnapping on General Hospital in September, Henry took the opportunity to bid the character goodbye. “I decided it was time for me to move on from @generalhospitalabc, and I got nothing but love and support from everyone involved,” she wrote on Instagram.

Ingo Rademacher
Nick Argo/ABC

Firings: Ingo Rademacher, ‘General Hospital’

After playing Jasper “Jax” Jacks for two and a half decades, Rademacher was fired from General Hospital in November after refusing to follow an on-set vaccine mandate (and after sharing a transphobic post). His character said goodbye to ex-wife Carly (Laura Wright) and left for Australia. The actor has since sued ABC, saying he’s “entitled to a religious exemption against mandatory vaccination,” per Variety.

Steve Burton
Craig Sjodin/ABC

Firings: Steve Burton, ‘General Hospital’

A day after Rademacher’s final episode, Burton told fans he too had been fired from General Hospital over the vaccine mandate, ending a three-decade run on the show. “I did apply for my medical and religious exemptions, and both of those were denied, which, you know, hurts,” he said on Instagram. “But this is also about personal freedom to me.” Later that month, Burton’s character, Jason Morgan, died in a tunnel collapse.

John Reilly
ABC/Courtesy Everett Collection

Deaths: John Reilly, ‘General Hospital’

Reilly, who played GH character Sean Donely off and on from 1984 to 2013, died of undisclosed causes on January 9 at age 86. General Hospital organized a tribute episode for the actor, casting TikTok star Caitlin Reilly, John’s real-life daughter, as his onscreen daughter. “It fills my heart with gratitude to be a part of this tribute to him, and to feel so close to him working on a show he loved so much doing,” Caitlin said in a statement.

Stuart Damon
ABC/Courtesy Everett Collection

Deaths: Stuart Damon, ‘General Hospital’

After playing Dr. Alan Quartermaine for hundreds of General Hospital episodes between 1977 and 2013, Damon died of renal failure at age 84 on June 29, according to ABC 7 reporter George Pennacchio. “His son, Christopher, told me he so loved being a part of that soap,” Pennacchio wrote on Facebook. “He said, ‘It was his favorite place to be. He loved playing Alan and was always so appreciative of that role and that job. It was his passion.’”

Jay Pickett
ABC/Courtesy Everett Collection

Deaths: Jay Pickett, ‘Port Charles’

Pickett died of an apparent heart attack on July 30 while filming the movie Treasure Valley. The 60-year-old starred as Frank Scanlon on the soap Port Charles but also had recurring roles on Days of Our Lives and General Hospital. “We lost a great friend and collaborator this week,” Treasure Valley director Travis Mills tweeted two days later. “[Pickett] was doing what he loved: acting, riding horses, and making movies.”

Jerry Douglas
Cliff Lipson/CBS/Courtesy Everett Collection

Deaths: Jerry Douglas, ‘The Young and the Restless’

Douglas passed away at age 88 on November 9, following a brief illness. The actor played Abbott family patriarch John Abbott on The Young and the Restless from 1982 until the character’s death in 2006 but later returned to the show as a ghost. “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,” executive producer executive producer said in a statement. “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.”