John Reilly, 'General Hospital' Star, Dies at 86

John Reilly on 'General Hospital' (1963)
ABC / Courtesy Everett Collection

John Reilly on 'General Hospital'

The actor was best known for his role as Sean Donely on the ABC soap opera.

John Reilly, a veteran daytime television actor who starred on General Hospital and Passions, has died. He was 86.

Reilly’s daughter Caitlin Reilly shared the news on her Instagram. "The brightest light in the world has gone out. Imagine the best person in the world. Now imagine that person being your dad," she wrote. "I'm so grateful he was mine. I'm so grateful I got to love him. I'm so grateful I made it in time to hold him and say goodbye."

She added, "I honestly don't know what I'm going to do, but I know he'll be with me. I love you forever Daddy." A cause of death was not announced.

 

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Born in Chicago, Reilly began his acting career in the 1960s with guest starring roles on Death Valley Days, Apple's Way and Gunsmoke. In 1974, he replaced John Colenback as Dr. Dan Stewart on As the World Turns. His other early roles also included appearances on How the West Was Won, Quincy M.E. and portraying Roy Ralston on Dallas.

Reilly was best known for his role as Sean Donely on ABC's General Hospital. He joined the daytime drama in 1984 and left in 1995. He returned as Donely in 2008 on the General Hospital spinoff Night Shift and for the show's 50th anniversary in 2013.

General Hospital paid tribute to the late actor on Twitter writing, "The entire General Hospital family is heartbroken to hear of John Reilly's passing. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his loved ones. Rest in peace."

Other roles include his stint as Alistair Crane on Passions, in which he replaced the late David Bailey in 2005, and as Del Douglas on Sunset Beach. 

Reilly also appeared on Beverly Hills, 90210, where he had a recurring role as Kelly Taylor’s father. He also voiced Hawkeye in Marvel’s Iron Man animated series.

Reilly also appeared in films including The Great Waldo Pepper (1975), Deal of the Century (1983) and Touch and Go (1986).

Reilly is survived by five daughters and two grandchildren in addition to his wife.

Jan. 11, 10:51 a.m. A previous version of this story misstated Reilly's age at passing. He was 86 not 84. He is also survived by five daughters not three.