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Barbara Tarbuck, the busy actress who played Lady Jane Jacks on General Hospital for more than a decade and recently appeared on American Horror Story, has died. She was 74.
Tarbuck died Monday at her home in Los Angeles of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, her daughter, Jennifer Lane Connolly, told The Hollywood Reporter. Connolly is a producer on the recent documentary A Classy Broad, about the pioneering Hollywood producer Marcia Nasatir.
Tarbuck portrayed Ingo Rademacher’s (Jax Jacks) mother on ABC’s General Hospital from 1996 until 2010, and on Ryan Murphy’s FX series American Horror Story: Asylum, she was Jessica Lange’s compassionate Mother Superior Claudia in five episodes during the second season.
In the 1980s, Tarbuck portrayed another nun, Sister Allegra, on the NBC daytime serial Santa Barbara, and she had a recurring role as Dr. Randall on the CBS primetime soap Falcon Crest.
The actress also appeared on such television shows as The Waltons, Dallas, Police Squad!, M*A*S*H, Cagney & Lacey, The Golden Girls, Judging Amy, Star Trek: Enterprise, NYPD Blue, Nip/Tuck and Glee (two other Murphy series) and Mad Men.
Her film résumé included parts in Big Trouble (1986), directed by John Cassavetes; John Hughes’ Curly Sue (1991); The Tie That Binds (1995); and Walking Tall (2004).
On Broadway, Tarbuck appeared in the original production of Neil Simon’s Brighton Beach Memoirs, which debuted in 1983, and she worked often in regional theater. She most recently wrote and starred in the L.A. play Stopping By, about a 74-year-old woman who takes her husband’s ashes to Burning Man.
Tarbuck also taught acting at UCLA for years.
Born in Detroit, Tarbuck performed on the WWJ-AM children’s radio show Storyland starting at age 9 and learned from veteran actors who had worked on The Lone Ranger, The Shadow and The Green Hornet.
She studied acting at Wayne State University and graduated in 1963. After receiving her master’s from the University of Michigan, she was the lead actress at Indiana University in its inaugural theater touring company season.
Tarbuck was granted a Fulbright Scholarship to study at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art then moved to New York to launch her professional career.
In addition to her daughter, survivors include son-in-law Samuel Chawinga and grandsons Cianan and Cuinn Chawinga.
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