Jeffrey Carlson, ‘All My Children’ actor, dead at 48 — played first transgender character on TV

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Jeffrey Carlson, the “All My Children” actor who made history by starring as the first transgender character on television, has died. He was 48.

Carlson’s representatives confirmed his death in a statement provided to Fox News Digital.

“We are very saddened by the news of the passing of our longtime client, Jeffrey Carlson,” his reps said. “We have no additional information at this time and ask that the family be given the space to grieve privately.”

Carlson starred as Zarf on “All My Children” in 2006, a British rock star who transitioned and later became known as Zoe on the daytime soap opera.

Zoe was the first trans woman character on daytime television.

In a statement provided to Fox News Digital, Jeffrey’s sister, Elizabeth Carlson Gingras, recalled the impact her brother left on so many people.

“My handsome, brilliant, EXTREMELY talented brother Jeffrey Carlson has gone to be with our brother Gregory Carlson in heaven,” Gingras wrote. “I can’t wrap my head around why this has happened. What I do know is that I will forever cherish our laughs and the deep love we have for each other.

Broadway actor Jeffrey Carlson, who also made history as trans character Zoe on the soap "All My Children," has died. He was 48.
Broadway actor Jeffrey Carlson, who also made history as trans character Zoe on the soap “All My Children,” has died at 48.
MediaPunch / BACKGRID

“He has left such an impact on so many people, it’s so hard to find the words to express how special he was. I have so much to say… but my heart isn’t well enough to provide Jeffrey with the words he deserves. I love you so, so much my beautiful brother. 6/23/1975-7/06/2023.”

Details surrounding his death were not immediately available.

On Monday, the Chicago Police Department told Fox News Digital that “police arrived at the location before 12 p.m. on July 6 where his body was discovered. His last point of contact was on July 3.”

“A 48-year-old male was found unresponsive and has been pronounced at the above address. The victim took his prescribed medication with alcohol beverages.”

A cause and manner of death is still pending, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office. 

In addition to “All My Children,” the California-native appeared in “Hitch,” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” and “The Killing Floor.” 

He performed in various Broadway productions, including Edward Albee’s “The Goat or Who is Sylvia,” “Tartuffe” and “The Miracle Worker.”

At the time of his portrayal of Zoe, Carlson felt intimidated to represent the transgender community.

“I worry about missing something, but I guess that would be the same with any character,” Carlson told the Associated Press.

Jeffrey Carlson alongside 'All my Children' co-star Eden Riegel in a 2007 episode.
Jeffrey Carlson alongside “All My Children” co-star Eden Riegel in a 2007 episode.
©ABC/Courtesy Everett Collection

“I want the ‘All My Children’ audience to go along. It’s not for shock value. It’s just another person whose story is being told in Pine Valley.”

Reports of Carlson’s death began circulating on social media Sunday.

“RIP Jeffrey Carlson, 48, exposed-nerve star of Broadway (Billy in The Goat, Marilyn in Taboo) and TV (the groundbreaking trans character Zoe on All My Children),” theater critic Adam Feldman tweeted Sunday. “A powerful actor and a painful loss.”

Matthew Rowland shared a clip singing with Carlson and wrote, “I’m so sorry to hear of the loss of a such a talent, and a man who was so sweet and kind to me. It was such a privilege to perform with and meet him.”

Eden Riegel tweeted, “Devastated beyond measure to hear of the passing of the beautiful and gifted Jeffrey Carlson. I feel fortunate to have called this kind soul a friend and see his brilliant work up close. Gone far too soon – an unimaginable loss. Love you, Jeffrey. Rest friend.”

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