Jeffrey Carlson, who played groundbreaking trans soap character, dies at 48

Carlson portrayed the openly transgender character Zoe in the long-running ABC daytime soap All My Children.

Jeffrey Carlson, who passed away, portraying the character Zoe on All My Children

All My Children actor Jeffrey Carlson, who portrayed one of daytime television’s first openly transgender characters, passed away on July 6 at the age of 48.

Carlson first appeared in the series as British musician Zarf who later came out as a transgender woman named Zoe, a role that was considered groundbreaking at the time.

Beyond All My Children, Carlson also performed on Broadway, with appearances in shows such as The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?, Tartuffe, and Taboo, the last of which he was nominated for a Drama Desk Award in the Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical category.

We are very saddened by the news of the passing of our longtime client, Jeffrey Carlson,” Carlson’s representatives said in a statement released to Fox News Digital.

They continued, “We have no additional information at this time and ask that the family be given the space to grieve privately.”

Carlson’s sister, Elizabeth Carlson Gingras, also shared the news of her brother’s passing, “My handsome, brilliant, EXTREMELY talented brother Jeffrey Carlson has gone to be with our brother Gregory Carlson in heaven. 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. 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.”

At the time of writing, no official cause of death has been confirmed by officials. 

While Carlson may have passed away, he helped pave the way for more transgender representation on television.

Carlson spoke publicly about the importance of GLAAD’s (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) influence on the storyline as they discussed with the cast how to handle it properly.

While the problematic issue of cis actors portraying trans characters is beginning to change with transgender actors being given more opportunities in the industry, the significance of Carlson’s character Zoe in a popular daytime soap opera cannot be underestimated.



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