Beloved Days of our Lives and General Hospital veteran Tyler Christopher passed away just a few days shy of his 51st birthday. The actor’s death was announced on social media by his former GH castmate and friend, Maurice Benard. Soap Hub takes a look back at his life and career.
Tyler Christopher: From Athlete To A Beloved Prince
Tyler Christopher Baker was born on November 11, 1972, to James W. Baker and Jimi-Ann Stewart in Joliet, Illinois. He was the youngest of four children but was practically raised as an only child because his siblings were 10 years or more older than him. He excelled at baseball and thought he would end up in the big leagues. Too much partying and not enough practice sabotaged that plan.
Eventually, the future actor joined his cousins Derk and Drew Cheetwood in California and thought he would give acting a shot. In 1993, he auditioned for the role of Stone Cates on General Hospital. That role went to Michael Sutton, but Christopher didn’t give up, and in 1996, he landed the role of Nikolas Cassadine. He dropped the name Baker and used Tyler Christopher as his stage name.
His vulnerability and intensity quickly won over the GH audience. Christopher played the role on and off through 2016, earning the actor four Daytime Emmy nominations and one win for Outstanding Lead Actor in 2016. He was only one of three leading actors to take home a Daytime Emmy in the show’s history, a fact noted by Benard.
The actor began expanding his resume by adding films such as Common Bonds, Catfish in Black Bean Sauce, Face the Music, Out of the Black, Sam’s Circus, Frogmen Operation Stormbringer, Out for the Money, and Steven Spielberg’s TV mini-series, Into the West.
He also landed roles in primetime on Family Law, Charmed, Angel, The Pretender, Felicity, The Division, The Twilight Zone, JAG, Boomtown, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, and Crossing Jordan.
In 2004 through 2005, he took on a dual role playing Nikolas Cassadine’s look-a-like, Connor Bishop. Connor wreaked havoc on Port Charles after the death of his wife, Mary, who had a psychotic break, was shot by Nikolas, and eventually killed by Lorenzo Alcazar (Ted King). The former soldier kidnapped Nik’s wife, Emily (Natalia Livingston), to get back at the Cassadine heir. Emily suffered a violent rape and ended up shooting Connor in self-defense.
Christopher continued working steadily, clocking into GH for more than 1100 episodes of the daytime drama until he and the show parted ways in 2016. He added more TV appearances in Secrets in a Small Town and The Lying Game. Film roles included Raven, Shouting Secrets, Beyond the Lights, The Other Mother, Pretty Broken, and F.R.E.D.I..
A Private Struggle Made Public
In 2017, he joined another daytime drama when Christopher took on the role of Stefan DiMera on Days of our Lives, which earned him another Daytime Emmy nod in 2019, but just as he had sabotaged his baseball career in college, his inner demons reared their ugly head once again, and he was let go from DAYS.
Throughout his life, the talented thespian struggled with bipolar disorder, alcoholism, and depression. In recent years, as he grappled with sobriety, he became more vocal about his journey. The actor was very candid in March of 2022 on Maurice Benard’s video podcast, State Of Mind, as he addressed his firing from GH and DAYS.
“It crushed me. It literally crushed me.” Christopher told his dear friend how he was still coming to terms with it. “It was devastating for a myriad of reasons. One, the thing that I loved the most was taken away. Two, I threw it away. Nobody took it away from me. I dropped it. Having to walk out those doors under those circumstances was like, ‘Wow, this is for real, dude.’ You know, I haven’t been back since. That ship has sailed.”
In that revealing interview, Christopher spoke about his traumatic brain injury in 2019 while trying to detox on his own and shared how he had flatlined three times. In an exclusive interview with Soap Hub, he reflected on his children, his son Greysun and daughter Boheme, and how he wanted to be a better parent for them. He then divulged that Benard had inspired him to write a book about his struggles because so many fans responded positively to his SOM interview, and he thought it would help others who are battling similar issues.
In 2022, Christopher seemed to be winning the battle for his sobriety. He added five more movies that year: Moon Crash, Thor: God of Thunder, Super Volcano, Murder, Anyone?, and 20.0 Megaquake. His last film came out this year, which was the TV movie, Ice Storm. Sadly, in May 2023, Christopher was arrested for public intoxication at an airport in Southern California. Tyler Christopher succumbed to a cardiac arrest on October 31, 2023, in San Diego, California.
The beloved actor is survived by his father, two sisters, a brother, and his two children. Soap Hub sends its sincere condolences to his family, colleagues, friends, and fans.