Gil Rogers, the actor who created not one, but two memorable daytime roles, has died. The former Guiding Light and All My Children actor was 87 and was living in Encinitas, California at the time of his death.
Gil Rogers Has Passed Away
The actor’s daughter, Amanda Rogers, shared the news on Facebook that Rogers passed away on Tuesday, March 2. “As you all know, my dad was awesome,” Rogers shared on Facebook. “He was my best friend, confidant, mentor, and just an awesome dad. He came to pick me and Charlotte Whitaker Zdanowski up at clubs at 2AM in our teens to keep us safe and drank bourbon with me every day since moving out here 2 years ago.
“He was welcoming and kind, funny and gregarious, a shameless flirt and a fierce protector,” Rogers continues. “He loved his dinners with grandkids and endured animated movies and discussions about pokemon. And I miss him so terribly already. He died in his sleep, without pain or fear. I am so grateful to have had such a great father and to have spent these past 2 years with him every day.”
Born John Veach Rogers, Jr. on February 4, 1934, in Lexington, Kentucky, Rogers attended Henry Clay High School. He went to Harvard, majoring in chemistry, but after deciding to become an actor, he transferred to Transylvania University where he earned a theater degree.
Rogers appeared on Broadway in The Great White Hope and The Corn Is Green. For two and a half years, he brought to life the character of Sheriff Earl Dodd in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. On the big screen, he appeared in Eddie Macon’s Run and The Bell Jar. From 1974-1977, he portrayed Dr. Martin Brandt on The Doctors. In 1979, he was Lt. Marlowe on Another World.
Rogers debuted as Hawk Shayne on Guiding Light in 1985. He was hired by Miss Sally (Patricia Barry) to help break up her son Kyle (Larkin Malloy) and his daughter Reva (Kim Zimmer). Hawk had walked out on his family years ago but eventually came clean with Reva. Hawk wasn’t the best father in the world, to say the least; perhaps that’s why he called Reva by the nickname “Sister!” While Reva grew to accept (if not forgive) her wayward dad, Hawk’s youngest daughter, Roxie (Kristi Ferrell) was less forgiving.
Over time, Hawk became integrated into Springfield. He ran Company and romanced Lillian (Tina Sloan), but they broke up and Hawk returned to Sarah (Audrey Peters), the mother of their children. Rogers reprised his GL role in 1995 when Zimmer returned to the show; he appeared sporadically on GL through its final year, 2009.
Zimmer paid tribute to the man she called “Pop” on GL on her Facebook page. “RIP Gil Rogers!” Zimmer wrote. “This is a man I thought would live forever! My favorite ‘Pop’! Heaven just got a lot more fun! I love you! ❤️”
Hawk was a teddy bear compared to Rogers’ other daytime character, AMC’s Ray Gardner, the biological dad to Jenny (Kim Delany, now, General Hospital’s Jackie) and Tad (Michael E. Knight, now, GH’s Martin). Low-life Ray committed horrific crimes throughout his life, including trying to sell Tad and raping Ruth Martin (Mary Fickett). He died at his own hand when a bomb he was working on to kill others detonated in his presence.
Rogers reprised Ray in 1994 after Tad went to heaven (what was Ray doing there?), temporarily. A year after GL’s cancelation, Rogers reunited with Sloan and they appeared in the short film Oh My Love.
Gil Rogers was predeceased by his wife, Margaret Hall, who died in 2015. Hall was an actress, who appeared with Rogers in the film The Bell Jar and in the TV mini-series Mildred Pierce. Soap Hub sends sincere condolences to Rogers’ family, friends, and fans at this difficult time.