Jerry Douglas, best known for portraying patriarch John Abbott on CBS’ The Young and the Restless for more than 30 years, died November 9 after a brief illness, his family announced Wednesday. He was 88.
Born Jerry Rubenstein in Chelsea, MA, Douglas launched his acting career upon graduating from Brandeis University, where he majored in economics, studying acting with Uta Hagen in New York and Jeff Corey in Los Angeles.
He joined the cast of The Young and the Restless in March 1982 as John Abbott, patriarch of the Abbott family and wealthy chairman of Jabot Cosmetics. When viewers first met him, he was a single father helping children Jack, Ashley and Traci navigate adulthood.
In later years, John Abbott wed Jill Foster and they had a son, Billy. John also had several romantic reunions with estranged ex-wife, Dina Mergeron.
John Abbott was a mainstay in Genoa City until the character’s death in 2006. He later made appearances as the character’s ghost who continued to check on and counsel his children. He last appeared in 2016.
“On behalf of the entire company of The Young and the Restless, we send our deepest sympathies to the Douglas family on the passing of Jerry Douglas, said Anthony Morina, Executive Producer, The Young And The Restless.
“Jerry came to Y&R in 1982 with an impressive resume of credits. Our show was lucky to have an actor of his caliber join the Y&R cast and introduce the audience to the iconic Abbott family,” added Morina. “His contribution to the legacy of Y&R as Abbott family patriarch, John Abbott is still felt to this day. He will be sorely missed.”
Over the span of his decades-long career, Douglas starred in more than one 100 productions. He appeared in numerous feature films, including Oliver Stone’s JFK, Avalanche, The Godson, Head Over Spurs in Love, and Mommie Dearest.
In recent years, he guest-starred in episodes of Cold Case, Melrose Place, The Christmas Wish, Crash and Arrested Development. Earlier in his acting career, he guest-starred in many classic series such as The Rockford Files, Police Story, Hunter, The Streets of San Francisco, Mannix, Barnaby Jones, Police Woman, The Rookies and Mission Impossible among others. His resume also included theater and singing engagements in New York, across the U.S. and Canada. His album “The Best Is Yet To Come” is available on audio streaming platforms.
Douglas is survived by his wife of 37 years, television host and author Kym Douglas, sons Jod and Hunter, daughter Avra, two grandchildren, and nieces including Kirby Rubenstein and Solo Rubenstein.
Services are pending.