This might be currently the worst kept secret in soaps. Veteran General Hospital actress Jane Elliot has informed her bosses at the ABC serial and multiple costars that she won't be re-signing when her contract expires this spring.
Elliot has played ruthless-yet-hilarious snob Tracy Quartermaine on GH on and off since 1978. She even briefly took the character to the short-lived Loving spinoff, The City. The prolific actress also played Linda Skerba on A Flame In The Wind (1965), adulterous Judy Trent on Knots Landing (1980-81), unstable Carrie Todd on Guiding Light (1981-82), money-grubbing Cynthia Chandler on All My Children (1984-86) and cougar Anjelica Deveraux on Days of Our Lives (1987-89).
Last April, entertainment journalist Michael Logan first broached the subject of retirement with Elliot in an interview for TV Insider. Here's an excerpt:
"Are you still threatening to retire?
I’m still anxiously awaiting it. It will be very hard to leave GH. There are people in that building who have been a part of my life for 38 years and I will miss them dearly. But I want to keep growing, learning new things, living in new places, in order to expand my mind. Thank God for soap operas, I have raised two kids who are now grown and on their own. This has been the best job possible for any actor who is a mom.
And you wouldn’t miss acting?
No. I do not have that hunger. I have logged enough man hours in front of the camera that I can actually retire with a pension from my union, something I am extremely proud of. But, as far as acting goes, I am full. I am satiated."
In recent months, Elliot has been heavy in story with Michael Easton and Rebecca Budig on GH. Proving the old trick of having a beloved character invest in newcomers —as a way to ingratiate them to the audience — still works, Tracy's affection for Dr. Hamilton Finn (Easton's umpteenth GH character) and Budig's reformed schemer Hayden Barnes helped the couple become popular with fans. Wouldn't it be incredible if GH executive producer Frank Valentini some how managed to change Elliot's mind?