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Doug Sheehan, actor known for ‘General Hospital’ and ‘Knots Landing,’ dies at 75

A man with dark hair smiling in a dark suit with a red tie and white collared shirt
Doug Sheehan, an actor who starred in “General Hospital” and “Knots Landing,” died in late June. He was 75.
(Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)
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Doug Sheehan, a television actor whose career included years-long stints in the ’80s on the daytime drama “General Hospital” and prime-time soap “Knots Landing,” has died.

Sheehan died peacefully June 29 at his home in Big Horn, Wyo., with wife Cate Abert at his side, according to an obituary posted by Kane Funeral Home. A cause of death was not revealed. He was 75.

A Southern California native, Sheehan launched his professional acting career in the late ’70s with minor parts in the original “Charlie’s Angels” series on ABC and CBS’ Emmy-winning “Kaz.” Then, in 1979, Sheehan found his footing when he debuted as private detective Joe Kelly on ABC’s “General Hospital.

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Over the course of his “General Hospital” tenure, from 1979 to 1982, Sheehan starred in more than 200 episodes, bringing Joe Kelly’s pivot from detective to lawyer and his various romantic relationships to the screen.

Sheehan’s soap career remained steady as he landed a years-long commitment from CBS’ ”Knots Landing” shortly after his “General Hospital” days. After Joe Kelly on “GH,” Sheehan portrayed journalist Ben Gibson, the second husband to Joan Van Ark‘s Valene Ewing, for more than 100 episodes of “Knots.”

The actor returned to ABC to co-lead its family sitcom “Day by Day,” which aired from 1988 to 1989. The series also starred Linda Kelsey, Christopher Daniel Barnes, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Courtney Thorne-Smith and Thora Birch.

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After years of involved TV commitments, Sheehan seemingly took a step back from main roles and instead appeared as supporting or minor characters in series, including “MacGyver,” “Dear John” and “Columbo” in the early ’90s.

He reunited once again with ABC in 1997 for its series adaptation of Amy Heckerling‘s “Clueless,” replacing Michael Lerner as Mel Horowitz. The show moved from ABC to UPN for its third season and was canceled in 1999.

Sheehan’s TV credits also include “Passions,” “Sabrina the Teenage Wtich” and “What I Like About You.”

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Beyond his profession, Sheehan was also a polo enthusiast.

“I first saw polo played at ‘Great Gatsby Day,’ a charity benefit they had at Will Rogers park a couple of years ago,” Sheehan told The Times in 1987, “and I was such a sucker for the antique Rollses and the English boots I went out and signed up for polo lessons the next day.”

Sheehan is survived by his wife. A funeral service is pending, according to Kane Funeral Home.

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