Doug Sheehan Dies: 'General Hospital's' Joe Kelly Was 75

Doug Sheehan, a television actor whose career included appearances during the 1980s on the daytime drama “General Hospital” and the primetime soap opera “Knots Landing,” has died.

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

A native of Southern California, Sheehan began his professional acting career in the late 1970s with minor roles on ABC’s original series “Charlie’s Angels” and the Emmy Award-winning series “Kaz.” Then, in 1979, Sheehan found his niche when he debuted as private detective Joe Kelly on ABC’s “General Hospital.”

Throughout his run on “General Hospital” from 1979 to 1982, Sheehan starred in more than 200 episodes, bringing to the screen Joe Kelly’s turn from detective to lawyer and his various romantic relationships.

Sheehan's soap opera career remained strong, as he landed a multi-year commitment to CBS's “Knots Landing” shortly after his “General Hospital” days. After Joe Kelly on “GH,” Sheehan played journalist Ben Gibson, Valene Ewing's (Joan Van Ark) second husband, for more than 100 episodes of “Knots.”

The actor returned to ABC to co-star in 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.

After years of television commitments, Sheehan seemingly moved away from leading roles and instead appeared as supporting or minor characters in series including “MacGyver,” “Dear John” and “Columbo” in the early 1990s.

He reunited with ABC in 1997 for the 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 cancelled in 1999.

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

Beyond his profession, Sheehan was also a polo enthusiast.

“I first saw a polo match at Great Gatsby Day, a charity event held at Will Rogers Park a couple of years ago,” Sheehan told The Times in 1987, “and I was so enamored of the old Rolls-Rolls and English boots that I went out and signed up for polo lessons the next day.”

Sheehan is survived by his wife. A funeral arrangement is being made at Kane Funeral Home.

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