Joel Crothers, Leading Man in TV Soap Operas, Dies at 44

Joel Crothers, who began his acting career at 9 and most recently played a series of attractive leading men on several soap operas, has died, it was learned this week.

He was 44 when he died Nov. 6 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center of cancer complicated by pneumonia, said Paula Hartz, a family friend.

Crothers was last seen as Jack Stanfield Lee, a playboy attorney, on NBC-TV's "Santa Barbara." He joined the cast in August, but his illness kept him from working, and he was written out of the show in September, Hartz said.

His first professional role came in the 1950s in the CBS Sunday morning religious show "Lamp Unto My Feet," produced by his father, Hartz said.

He appeared on Broadway at 12 in "The Remarkable Mr. Pennypacker" and originated the part of Ed, the bisexual teacher, in the Broadway version of "Torch Song Trilogy."

He had roles in such other daytime soap operas as "Dark Shadows" and "The Secret Storm" and acted for eight years in "The Edge of Night."

Crothers is survived by his parents and a brother.

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