Kristoff St. John, a veteran soap-opera actor, is fondly remembered by costars
Kristoff St. John, the soap opera star who played Neil Winters on “The Young and the Restless” for nearly three decades, has died. He was 52.
Los Angeles Police Department officers were called to the actor’s Woodland Hills home at 2:05 p.m. Sunday and turned his body over to the Los Angeles County coroner.
No cause of death was available, according to the Associated Press.
Police did not believe there was anything criminal about the death and were treating it as a possible alcohol overdose, said Officer Rosario Cervantes, a spokeswoman for the LAPD.
The most recent tweet on St. John’s Twitter account was a retweet posted on Jan. 21 that indicated he was still grieving the 2014 death of his son, Julian.
The 24-year-old, who suffered from schizophrenia, committed suicide at a mental-health facility in Long Beach, prompting the actor and his ex-wife Mia to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the facility the following year.
Model Kseniya Mikhaleva, to whom St. John announced his engagement in September, reacted to her fiance’s death on Instagram with surprise and confusion, writing, “You were everything to me.” She later took down the post.
Attorney Mark Geragos wrote on Twitter: “Few men had the unique strength, courage & sensitivity that @kristoffstjohn1 lived every single minute of every day. He impacted everyone he met and millions who he inspired and in turn admired him. On behalf of @MiaStJohnBoxer & @TheStJohnFamily thank you for all of your love.”
St. John landed the role of Neil Winters on “The Young and the Restless” in 1991. He appeared in 1,680 episodes of the CBS soap, which is set in the fictional Midwestern town of Genoa City. During his run, St. John earned nine Daytime Emmy nominations. He won a Daytime Emmy in 1992 for outstanding younger actor in a drama series and won 10 NAACP Image Awards.
It is unclear how St. John’s death will affect the soap opera, which is currently in its 46th season. Representatives for CBS did not immediately respond to The Times’ request for comment on Monday.
Though Neil Winters was St. John’s claim to fame, the actor notched dozens of TV credits during his lengthy career. St. John made his television debut in the 1970s, clinching small roles in “That’s My Mama,” “Happy Days” and “Wonder Woman.”
In 1979 and 1980, St. John appeared in more than two dozen episodes of the sports comedy “The Bad News Bears.” The short-lived TV series, based on the 1970s baseball film trilogy, featured a young St. John in the role of Hank Aaron-loving outfielder Ahmad Abdul Rahim, a role originated by Erin Blunt in the films.
St. John also starred in a series of sitcoms, including “Charlie & Co.,” and earned several bit parts in the hit ’90s comedies “Family Matters,” “Martin,” “The Jamie Foxx Show” and “Living Single.”
He also guest starred on the ABC soap “General Hospital” in 2013.
St. John was married and divorced twice and was the father of a son and two daughters, according to the Associated Press.
Several costars and colleagues paid tribute to the actor on Monday.
“May he be met with the comforting arms of his beloved son and may their gentle souls rest together for eternity,” tweeted “The Young and the Restless” star Alice Hunter.
On Instagram, actress Vivica A. Fox shared an old photo of herself and St. John, which she captioned: “It is with a very heavy heart that I wake up this morning to hear about the passing of my good friend @KristoffStJohn who I started off my acting career with on the Soap Operas #Generations & #Young&TheRestless and recently #AChristmasCruise WOW! Kristoff I will soo miss u my brotha! U were a true gentleman 4sho!”
“The Young and the Restless” guest star and longtime St. John fan Yvette Nicole Brown also wrote a lengthy tribute on Instagram recalling her nerve-wracking 2016 appearance on the show and how St. John put her at ease.
“He was the kind of person you meet who you feel like you’ve known your entire life. He had a gift for making people feel instantly at ease. He could immediately diffuse any nervousness you had,” she wrote. “It could have been a scary, heavy moment. Kristoff made it LIGHT,” she wrote, adding that St. John was “kind, encouraging, playful, fun and present.”
Kent Faulcon, of “black-ish” and “Selma,” also tweeted a photo of himself with St. John, which he captioned: “My heart aches for brother Kristoff St. John. Good laughs working together, great chats when our paths crossed even teased you about getting your Young and the Restless dressing room for a few days working the show last year. ‘Must be the Brothers room’ Wishing u peace bro”
“I love this kid. He was a wonder kid, a great actor and an awesome man,” tweeted actor Stan Shaw, who played St. John’s character’s grandfather in 1979’s “Roots: The Next Generation.”
Here’s a sampling of the testimonials pouring in for St. John.
Must-read stories from the L.A. Times
Get the day's top news with our Today's Headlines newsletter, sent every weekday morning.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.