Sonya Eddy, who played the no-nonsense head nurse Epiphany Johnson in more than 500 episodes of the enduring ABC soap opera “General Hospital,” died on Monday at a hospital in Burbank, Calif. She was 55.
The cause was an infection following nonemergency surgery, said Tyler Ford, her producing partner.
Ms. Eddy joined the cast of “General Hospital” in 2006 and quickly established herself as a fan favorite as the head nurse of the hospital where much of the show is set. “General Hospital,” a fixture of ABC’s daytime lineup for nearly six decades, follows the adventures of characters who live in the fictional town of Port Charles, N.Y.
Frank Valentini, the executive producer of “General Hospital,” said in a statement, “The lights in the hub of the nurse’s station will now be a little dimmer, but her spirit and light will live on in both the show and our set.”
Ms. Eddy appeared in 543 episodes in 16 years on the show, the most recent of which aired on Oct. 20. She also played Epiphany in 25 episodes in the spinoff “General Hospital: Night Shift” in 2007 and 2008. The character was the mother of Stan Johnson, who was killed in a mob hit.
Sonya Eddy was born on June 17, 1967, in Concord, Calif. She was a theater and dance major at the University of California, Davis, where she received her bachelor’s degree in 1992, according to IMDb.com. While she was a student there, she made her acting debut onstage in a production of “Zora Is My Name!”
Ms. Eddy recalled the experience in an interview with the website stonecoldandthejackal.com. “I loved the sense of being able to influence the audience, to open a door in their mind that they otherwise may not have opened,” she said.
She later performed in stage productions of “Comedy of Errors,” “The Crucible,” “Into the Woods” and “South Pacific.”
Ms. Eddy’s is survived by her mother, Robbie Jean Eddy, and a brother, Lee Eddy.
Ms. Eddy made her first television appearance, as “Woman No. 2,” in an episode of “The Drew Carey Show” in 1995, and went on to find steady work with roles on “ER,” “Seinfeld,” “Glee” and other hit programs. Her film credits include “Barbershop,” “Coach Carter” and “Matchstick Men.”
But her most enduring role was as Epiphany on “General Hospital.” She must have appeared credible as a nurse because she played one several times throughout her career, including in the film “Seven Pounds,” from 2008, starring Will Smith, and “Year of the Dog,” from 2007. She also appeared as a nurse in the thriller “Frank and Penelope,” which was released this year.
She was a supporter of real-life nurses, and led a campaign this year to raise money for scholarships for nursing students.
Ms. Eddy was also a singer. On “General Hospital,” she showcased her singing skills during memorial services and nurses’ balls. On Tuesday, the “General Hospital” Instagram account shared a clip of Ms. Eddy’s character leading other nurses on the show as they sang “Hallelujah” in a 2017 episode.
Sheelagh McNeill contributed research.