John Callahan, famous for playing the roles of Edmund Grey on All My Children and Dr. Baker on Days of Our Lives, suddenly died on March 28, 2020. He was 66.
As reported by Soap Opera Network, Callahan died unexpectedly after suffering a massive stroke at his Palm Desert, California, home on Friday, March 27. “Paramedics responded to a call and rushed the actor to Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, California where he was put on life support,” Soap Opera Network reported. On Saturday morning, he passed away.
Callahan was previously married to first wife Linda Freeman, with whom he shared two stepsons. After they divorced in 1995, he later tied the knot with actress and former All My Children co-star Eva LaRue in 1996. Together they had one daughter, Kaya Mckenna, who was born on December 6, 2001. Callahan and LaRue divorced in 2005.
A rep for Callahan said that the actor did not die from coronavirus, “but due to the current hospital safety regulations, the younger Callahan and LaRue were able to see the actor for a limited time before having to exit the hospital. They were then notified of Callahan’s passing shortly after midnight by phone.”
Ex-wife Eva LaRue said of his passing on Instagram, “We are extremely saddened and distraught over the loss of John. He was my great friend, co-parent and an amazing father to Kaya. The absence of his bigger than life, gregarious personality will leave a hole in our hearts forever. Words cannot express the shock and devastation we are feeling at this time. The Yankees just lost one of their greatest fans.”
Here’s what you need to know about the late John Callahan:
1. Callahan Was a Pre-Law Student at UC Berkley Before Pursuing A Career In Acting
Born on December 23, 1953, in Brooklyn, New York, Callahan first moved out to attend college at the University of California at Berkley, where his goal was to one day become an attorney. While a student, he made extra money working as a bartender, and after being hired as a nightclub manager, Callahan realized he wanted to pursue a career in entertainment.
His first credited acting role came in 1982, when he played the role of “reporter” on the TV series Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. For the next few years, Callahan continued to land more prominent guest-starring roles on shows such as Fantasy Island, General Hospital and Hotel before landing his first starring role on Falcon Crest.
As Eric Stavros, Callahan starred alongside Lorenzo Lamas and Jane Wyman on the popular primetime serial. He appeared in 66 episodes between 1989 and 1992, which propelled his career into soap opera stardom.
2. Callahan Starred on ‘Santa Barbara,’ ‘All My Children,’ ‘Days of Our Lives’ & ‘The Bay’
For decades, Callahan was a familiar face on primetime TV. He played the role of Craig Hunt on the soap opera Santa Barbara from 1989 to 1992 before nabbing the part of Edmund Grey on All My Children from 1992 to 2005, during which time he met and married LaRue, who played the role of Dr. Maria Santos Grey on the long-running series.
In 1998, he won the Soap Opera Digest Award for Outstanding Lead Actor for his role on All My Children, which he was previously nominated for in 1997, as well.
3. Callahan & LaRue’s Daughter Kaya Is A Travel Blogger & Activist
Following in her parents’ footsteps, Kaya once appeared on the CBS drama CSI: Miami in 2011, but that’s her only acting credit according to IMDB. Based on her blog website and social media pages, Kaya is passionate about travel and numerous animal and human rights campaigns.
In 2017, she launched the #StillaGirl campaign to ban the tradition of child marriages both in America and abroad. In 2019, she attended the WildAid gala, which helps end illegal wildlife trade and the killing of elephants, sharks and rhinos for sale of their ivory, horns and fins.
The first photo Kaya ever shared on Instagram was a throwback picture with her father, explaining how her first trip to Italy with her parents at age two kicked off her inspiration to travel the world.
4. Callahan & LaRue Hosted The Miss America Pageant In 1998 & Remained Close Following Their Divorce
Despite their divorce, Callahan and LaRue remained on good terms while co-parenting their daughter. In her Instagram tribute LaRue referred to he ex-husband as her “dear friend.”
She wrote, “Your bigger than life, gregarious personality will leave a hole in our hearts forever. We are devastated-My great friend, co-parent partner, and loving father to Kaya. That big belly laugh, bear hugs, bad puns, ability to harmonize to any song, great kitchen table singing-fests, and two steppin bad ass! ‘Johnny Numbers,’ my ‘All My Children’ soap stud, the great timekeeper, Beatles fanatic ( I wish to God we could go back to “Yesterday”)… ”
5. Former Co-Stars & Friends Such as Kelly Ripa Shared Heartfelt Tributes To Callahan On Social Media
Kelly Ripa, who co-starred with Callahan on the movie Marvin’s Room in 1996, which also starred a young Leonardo DiCaprio, remained close friends with the actor. Following his death, Ripa wrote on Instagram, “Because there are no words, all I can muster is Rest In Peace #johncallahan My heart breaks for you @evalarue and @kaya_callahan.”
In addition to co-stars and friends, soap opera devotees shared tributes to one of the favorite TV stars.