Jerry ver Dorn, One Life to Live, and Kim Johnston Ulrich, Passions
Last September Jerry ver Dorn left his signature soap role as politician Ross Marler on CBS' Guiding Light to step in as the new Clint Buchanan at ABC's One Life to Live. Since the move was abrupt, GL covered for Ross' absence by explaining that he'd gone off to Washington, D.C. Next week viewers will get the sad news that Ross has died in an off-screen plane crash. TVGuide.com asked GL's longest-running cast member how he feels about his character's grim exit.

TVGuide.com: How has the news of Ross' death hit you?
Jerry ver Dorn:
I feel kind of bad about it because I invested 26 years, but there's no way the show could have given me resolution to the character. Even if they wanted to, there's no way I could've gotten out because Guiding Light took me off contract, and two days later I was on contract with One Life to Live. It's sad.

TVGuide.com: It sounded like GL hoped to retain several actors but save money by bumping them to recurring status.
Ver Dorn:
Well, they can say all sorts of things. I still have two kids in college, so it was kind of a poor time to take me off contract! [Laughs] The definition of "unemployed" is not knowing how much you're going to earn next week. The budget cuts were so severe. Just for my family's sake, I had to look for work.

TVGuide.com: Fair enough. The off-screen death is a downer, though. Would you have minded if GL recast Ross instead?
Ver Dorn:
I wouldn't have minded at all. Several people played Dr. Ed Bauer, for example. He was a long-running character on GL. I'm the second guy to play Clint on OLTL. So it's not sacrosanct. But they had to do something to free up the other characters to move on. Liz Keifer (Blake) is married to Ross; there's also Gina Tognoni, who plays my daughter Dinah. It's a big deal for the viewers because they get p---ed off when they know something has happened in real life and the show doesn't address it. Anyway, I understand my funeral is very nice. I wish I could've been there! [Laughs]

Come back and read Friday's Soaps News for scoop on the big story line that's sparked by Ross's death.