Joan Benedict, the beloved actress renowned for her role on “General Hospital,” passed away at the age of 96 on June 24 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles due to complications from a stroke. Her family confirmed the sad news to Deadline and the Hollywood Reporter.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Benedict’s early life was marked by a dedication to the arts. She studied dance at the prestigious Rome Opera Ballet School, later transitioning into acting—a move that would lead her to become a cherished figure in American television and theater.

Benedict’s career began with appearances on “Candid Camera” and “The Steve Allen Show” in the 1950s. She quickly became a staple on television, with notable roles in “The Smith Family,” “Apple’s Way,” “The Incredible Hulk,” “Fantasy Island,” “Hunter,” and “Days of Our Lives.” Her most enduring role, however, was as Edith Fairchild on “General Hospital,” where she captured the hearts of millions.

In addition to her television success, Benedict shone on the silver screen. She appeared in films such as “The Happy Hooker Goes to Washington,” “A Month of Sundays,” and “The Theory of Everything.” Her versatility and talent also extended to the theater, where she starred in productions like “Promises, Promises,” “The Beauty Queen of Leenane,” and “Leona.” Her one-woman autobiographical show, “The Loves of My Life,” was a testament to her depth and passion for her craft.

Benedict once described her love for theater in an interview, saying, “The theater for me is like being in church. When you feel the audience and feel that communication with other souls, it’s like music. As a performer, I’m always pursuing that wonderful experience where you are completely alert and clear, and yet transported through your imagination.” Her words reflect the profound connection she felt with her audience, a connection that transcended the stage and screen.

Joan Benedict’s final acting role was in the 2017 movie “Opus of an Angel,” marking the end of a remarkable career that spanned decades. She was married to actor John Myhers from 1962 until his death in 1992, and they had a daughter named Claudia. Later, she married Oscar-winning actor Rod Steiger from 2000 until his death in 2002. Benedict also shared a deep bond with actor Jeremy Slate from 2002 until his passing in 2006.

Reflecting on her relationships, Benedict said in a 2016 interview, “Strangely, I met all three of these men when I was in New York, just beginning my career while I was still a teenager. Both of my husbands, and my lifetime partner Jeremy, were wonderful men who respected me as an actress. They all died from different forms of cancer, so my memories are sometimes bittersweet, but with no regrets.”

Joan Benedict’s life and career were marked by resilience, talent, and a deep commitment to her craft. Her legacy as a beloved actress and a conservative icon will be remembered and celebrated by her fans and the entertainment industry. As we bid farewell to this extraordinary woman, we honor the indelible mark she left on our hearts and the world of entertainment.