Metro Weekly

Groundbreaking Actor Jeffrey Carlson Has Passed Away Aged 48

The actor broke down barriers by portraying a trans woman nearly 20 years ago.

Jeffrey Carlson (
Jeffrey Carlson (

Actor Jeffrey Carlson, perhaps best known for his groundbreaking role as the transgender character Zoe Luper on the long-running daytime soap opera All My Children, has sadly passed away. He was just 48. The news of his untimely death has left fans and the entertainment industry in shock and mourning, and a cause of death has not been shared with the public.

Carlson joined the cast of All My Children in 2006, initially playing the character Zarf, a British rock musician. He would later return to the show in the same year in the same role, which had evolved. Zarf was revealed to be a trans woman named Zoe, who identified as a lesbian. Carlson’s portrayal of Zoe marked a significant milestone in television history, as it brought a transgender character into the homes of millions for the first time.

During his time on the popular daytime soap opera, Carlson appeared in a total of 59 episodes. His performance resonated with audiences and his character’s story had a lasting impact. Zoe’s journey on the show opened up important conversations about transgender representation and provided much-needed visibility for the LGBTQ+ community.

Prior to his role on All My Children, Carlson had established himself as a talented theater actor. He made his Broadway debut in 2002 in Edward Albee’s classic play The Goat or Who is Sylvia? His stage credits also included notable productions such as the revival of Tartuffe and the Boy George Broadway musical Taboo, for which he received the 2004 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical.

After leaving the world of daytime television, Carlson returned to his theater roots, appearing in shows like Hamlet, though he didn’t spend as much time in the New York theater scene. The news of Carlson’s passing has led to an outpouring of tributes from fans, fellow actors, and industry professionals. Many have taken to social media to express their condolences and share fond memories of the talented actor. The impact he made on the entertainment world and his contribution to diverse representation will not be forgotten.

Support Metro Weekly’s Journalism

These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!