Alumnus Jeffrey Carlson Has Died
Alumnus Jeffrey Carlson (B.A., dramatic arts, ‘97), who achieved acclaim for his portrayal of one of the first transgender characters on daytime television in the series All My Children, died on July 6. His career spanned Broadway, regional theatre, television and film.
Originally entering UC Davis in order to pursue a career as a veterinarian, he shifted his focus after performing in various theatre department productions including West Side Story as Tony, Falsettos as Whizzer and Twelfth Night as Sebastian. After leaving UC Davis, he continued his training by attending Julliard in New York.
Carlson made his Broadway debut in Edward Albee’s Tony Award-winning The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? originating the role of Billy, and also appeared in Taboo, a musical by Boy George, and a revival of Tartuffe. He worked extensively in regional theatre including the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C., and the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon.
In 2006 Carlson made his mark in television when he first appeared on All My Children. His groundbreaking character was a British rock star named Zarf, who discovered through an arc on the series that she was a transgender woman, transitioning as Zoe. The character is believed to be the first transgender character on daytime television to come out and go on a transition journey. All My Children received a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Daily Drama in 2007 due to Zoe’s storyline and Carlson’s performance.
His film career included a role in the romantic comedy Hitch starring Will Smith.