John Beradino Obituary

Last original General Hospital cast member, John Beradino, dead at 79

LOS ANGELES, May 20 (UPI) -- Actor John Beradino, who played the patriarchal Dr. Steve Hardy on daytime drama ``General Hospital'' for more than 30 years, has died at his home after a long illness, ABC television announced Monday. He was 79.

Beradino, who died Sunday, got his start in the ``Our Gang'' comedy shorts. He showed an early talent for sports, playing semiprofessional baseball on weekends at age 15.

He attended the University of Southern California on a football scholarship and later switched to baseball.

Beradino joined the St. Louis Browns in 1939, but his baseball career was put on hold for a four-year stint in the Navy during World War II.

He returned to the Browns and was traded to the Cleveland Indians in 1948, enjoying a World Series victory as Cleveland's second baseman.

He was forced to give up baseball in 1953 because of a leg injury, and he returned to performing with roles in such TV shows as ``I Led Three Lives,'' ``The New Breed,'' ``The Untouchables'' and ``Cheyenne.''

Beradino was one of the original cast members of ABC soap opera ``General Hospital'' when it went on the air on April 1, 1963.

On the show's 30th anniversary he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame celebrating his long tenure with the show.

He also collected three Emmy nominations over the years for best actor in a daytime drama. During his long run on the show he also appeared in three ABC primetime movies and had a cameo role in the soap spoof movie ``Young Doctors in Love.''

``John Beradino was a cornerstone of 'General Hospital' when it began 33 years ago, and he remained a vital and prominent member of the ABC family for more than three decades,'' said Pat Fili-Krushel, president of ABC Daytime. ``His wisdom, wit and love of life will be greatly missed.''

Wendy Riche, executive producer of the show, said, ``All of us at 'GH' are deeply saddened by John's passing. But we're grateful for the many years he shared with us.

``John left an indelible mark in two distinctly American pastimes -- baseball and daytime drama. He was a star in both,'' Riche said.