Jay Pickett, renowned for his appearances in TV soap operas such as “General Hospital” and “Days of Our Lives,” died on Friday while filming a film in Idaho. He was 60 years old.
Travis Mills, the director of “Treasure Valley,” in which Mr. Pickett was supposed to feature, said on Sunday that Mr. Pickett became unwell while preparing to film a scene in Oreana, Idaho. He stated that there was no official explanation for the reason for death.
Mr. Pickett “died seated on a horse ready to rope a steer in the movie,” said Jim Heffel, a co-star on “Treasure Valley.”
Mr. Pickett, according to Mr. Mills, abruptly slumped down. “We were getting ready to film this sequence, and he was just sitting there on horseback,” Mr. Mills recalled, adding that workers on the set performed CPR until paramedics arrived by helicopter a few minutes later. Mr. Mills stated that he was declared deceased at the spot.
Mr. Pickett grew up and had numerous ties in the area where “Treasure Valley,” a western about a man rebuilding his life after a fire destroys his family, was being filmed, according to Mr. Mills. Mr. Pickett would make statements like “That’s where my brother lived” and “That’s where I went to elementary school” on vehicle drives across the valley to identify locations to film, Mr. Mills remembered.
Mr. Pickett’s younger sister, Jan Larison, stated, “He desired to come back and produce films about the lives he was up among.”
Jay Harris Pickett, the fourth of five children, was born on Feb. 10, 1961, in Spokane, Wash., to cattle trader E. Richard Pickett and Virginia Pickett worked for the federal government in agriculture.
According to Ms. Larison, the Pickett family relocated roughly 400 miles south to Caldwell, Idaho, where Jay was reared. He graduated from Vallivue High School in 1980 and went on to Treasure Valley Community College, where he played football and met Elena Bates, the woman he would marry.
Following community college, he enrolled at Boise State University, where he continued to play football and finally earned a bachelor’s degree in theatrical arts, according to his sister. He then attended the University of California, Los Angeles, where he got a master’s degree in drama.
According to his sister, Mr. Pickett participated in rodeos and played quarterback for his college football team while studying drama. His abilities on the stage, the field, and the saddle were noted, notably by some of Ms. Larison’s acquaintances. “They were all simply dying to meet him,” she remembered.
Mr. Pickett began his acting career in his twenties, with tiny appearances in the 1980s TV shows “Rags to Riches,” “China Beach,” and “Mr. Belvedere.”
In 1991, he starred as Dr. Chip Lakin on “Days of Our Lives,” an NBC soap opera in which he appeared in 34 episodes. Mr. Pickett portrayed Frank Scanlon, a dedicated paramedic and substitute teacher in “Port Charles,” a spinoff of “General Hospital” that follows the lives of medical interns and doctors at the fictitious Port Charles General Hospital. From 1997 until 2003, the show aired on ABC.
Mr. Pickett’s rising star might be seen in unexpected places. Ms. Larison overheard a conversation about her brother in a bathroom while accompanying him in Las Vegas: “Oh my gosh, did you see — that was Jay Pickett out there!” she recalled one woman saying.
From 2007 to 2008, Mr. Pickett portrayed Detective David Harper on ABC’s “General Hospital.” In 2012, he created, performed in, and produced “Soda Springs,” a western film starring Tom Skerritt and Michael Bowen.
Mr. Pickett went on to feature in several programs and TV movies, including the 2015 series “NCIS: Los Angeles,” the TV series “Queen Sugar” in 2017, and the 2020 film “Soldier’s Revenge.”
Mr. Pickett had four films that were in postproduction as of Sunday, according to the Internet Movie Database, in addition to “Treasure Valley.”
Jay Pickett married Elena in 1985 and had three children, Maegan, 35; Michaela, 29; and Tyler, 15; as well as three additional siblings, Dee Pickett, Ginna Maggard, and Rich Harris Pickett. Mr. Pickett’s father passed away in 2005, and his mother passed away in 2013.
According to Mr. Mills, Mr. Pickett died on the seventh day of what was meant to be a 20-day film production for “Treasure Valley.” “I honestly feel that is some of his greatest work, if not the best,” he added.
Mr. Mills said he could try to publish Mr. Pickett’s screenplay for the film and put the footage into a short film or video tribute to the actor.
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