Sonya Eddy “passed away last night,” Octavia Spencer posted on Instagram on Tuesday (Dec. 20) while sharing a photo of the 55-year-old General Hospital actress (h/t TMZ). “The world lost another creative angel. Her legions of @generalhospitalabc fans will miss her. My thoughts and prayers are with her loved ones, friends, and fans!” Octavia didn’t explain what led to Sonya’s death, and fans filled the comments section with messages of grief and sorrow. HollywoodLife has reached out to Ms. Eddy’s rep for information.
For over 540 episodes, Sonya portrayed nurse Epiphany Johnson on General Hospital, beginning her run in 2006 and ending with her apparent death. In addition to her time on GH, Eddy appeared in Those Who Can’t, Fresh Off The Boat, and the 2013 series, Legit. Her IMDB profile is rich with roles in everything from The Middle to Girl Meets World to her early roles in High School High, Seinfeld, Home Improvement, and Blast From The Past.
“I was a psychology student at UC Davis,” Sonya said in an interview with Charlene Bazarian, published on The Awesome / Stone cold and the Jackal. “I spent a lot of time in the green room in the theatre department observing people. I found these folks, who seemed to easily just become someone else, fascinating from a psychological point of view. I took a History of Black Theatre course, and it involved an oral presentation. My professor pulled me aside and told me that, with a voice like mine, I should be on stage. I laughed it off, as I am a very shy person. Like everyone in my family, I loved to sing in my church choir, but that was the extent of any interest I had in putting myself out there, so to speak.”
Sonya acted in some school projects, but her interest was still a bit tepid. “It wasn’t until Ruby Dee was a special guest at the university, and I was one of the few students invited for a luncheon with her, that the idea of becoming an actress started to take shape for me,” continued Eddy. The multi-hyphenate, who originated the role of Ruth Younger in A Raising In The Sun, gave Sonya the advice that would change her life. “She simply said, ‘I understand why you would have a hesitation about becoming an actress, but not a lot of people can do what you can do. Don’t think about it, just do it.’ When someone like Ruby Dee speaks to you like that, you listen.”
Sonya landed the part on General Hospital thanks to an anti-smoking PSA she did. “Jill Farren Phelps, an executive producer on General Hospital at that time, had seen it and showed it to Bob Guza, who was the head writer then. Grey’s Anatomy was a big hit on television, and they had wanted to model the character of Epiphany Johnson after Chandra Wilson’s character. My agent said I booked the part on General Hospital without even having auditioned. It was supposed to be a one-day booking, which turned into two weeks, which eventually led to my being put on contract.”
My guiding beacon in life is, ‘There go I before the grace of God,’” she added in the interview. “I try to put myself in other people’s position before I snap, crackle, and pop, so to speak. I also grew up in a family that taught each of us that our word was our bond. Whenever I come to a challenge or a crossroad in life, I have found that these two principles carry me through.”