Gerald Anthony Bucciarelli
He Loved Being Center Stage

Gerald Anthony Bucciarelli

Gerald Anthony Bucciarelli, the Emmy Award-winning actor who was best known for playing the same character (Marco Dane) on two different daytime soap operas, passed away on May 28, 2004. His passing sent shock waves through the New York acting community, but was felt most strikingly here in Brookline, where the Bucciarelli family has lived for decades.

Gerald was born July 31, 1951, the eldest of three children (his younger sisters are Mary Lou Bruno and Josephine Grignon). His parents migrated to America from Italy's Abbruzzi region shortly after World War II and settled in Pittsburgh, where his father worked in the steel mills and his mother Marie in a local department store. The family lived near Moore Park. Jerry was a graduate of Resurrection Elementary School and South Hills Catholic High School (Class of 1969).

As a youngster, Jerry joined with his friends as a player in the Brookline Little League. During his teen years he teamed up with classmates Mickey White, Danny McGibbeny, Joey Moreno and Ronnie Adamese as the lead singer in a local pop band that played rock 'n roll music around the local dance venues. Even at an early age Jerry had a flair for the dramatic, displaying a charisma that would soon propel him to the heights of acting stardom.

After graduating from high school Jerry moved to the West Coast in what he playfully described as a "late-60s hippie exodus", where he enrolled at Monterey Peninsula Junior College and later the University of California at Santa Cruz. This is where he discovered his passion, the theatre. He formed his own company, then went on to further study at the University of Washington and Temple University.

Gerald Anthony as Marco Dane.
Jerry as the villain Marco Dane on
"One Life To Live" - 1979.

In 1976, Jerry moved to New York top seek fame and fortune. His stage name changed to Gerald Anthony. He took an off-Broadway directing job to make ends meet, then in 1977 accepted an offer for an eight-day stint playing a new character called Marco Dane in the daytime soap opera "One Life To Live." Little did he know at the time that this short appearance would end up being a 17-year run playing a character he described as "the first really antiheroic character. He did rotten things but wasn't totally despicable because you understood him."

Gerald Anthony - September 1, 1981.
A meeting of the Gerald Anthony Fan Club on September 1, 1981 (photo from Soap Opera Digest.)

Yes, Marco Dane was rotten, and the fans loved him. As Jerry's character matured the accolades started pouring in. He had become a star of the daytime soap scene and the viewers couldn't wait to see what Marco would do next. He appeared as Marco, and for a short time doubled as the villain's brother Mario, on "One Life To Live" from 1977 to 1986, then returned again in 1989 and 1990. He was nominated for a Daytime Emmi in 1982.

Gerald Anthony and Brynn Thayer - 1982.
Gerald Anthony and Brynn Thayer - 1982.

From 1981 to 1983 Jerry was married to actress Brynn Thayer, who co-starred as Jenny on OLTL from 1977-1986.

He then took his OLTL role to ABC's General Hospital from 1992 to 1993, where he received a 1993 Emmy Award as Outstanding Supporting Actor for his efforts. In addition to his work in front of the cameras on ABC's daytime lineup, Anthony also served as a director for "All My Children" and briefly appeared as Rick Madsen on "Another World" from 1991 to 1992. During this time he also appeared in the movies "To Die Standing" and "The Secret of the Ice Cave."

Gerald Anthony Bucciarelli - 1993
Emmi Award Winner - 1993

After his time with the daytime soaps, Gerald Anthony moved on to his true love, directing. He wrote and directed a short movie, "Twisted", that toured the film festival circuit. He also continued acting, appearing in several prime-time TV shows, including "Moonlighting," "Jake and the Fatman," "MacGyver," "Law and Order" and "Third Watch." He had recurring roles as kind-hearted Father Pete Terranova on "Wiseguy" from 1987-1989 and as Ross Burnett on "L.A. Law" from 1988-1989.

In early 2003, Jerry made a brief return to the daytime dramas, playing a bit part on "As the World Turns." Asked why he had not returned sooner, he replied, "no one asked me." His final acting role was as Mr. Jennings in the Spike Lee movie "She Hate Me," in 2004.

When Jerry passed away suddenly on May 28, 2004, at age 52, actress Robin Strasser, who played the character Dorian Lord on OLTL had this to say: "He was a superb human being, a great actor, so much fun to be around, so volcanic and mesmerizing in his choices as an actor, so daring, take-away-the-net in his choices as a man."

Those who knew him agreed. Gerald Anthony Bucciarelli was a charming man of dedication and spirit. He may have been a man of energy and insight within the world of professional acting, but he will always be remembered as a cherished son of Brookline to those who knew him here at home.

As for myself, I can remember Jerry and my Uncle Danny, in the late sixties, rehearsing with their band in the basement. If I was lucky, my grandmother would allow me to go downstairs and watch them practice. I'll never forget sitting on the basement steps watching him belt out tunes like "Wipe Out," "Louie, Louie," "Alley Ooop," and "96 Tears."

 Anthony Bucciarelli (frontman) and the band practicing - 1965
Joey Moreno, Jerry Bucciarelli, Danny McGibbeny, and Ronnie Adamese
practicing their notes after returning from a baseball game.
Danny's nephew Clint is in front with the toy guitar.

In 1981, he surprised the family by showing up, unexpectedly, with his wife Brynn, at a New Year's Eve party at my parents house. My aunt, an avid follower of "One Life To Live," nearly fainted when "Marco and Jenny" walked through the front door.

On June 24, 2004, "One Life To Live" paid a beautiful tribute to Jerry at the end of their daily episode. I missed that one, but I'll always remember those many afternoons in the early 1980s, spent with my family watching the daytime drama and eagerly anticipating what "Butchy" would do next.

Eulogy for Jerry, written by his sister Josephine Grignon

Brother, confidante, teacher, leader, friend, mentor, an inspirational artist. Jerry was all these people wrapped in one and much more. Anybody who truly knew him and loved him knew he was a genuine, good-hearted person. We were blessed to have him in our lives. Jerry was passionate and lived his life with zest. He traveled all over the world and tried everything from race car driving to parachuting.

Jerry was literally a genius; he was a brilliant actor and an idealist. Jerry was part of Woodstock, the 60s revolution. He really believed the movement was about peace, love and harmony. He tried to live his life according to those values and wanted to spread those values through his art. He chose the acting profession that at one time valued true artistic talent and produced worthwhile work, but like so many things in our world that profession has changed and has taken on such superficiality that we rarely see great acting or significant artistry anymore.

But Jerry was a great actor and he will be remembered for his triumphs. We will celebrate his achievements today. We all remember his portrayal of Marco Dane on ABC's soap One Life To Live. It was one of the most enjoyable times in his life. Not only was he acting but he was writing and directing for that show as well. His creativity in that part led to the development of General Hospital's Luke and Laura. His contribution to daytime TV made them millions. After leaving the soap, Jerry worked on television in shows like LA Law, Wise Guy, and McGyver. His successes in the entertainment industry are numerous, from writing and directing to commercials and on-stage production. He recently had the opportunity to be part of a Spike Lee production. A movie he will not even see. To this day, people tell me what a brilliant actor he is and that he was the best they'd ever seen on soaps.

More than his professional successes, Jerry triumphed as a human being. He touched the lives of many people with his generosity and kindness. In the 1980s he made the single largest contribution in history at that time to the Save the Children Foundation. With his funding, they developed an entire village in Nepal, high in the Himalayas, making a monumental difference in the lives of all the people who lived there. He gave copiously to all kinds of charities, friends and family.

On a personal level, each person in my family had a special and unique bond with my brother. The connection I had with my brother was and is profound. I remember from the time I was a toddler wrestling with my brother on the living room floor and crying every time he got on an airplane to California or New York. My brother greatly influenced the person I am today. He introduced me to New York City, my first Broadway production, fine dining and limousine service. He helped me pick the colleges I attended and after graduating invited me to live in his apartment in SoHo. Those were some of the most exciting and carefree times in my life. We spent a lot of time together during those years and were great friends. He was one person whose advice I relied on. He taught me an appreciation for myself and introduced me to yoga, good books and music worth listening to! Most of all he listened to me and loved me. He guided me through my journey in life. I will continue to listen for his words of wisdom as I travel my path and believe that he will continue to be a guiding and protective force in my life. I will surely share his love with my daughter, Francesca and my nieces, Cassi and Carly, who will not have the opportunity to grow up with him as Mary Lou and I did!

Dear Brother, I love you. Mary Lou, Mom and Dad love you. Patti loves you and anyone who really knew you, loved you. Thank you for being my brother.

Gerald Anthony Bucciarelli

Marco Dane on Wikipedia

Youtube Video Clips:

One Life to Live Retro July 1978 Pt. 5

Badderly Island Part 10 - 1990

Badderly Island Part 11 - 1990

General Hospital - 1992 Tracy and Marco Dane plan their trip

Quotes From Fellow Actors and Actresses On Jerry Bucciarelli

Frank Valentini (Executive Producer, OLTL):

"Gerry Anthony was an exceptional actor and a warm and generous friend. His dedication to his craft was tireless, his devotion to his friends and colleagues, boundless. Gerry's friends at ONE LIFE TO LIVE are saddened by his death, but will remember the amazing talent and good humor he brought to his work."

Anthony Call (ex-Herb, OLTL):

"I could write a novel about Gerry. He was totally self-made, remarkably creative. Came out of very humble beginnings. I met him when I first went on the show. His scenes were extraordinary, particularly the work he did with Maggie Klenck [ex-Edwina] and Christine Ebersole [ex-Maxine] and Judy Light [ex-Karen]. He was a director, that's what he loved. He had a wonderful imagination and he'd work with these women and they never looked that good. Ever! He would create a structure - a lot of people hated him for it - he would create a fabulous structure to a scene and then they'd improvise. I saw some work that he staged in the theater. He was an alien. I'm telling you, he did not fit in. I think it hurt him in the long run. He always wanted to direct the show. They finally gave him a shot at two shows. They said, 'He's going to be long and impossible.' I happened to be in both shows, which was a thrill, and he directed them exquisitely and brought them in not long, but under the time limit and with shots and stuff that nobody ever saw on that show. He was a funny guy. He was always learning. When I came on the show, he wanted to get into the softball business playing competitive softball and volleyball with the other shows and my image was ... the standing joke was, if there's a team on ONE LIFE TO LIVE, Gerry Anthony is managing it and he's playing the game with one hand and reading the manual of how to play the game in the other hand. That was Gerry Anthony. He constantly learned. I was always flattered that he had a high regard for me, because I thought he was such an individual and so unique in his expression. I thought he'd look down his nose at me because I was just playing a stiff! But he had enormous admiration for me, and I was always flattered by that. I remember near the end of his run, we had a scene together, and I remember one of the greatest compliments I've ever been paid was that he was nervous acting with me. I said, 'Why are you nervous? I'm the one who doesn't think I can live up to you.' Well, it was a great compliment. He always looked to the stars for the best. I'm just stunned."

Judith Light (ex-Karen, OLTL):

"Gerry was one of the smartest men I ever knew, and I'm just so incredibly sad. We hadn't been in touch for a long time, but [his ex-wife] Brynn Thayer [ex-Jenny] is my best friend. She's the one who told me. For any of us who had that extraordinary opportunity to work with him or be with him, it's just devastating. He had so much to give and so much to do. I just hope that he's at peace now in a way that he wasn't when he was here. I wish I could tell him all the things I'm telling you. I told him that when I worked with him, but it's not the same. That was too many years ago. We had an incredibly creative time together and the way we worked together was so intense and so layered. You don't have very much time to do that kind of work when you do a soap, but Gerry and I always managed to do that. That was something that we both loved. The work we did was due in great measure to Gerry. He was also a wonderful director. There were things that we'd talk about and he'd guide me to. He was much more experienced than I was, because he'd been there for quite a while when I got there. He was very generous in showing me the ropes and telling me how everything worked. I was always excited when I knew I was going to get a chance to work with him ... which I did a lot. That was a good portion of my storyline. I think I won the Emmy because of Gerry. He was so much a part of that, giving me that story and helping me. He was an incredibly generous person. I wish he knew what we all know about him. It really is a shame."

Gerald Anthony and actress Jessica Tuck.    Gerald Anthony and actress Jessica Tuck.
Gerald Anthony and actress Jessica Tuck on "One Life To Live" - 1990.

Jessica Tuck (ex-Megan, OLTL):

"I got to work with him his second round on ONE LIFE. He was originally there with Judith Light and then he came back two summers in a row. My character worked with him constantly. We were thick as thieves. He made me crazy! He'd go off the page. Written dialogue was something to only take a look at. The fun thing about it was it worked with our characters and as long as I could run with him, we ended up having a very spontaneous, crazy relationship on-screen together, which I loved. It really got me out of my 'do it exactly, perfectly,' box. It gave me freedom to improv. Gerry Anthony had a lot of spirit. He loved what he was doing and I felt like it showed. I really enjoyed working with him. He was a crazy, uncontrollable spirit who I could relate to. For me, he was coming from Hollywood, so he'd tell me stories about nighttime television and the world outside of the soaps. I was just starting out, so it was interesting to hear what he was experiencing in L.A. He used to always say to me, 'Don't ever take for granted what you have on this show, because this is a really great gig.' He was absolutely right. Some of the best times I've had were on ONE LIFE with that group of people. He took me under his wing. You couldn't help but love him. He was incredibly kind and incredibly respectful to me as an actress. He gave me a whole new level of confidence that I had something to offer. I felt like he always trusted me. We had this kooky storyline - it was ridiculous, but the crazier it got, the more fun it was. It was the perfect fodder for Gerry to have a good time. He was an energy who'd come sweeping in. He was great. I think about him because that was such a fun time and I'm so sorry to hear he's passed away. It's so sad. He certainly made an impression on me."

Quotes about Gerald Anthony on Blog of Death

Written by Clint Burton - August 15, 2004
Photos of Gerald Anthony Bucciarelli and actor comments from Soap Opera Digest,
Josephine Grignon and Elva McGibbeny

Gerald Anthony Bucciarelli

In Memorium
Gerald Anthony Bucciarelli