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John Ingle, 'General Hospital' Star, Dead at 84

John Ingle, 'General Hospital' Star, Dead at 84John Ingle, 'General Hospital' Star, Dead at 84

John Ingle, a retired teacher who starred on the ABC soap opera "General Hospital" for two decades after mentoring several future Hollywood stars, died Sunday at his Los Angeles home.

He was 84 and had been battling cancer.

Before he began his acting career, he founded the performing arts departments at both Hollywood and Beverly Hills High schools in 1955 and 1964, respectively. 

Among his students were Oscar winners Nicolas Cage and Richard Dreyfuss, along with Albert Brooks, Joanna Gleason, Barbara Hershey, Swoosie Kurtz, Stefanie Powers, David Schwimmer and Jonathan Silverman.

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"A wonderful guy," tweeted Brooks on Monday afternoon.

Ingle retired from teaching in 1985 and began an acting career the same year. He joined "General Hospital" as the family patriarch in 1993.

"John Ingle achieved great joy from playing the role of Edward Quartermaine," said executive producer Frank Valentini. "In our brief time working together, I have enjoyed getting to know a great man who embraced life, cherished what he did and, most of all, loved his family. He is already truly missed by the 'General Hospital' family."

In December 2003, Ingle was fired and his character was to be killed off. But following outraged protests from fans, Ingle was rehired and put on recurring status. Without a contract, however, he left for the rival soap opera "Days of Our Lives" in 2004, before returning to "General Hospital" in 2006.

Ingle last taped "General Hospital" this year, on Aug. 24, and his final appearance aired Sept. 11.

"He was genuinely interested in people and everything that was going on. His dressing room door was always open, and many of us would find our way there to pick his brain and, in turn, he would lend an ear and offer his wisdom," said longtime "General Hospital" cast member Leslie Charleson.

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Ingle's acting credits include the feature films "Batman and Robin," "Death Becomes Her," "Robocop II," "Heathers" and "Senseless." Among his TV credits are guest stints on  "Beverly Hills, 90210," "Cheers," "Dallas," "Doogie Howser, M.D.," "Night Court" and many others. He was also the voice of Cera's dad in the animated films  "Land Before Time" (parts I-VIII).

Born in Tulsa, Okla., in 1928, Ingle's family moved throughout the Midwest before settling in Tujunga, Calif., where he finished high school. He received his theater degree from Occidental College in 1950 and got his teaching credentials the next year.

In 1951 Ingle met singer and actress Grace-Lynne Martin and they were married in 1954.  The next year he began teaching at Hollywood High during the day and at Los Angeles City College at night. After nine years at Hollywood High, he moved across town, where he eventually spent 21 years teaching at Beverly Hills High.  

His wife passed away earlier this year. He is survived by their five daughters, Jessica, Jenny, Carey, Melanie and Chrissy, and nine grandchildren.