Emily McLaughlin (December 1, 1928 – April 26, 1991) was an American actress known for her long-standing role as Nurse Jessie Brewer on the ABC daytime soap opera General Hospital.
McLaughlin was born in White Plains, New York, where her father was mayor. She was educated at Middlebury College and after studying drama began performing in Broadway and Off-Broadway productions.
McLaughlin made her television debut in 1959, with regular role of Eileen Seaton on the NBC daytime soap opera, Young Doctor Malone. In 1961, she moved to Hollywood and began appearing with guest starring roles on anthology dramas The Twilight Zone, Studio One and Kraft Television Theatre.
From 1963-91, McLaughlin starred in the soap opera General Hospital as Nurse Jessie Brewer. She was cast as one of the original leading actresses on the series.
Registered nurse Jessie Brewer spoke the opening line of the premiere episode, “Seventh floor, nurses station”, a phrase that became a staple in the show’s early years. The series’ original premise centered around the drama of Brewer and Dr. Steve Hardy’s personal lives and experiences at General Hospital.
In 1974, McLaughlin earned nomination for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama for her role. She became the first and only actress, who was nominated for Golden Globe Award for role on the daytime soap.
Her character in General Hospital was seen less and less during the 1980s. Although she wanted the steady work and to keep her job, her failing health made it difficult. She was eventually demoted to day-player status, but still retained her billing at the top of the cast crawl.
Towards the end of her life, she was only shown on the serial a few times a year, with her last appearance on the show aired on February 13, 1991 when Jessie attended the funeral of a character named Dawn Winthrop.
On April 26, 1991, McLaughlin died of cancer, aged 62. She is interred next to Jeffrey Hunter in the Glen Haven Memorial Park cemetery in Sylmar, California.
After her death, co-star John Beradino announced at the end of a General Hospital episode that McLaughlin had died. However, the character Jessie Brewer was never written out of or referred to; she simply disappeared without explanation. Not until years later, during an anniversary episode, did Dr. Steve Hardy mention that Jessie had died.
McLaughlin was married to actor Robert Lansing from 1956 to 1968, with whom she had a son. After their divorce, she married actor Jeffrey Hunter in February 1969. Three months after they married, Hunter died of a cerebral hemorrhage on May 27, aged 42.
McLaughlin had an adopted daughter, Mary Ann Anderson, who wrote and published Portrait of A Soap Star: the Emily McLaughlin Story.