A 'hero': Johnny Wactor's family, friends remember slain 'General Hospital' star

To Johnny Wactor’s loved ones, he was more than just a “General Hospital” star. He was a kind son, a best friend, a former lover and a recovering alcoholic, according to the friends and family mourning the TV star, who was killed Saturday.

“They took a wonderful person,” Wactor’s mother, Scarlett Wactor, said in an interview with “Good Morning America” that published Tuesday

For the record:

4:00 p.m. May 28, 2024A previous version of this story said the “Good Morning America” interview and LAPD statement were published Monday. They were published Tuesday.

Family and friends in Wactor’s close circle are remembering the actor, who was fatally shot early Saturday after he encountered three men attempting to steal the catalytic converter from his car in downtown Los Angeles. He was 37.

Wactor was best known for portraying Brando Corbin on “General Hospital” from 2020 to 2022. He was shot when he was walking a co-worker to her car after their bartending shift at a downtown L.A. bar, his brother Grant Wactor confirmed to The Times on Sunday.

“Johnny stepped in front of the co-worker [and was] shot,” Scarlett Wactor said in an interview with “Today.” .

When asked to reflect on her son’s efforts to protect his co-worker, Scarlett said she would “use the word ‘hero,’” to describe her son. “Thankful that person’s OK, and that when he died he wasn’t alone,” she added in her “Today” interview.

Wactor’s immediate family, including brothers Grant and Lance, weren’t the only ones remembering the actor. A person who says she is his godmother wrote in a GoFundMe benefiting the actor’s family that “Johnny was the kindest soul” and called for justice. Actor and filmmaker Tessa Farrell called for justice and stricter law enforcement as she paid tribute to her ex-fiancé in a lengthy Instagram video.

“Johnny’s above now looking down and I’m so happy that I think we found happiness before he went because that was his dream in life is to be happy,” Farrell said as she detailed Wactor’s “fun” personality, their “too fiery” romantic relationship and “phenomenal” acting skills.

“We brought out the best in each other, and then also the darkest parts of each other; our lives were both forever changed,” she continued. “I’m so happy that he found sobriety after that relationship.”

Wactor’s slaying sparked anger from his loved ones. As his brothers lamented the “emptiness that doesn’t get filled,” Ferrell directly addressed the shooter in her video.

“I’m sorry but you shot the wrong guy. You know you can get a real job, like I know the job market’s hard, but we’re all in it together,” she said. “You don’t have to steal. Especially take a life over it?”

In a press release Tuesday, LAPD said the three unnamed suspects “were wearing all dark clothing and driving a dark colored sedan.” They went northbound on Hope Street after the incident, according to the press release. An investigation is ongoing, police said, and people with more information about the incident should contact officials, the statement added.

“This person is evil,” Scarlett Wactor told “Today” about the person who shot her son. “I think they are cowards. As a parent, you never expect to bury a child.”

Ferrell said her ex-fiancé, whom she had not seen in recent years, was a “rising star” and a “bright soul to this world” who was “full of gifts.” Now among them, she said, is the need for people to come together against criminal activity.

“Human life is disregarded too easy, guys, we gotta make some changes as a community,” she said. “We gotta support each other, come together.”

As news of Wactor’s death spread Saturday, “General Hospital” mourned its cast member in a social media statement.

“He was truly one of a kind and a pleasure to work with each and every day,” the statement said. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to his loved ones during this difficult time.”

Times staff writers Richard Winton and Tony Brisco contributed to this report.

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