Veteran soap opera actor Jay Pickett has died at age 60 while filming a movie in his other specialty—Westerns. "There is no official explanation for the cause of his death but it appears to have been a heart attack," wrote Travis Mills, director of the movie Treasure Valley, which was being filmed in Idaho, per USA Today. "Everyone present tried as hard as they could to keep him alive." Pickett is best known for his roles in prominent soaps over the years, including as Dr. Chip Lakin on Days of Our Lives and Frank Scanlon on Port Charles, notes Variety. Pickett also had guest roles on a slew of TV shows, from China Beach years ago to NCIS: Los Angeles more recently.
Pickett grew up in Idaho and participated in the rodeo as a young man, notes the Idaho Statesman. That led him to a number of acting roles in Westerns, including Soda Springs of 2012, which he also co-wrote. “Every actor who does a Western says they can ride a horse but they’re lying,” says fellow actor Michael Feifer. “Not only can Jay ride a horse, but he grew up doing rodeo. I know not only is he going to be safe, he’s going to look good doing it.” Pickett's sister provided the horses being used in Treasure Valley, and she said her brother was "in his element" on his last day. (Read more obituary stories.)