Popular actor dies on set [Photos]

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Jay Pickett, an actor known for his roles in TV soap operas like “General Hospital” and “Days of Our Lives,” died on Friday while filming a movie in Idaho. He was 60.

Travis Mills, the director of “Treasure Valley,” which was set to star Mr. Pickett, said on Sunday that Mr. Pickett fell ill while preparing to shoot a scene near Oreana, Idaho.

There was no official explanation for the cause of death, he said.

Jim Heffel, a co-star on “Treasure Valley,” said in a Facebook post that Mr. Pickett “died sitting on a horse ready to rope a steer in the movie.”

Mr. Mills said Mr. Pickett suddenly slumped over.

“We were getting ready to film this scene, and he was just sitting there on horseback,” Mr. Mills said.

Co=stars on set said he was excited to be shooting the movie at that location, making comments such as “That’s where my brother lived” and “That’s where I went to elementary school.”

Jan Larison, Mr. Pickett’s younger sister, said, “His passion was to come back and make films about the lives he was raised around.”

The Pickett family moved about 400 miles south, to Caldwell, Idaho, where Jay was raised, Ms. Larison said.

He graduated from Vallivue High School in 1980 and attended Treasure Valley Community College, where he played football and met the woman he would marry, Elena Bates.

After community college, he attended Boise State University, where he continued to play football, eventually earning a bachelor’s degree in theater arts, his sister said.

While studying theater, Mr. Pickett played quarterback for his college football team and participated in rodeos, his sister said.

His skills on the stage, on the field and in the saddle did not go unnoticed, particularly among some of Ms. Larison’s friends. “They all just wanted to come over and meet him,” she recalled.

In his 20s, Mr. Pickett began his acting career with small roles in the TV series “Rags to Riches,” “China Beach” and “Mr. Belvedere,” which all began airing in the 1980s.

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