Tragic Details About General Hospital's Robyn Bernard

Note: The following article discusses addiction issues and mental health issues.

Fans were shocked at the death of former "General Hospital" star Robyn Bernard. The actor, who played the troubled Terry Brock on the soap opera from 1984 to 1990, was 64 years old when she was found dead in a San Jacinto, California field on March 12, 2024, according to the Riverside County Sheriff's press release. According to TMZ, a phone tip alerted police to Bernard's body, which was identified via fingerprints, but her cause of death has yet to be determined as of this writing.

Crystal Bernard, her sister and former "Wings" star, appeared on "Live with Regis and Kathie Lee" in 1992 and spoke about Robyn's professional aspirations. "I have an older sister that was on 'General Hospital' for several years. She played Terry Brock, and now she's pursuing her music career in country music," she said. However, Robyn's career stalled, and her last acting gig was in 2002's "Voices from the High School." She seemed to have kept the details of her life private after that.

The Daily Mail reported on March 15 that for the last year of her life, Bernard was experiencing homelessness, and the field behind a 7/11 where she was found was a common meeting place for others also without homes. The article further alleged that Bernard had addiction issues with alcohol and meth, as well as mental health concerns, so in her later years, she sadly lived a hard life. 

Growing up in the spotlight put pressure on Robyn Bernard

In an interview with Road and Travel, Crystal Bernard explained that Jerry Wayne Bernard, her and Robyn Bernard's father, was a minister. Bernard, "So we all would sing in church. I would sing every weekend with him," she said, adding the family would try to make life better for others. "Every night we would visit the old folks' homes; visit the shut-ins, and feed people. He would try to remind these wonderful people what we're here for and put their eyes back on God."

Crystal and Robyn enjoyed growing up while traveling around and singing with their family. According to a 1985 interview with Soap Opera Digest, Robyn explained that she was born while her parents were touring in Gladewater, Texas, but she doesn't really remember the place. "I think, when I was born, they just kind of stopped by and had me and kept going, 'cause we never lived there, so I really don't know too much about Gladewater."

Robyn also said the pressure of performing, combined with her dad being a minister, made her feel she needed to be perfect. "You can't make a mistake, and I grew up literally without doing anything wrong. I was the perfect child," she remarked. But excelling at school and touring with the family took its toll. She felt that after she embarked on her own life's journey, "I have been evil in my day since I've been away from home."

Her parents were very strict when she was growing up

Former "General Hospital" actor Robyn Bernard found herself "spinning my wheels, and digging myself into a hole" after she left home, as she told Soap Opera Digest, but she wanted to improve herself. "Now I want to excel again and succeed," she said during the 1985 interview, "but I'm willing to make mistakes. I can accept failure and I can stand on my own two feet." Her attitude was possibly due to her strict upbringing. Her sister Crystal told Texas Monthly in 1997 that when she and Robyn became backup singers for Bobbie Gentry in Las Vegas, their parents were no-nonsense when it came to their conduct. "It was so funny. We could play Vegas, but we couldn't talk on the phone." They weren't even allowed to contact their boyfriends or go out with their friends, especially if it involved drinking. 

According to The Daily Beast, although the sisters became a duo that performed gospel music, Robyn decided it wasn't working out. After watching "General Hospital," she went to Los Angeles and quickly snagged the part of Terry Brock. Although she bought a house in Malibu and had a role on the soap opera, she was quite star-struck. In December 1985, she told the Boca Raton News that "in the beginning, I'd have to say to myself — 'Stay cool, Robyn. Yes, that's Bobbi Spencer over there but stay cool.' Nowadays, Bobbi [the late Jackie Zeman] is one of my closest friends. We're spiritual partners. Isn't that something?" 

She dealt with alcohol addiction

After Robyn Bernard's death, a fan reminisced about the actor on X (formerly Twitter) saying, "I'm so sorry to hear of her passing. The Laurelton storyline was one of my favorites. She was a wonderful singer." They were referencing one of the best "General Hospital" murder mysteries in which Terry Brock was at the center of a series of killings that began in her hometown of Laurelton. The murderer shockingly turned out to be her fiancé, Kevin O'Connor (Kevin Bernhardt).

While her on-screen character had addiction issues, unfortunately, Bernard did as well. "She used to drink a lot and take drugs. I'm surprised she made it this far, to be honest with you. She would drink neat vodka — it will get you in the end," Norma Teyechea, a friend of Bernard's, told Daily Mail. Bernard's ex-boyfriend Dan Berlin told the outlet that "this had been going on a long time. I have happy memories of her. Some. But she was difficult to be around." He said he saw her last in 2022. "At that point, she had just let herself go."

Her friend Norma Teyechea also alleged that Bernard sadly drank large bottles of vodka 24/7. According to Bernard's police record obtained by Women Lifestyle, she was arrested in November 2017 for driving under the influence of drugs, then again in February 2018 for being under the influence of a controlled substance. She was also arrested twice for public intoxication and stealing a shopping cart in October 2018 and February 2019. 

Benard also had mental health issues

The Daily Mail also reported that former "General Hospital" star Robyn Bernard would wander the streets with shopping carts that contained all of her worldly possessions. "I used to see her around town all the time pushing her shopping carts," former neighbor Joni Woods recalled. "She always had four or five of them, and I always felt so bad for her." Woods said that aimlessly walking around outside made Bernard look worn from being in the sunlight too often and that no matter where she went, the shopping carts went with her.

Dan Berlin explained Bernard's presence on the streets. "She was out there, talking to herself in a nonsense way. She was a schizophrenic," he claimed. "I don't know if it was the drugs or the alcohol that did it, but she was pretty mentally unwell — she used to say that Hollywood screwed her over."

When Us Weekly posted the news of Bernard's death on Instagram on March 14, 2024, fans discussed whether or not it was caused by suicide, and theorized that since her body was found in a field, foul play may have been involved. However, Bernard's sister Angelique Andrews responded to the Us Weekly post: "it wasn't suicide ... I'm her sister ... I think her body finally gave up."

If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

She lost everything before her tragic end

Robyn Bernard eventually reached rock bottom, much like another "General Hospital" star, the late Tyler Christopher. Both were also described as loving, sweet people after their deaths. "She was something else. She was a sweetheart," her friend Margot Nichols told the Daily Mail after Bernard's death. 

Still, tragedy seemed to find Bernard. The former actor had been living in a trailer in 2015 when it tragically burned down. Everything she owned was gone, including her eight pet cats, one of whom died from smoke inhalation several days afterward, according to The Daily Mail. During this period, she also became estranged from her family and ex-boyfriend Dan Berlin.

Robert Berlin, Dan's brother, explained that she ended up living with friends in the trailer park for a time. "Our old management that we had here, when she'd come in, they'd run her off. She was some kind of pariah really. It was sad. And it used to make me really upset."

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).