Sarah Goldberg, a Chicago actress who starred as the Jewish medical student and rabbi’s daughter who fell in love with the son of a Christian minister on 7th Heaven, has died, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. She was 40.
Goldberg passed away in her sleep on Sept. 27, her computer still in her lap, at a cabin owned by her family in Wisconsin, her mother told the paper. “She went to sleep and didn’t wake up,” her mother said.
An autopsy proved inclusive, but Goldberg is believed to have died of a heart condition, according to her mother.
Goldberg starred on the popular TV series from 2002 to 2006, and fans closely followed the story line of her character, medical student Sarah Glass Camden, who was involved in an interfaith romance.
The actress, who received a degree in biology from Amherst College, was planning to become a doctor but pursued acting instead after working as a wedding-scene extra on the 1997 Julia Roberts comedy My Best Friend’s Wedding, the Sun-Times noted. She later parlayed that bit part into other work on such films as Jurassic Park III and TV shows like House and Judging Amy.
An accomplished athlete who loved water skiing and yoga, Goldberg lived in Santa Monica, California, and, at the time of her death, was visiting her family in the Chicago area to celebrate the Jewish High Holy Days.
Word of Goldberg’s death comes as her 7th Heaven costar Stephen Collins, who portrayed the TV show’s patriarch, is under investigation for alleged child molestation after a secretly recorded tape surfaced in which he purportedly confessed to having had inappropriate sexual contact with several underage girls.