Opera Digest: Have you been
aware of all the chatter from Jack fans, advocating your return
Matthew Ashford: Yes, I have.
And it's been kind of wonderful. I've been watching from the sidelines,
and I appreciate it because it shows that, I guess if you were
on the stage, you've left the stage and walked into the wings,
but the applause is following It's a wonderful feeling as an actor
and performer to know that people not only recognize it but they'd
like to see more.
In our July 13 issue, DAYS Executive Producer Ken Corday was asked
about the possibility of bringing you back. He said, "Let's
talk for a minute. Jack fell down an elevator shaft, was impaled
and is dead, dead, dead.... That's not to say that he won't come
back some day, but you have to watch it with the audience that
they say don't say, `Oh, our trust is ruined, Ken. You keep killing
people and they keep returning.'" What is your reaction to
hearing that DAYS has opened the door a crack for you to possibly
return one day?
Ashford: Before now, I never
heard the impaled part [laughs]. All I ever heard was that
Roman said, "Jack died a hero." So that's all I know.
I didn't know any of the grisly details. But in the halls with
the producers over at NBC, they made the mystery kind of
in a clearer tone, clearer imagery, about how dead Jack is in
the storyline right now. I've been doing this quite a long time
and I realize they put a lot of focus into these characters coming
back, and then there are other characters coming in. A Martinez
[Eduardo] is there as well, I understand.
Vincent Irizarry [Deimos]is also there.
That's a lot of firepower. You have a lot of wonderful actors
at DAYS. I think they're filled up by now. Of course,I appreciate
being considered at all. Again, I'm really glad that the fans
and the people keep asking about me because I think that means
something to Ken, the producers and, hopefully, the folks at NBC.
Would you be open to a return?
Ashford: Yeah, I would be open.
I've audition for a lot of different things and realized that
I was given a lot of wonderful leeway with the things that I got
to do as Jack. I'm also also open to coming back as someone else.
Has there been a part of you that wishes you were there to play
alongside Stephen Nichols (Steve), Melissa Reeves (Jennifer),
Judi Evans (Adrienne), Mary Beth Evans (Kayla) and other members
of the cast?
Ashford: Absolutely. Mary Beth
and I work together on THE BAY and she talks about how fun it
is at DAYS. You go in and play with people who get it and who
work in a certain way. Judi's a wonderful actor and Missy is ob
obviously amazing. I think it's a good time for them.
Who are you in touch with from DAYS?
Ashford: Mostly, it's Mary Beth.
Judi has worked on THE BAY and I see her from time to time. I've
also talked with Patsy Pease [ex-Kimberly], who plays a very interesting
character on the next season of THE BAY that hasn't been released
yet. It was pretty cool to catch up with her because we also had
the 50th anniversary of our alma mater, the North Caroline School
of the Arts. It started the same years as DAYS. So I went back
for that, to catch up with my old classmates and see a lot of
people who came before and after I was there. I thin Patsy was
working. She wasn't able to be there. I also talk occasionally
to Charles Shaughnessy [ex-Shane], who is often working around
the country performing.
When you think of DAYS, what memories stand out for you?
Ashford: The Cruise of Deception
was a big adventure. The whole arc of coming in and beginning
with Stephen and Mary Beth, and then the ensuing arc with Missy
-- those were great times and it went on for years. When I came
back in 2011, that was a full year of a very clear storyline.It's
very memorable, as well.
You mentioned Patsy Pease appearing on THE BAY. What can you say
about your character, Steve, in the new season?
Ashford: We're taking some twists
and turns. I'm working with some new people.The Garrett family
is hit with a very large obstacle. My character is part of the
Garrett family by marriage, but he's kind of on the outside looking
You have had some changes in your personal life. you now have
a son, Henry, 2. You also have two adult daughters, Grace, 23,
and Emma, 18. What differences have you noticed raising a boy?
Henry is nonstop action. He runs, moves, pushes, pulls, climbs.
I was talking to Mary Beth about him and she laughed, because
she raised two sons. She said, "Oh, yeah, they stay busy."
I used to be able to sit with one of my daughters in my lap and
read. But Henry is just busy. He's a bundle of job. I have four
older brothers, one older sister and two younger sisters, but
I never saw myself as the baby boy.
You and Lana Buss also have a daughter due in November. What are
the differences starting a family at this stage in your life?
Ashford: Our daughter's birth
is just around the corner, November 14 or so. As for the differences
starting a family at this stage in my life, I'm older [laughs].
My energy is what it is, so I have to plan a little more. I'm
also enjoying it because I realize these moments come and go so
quickly. My daughters are 18 ad 23. So I'm really trying to live
in the moment and enjoy the moment.
How did you and Lana meet?
Ashford: We were doing a play
together, Antony and Cleopatra. We started out as just
good friends. Lana's a good actress and smart and funny. Obviously,
my marriage came to an end and it's been really rough, honestly,
with the daughters. But hopefully we're all moving toward a happier
future. Lana and I didn't expect to be having kids. But life just
finds a way, as Jeff Goldblum said in Jurassic Park [laughs].
And here we are.
You tweeted about attending your dater Emma's cabaret performance
in July. How is she doing?
Ashford: Emma is going to graduate
this year from LACHSA, the Los Angeles County High School for
the Arts. She wants to pursue singing and musicals, so she was
doing a cabaret. It was an extra part of their classwork. It was
wonderful.Emma has always had musicality to her. She's a beautiful
young lady, and her mother has trained her well, so she has a
lot of talet. Performing really brings Emma happiness, it makes
me happy that she's doing it. It's a hard road to be an actor.
But she's following her dreams, and as a parent I have to stand
back and let her go for it. And she's worked very hard at it.
What would you want to say to your fans who have been so supportive?
Ashford: Again, I really, really
appreciate their support and being there for me. They'll share
memories that sometimes I don't remember. They'll bring up something
that Jack or Jennifer did. There should be a THIS IS YOUR LIFE
show for longtime actors who have worked on daytime so pas. The
fans could come out and share their memories, which the actors
may not remember, because the characters have led such busy and
exciting lives. The fans have a wonderful; energy. When things
get kind of quiet as an actor, it keeps me going.