matthew ashford homepage articles


  Where stars shine after work
"I'M THE VICTIM OF THE WEEK," GRINS MATTHEW ASHFORD  (Tom, General Hospital), who gets to play dead in the July 27 [1995] episode of Burke's Law. Ashford portrays tennis superstar "Spider" Arthur, an old college pal of Peter Burke (Peter Barton, who played Scott Grainger on The Young and the Restless), who meets his demise prior to a tournament when he's bitten by an Atrax spider that had been placed in his shoe.

While few tears are shed over the cocky, volatile pro's passing, Peter feels the most remorse since he only remembers the pre-celebrity Spider. Together Peter and Amos (Gene Barry) work their way through a web of suspects to find the killer.

According to Ashford, with Spider's emergence as a tennis star, "he got more and more nasty, and he alienated just about everybody around him. Then, of all things, he dies a horrible, nasty death from a spider bite," he says, noting that the character actually collected the creepy crawlers. "And it was one of his own spiders that bit him."

Ashford describes Spider as "a pretty wild guy... a pretty racy character. He kind of ran around and did whatever he wanted to do, saw who he wanted to see. He had a girlfriend (Stephanie Romanov, who played Teri Stevens and Monique Duran on Models, Inc.), but she didn't have that much of a hold on him."

Since tennis was the character's specialty, Ashford had to reacquaint himself with the sport. "I had not picked up a tennis racket in 15 years, so I tried," he laughs. Fortunately, he did have a double for the tennis-court scenes, which are shown in flashbacks throughout the episode. "But the double was right-handed, and I'm left-handed, so I ended up having to double the double. I had to pretend I was right-handed, so he could shoot well."

Apparently, the show wasn't able to film Ashford's death scene on location, as was originally planned. The management of the country club where they were shooting that particular episode wouldn't allow actors on its premises. "The were pretty hoity-toity," he explains. "So we had to go back to the studio to shoot the scene."

Aside from not having played tennis for a long time, Ashford also notes that it had been quite some time since he had to expire on-camera. "I landed right on it -- perfectly. The crew was ecstatic. I guess it meant that they got out earlier. So they gave me a big round of applause."

While Ashford meets his maker in Burke's Law, he narrowly escapes death in the feature film Species -- a science-fiction thriller starring Ben Kingsley.

"It's kind of an Aliens meets Looking for Mr. Goodbar," sums up Ashford. "I have a tiny part in that. It's one of those 'don't blink' kind of roles. I play a guy in a bar about to be picked up by an alien creature who has adopted the form of a lovely young woman. At the last minute another drunken girl falls into my lap, takes my attention away from the alien, and I'm spared."

As for the character's billing in the film, Ashford says: "He was either Guy in the Bar, or Good-Looking Guy in the Bar. But I think they dropped the good-looking," the actor grins.

Burke's Law [aired] on CBS. Species is an MGM release [at the time of the article was] currently in theaters nationwide.


[ home ] [ articles index ]