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Days' Matthew Ashford: "There's Nothing Happy About Leaving"

Parting Words from the 'Days of Our Lives' Actor

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Days' Matthew Ashford:

Matthew Ashford

NBC/Mitchell Haaseth

Matthew Ashford, the actor synonymous with Jack Deveraux, has left and returned to Days of Our Lives four times in the past 25 years. While accustomed to the drill, he admits, “there’s nothing happy about leaving” the soap, as he gears up for exit number five. Nevertheless, Ashford does have one thing to be excited about: his first ever Daytime Emmy Awards nomination for his work over the past year. The actor reflects on that honor, dishes about his Days departure, and offers some encouraging parting words to his fans.

Congratulations on your first Daytime Emmy Awards nomination.
Thank you. I’m glad to be a part of it... It’s recognition from your peers. I’ve voted in enough of these things, usually for the supporting actresses, and I’ve seen a lot of very good actors, who are really spot on. They can do anything. Seeing that there’s a lot of good work out there and, then, there’s exceptional work, I’m honored to be considered among that group, this time.

Jack’s been around for decades, but mainly as a comedic character. What are your thoughts on it taking a dramatic plot -- namely, being held hostage in Afghanistan -- to finally get some recognition?
Maybe that’s the deal... We all know that a lot of times comedy things are considered light material and would have to be extraordinary [to earn a nomination]. Or there would have to be some really good dramedy, which did no exist when I was trying to do it.

It is hard to get a nomination for comedy. Look at the Oscars.
Exactly. People don’t recognize the comics until they’re long gone. Then, they go, “Oh! They were really good.” Maybe we need another awards show, a comedy awards show, and have it be about all things comedy all across the spectrum.

It doesn’t look like the Daytime Emmy Awards ceremony will be televised, this year. Does that bother you?
It will be like the early Oscars. When they started in [1929], they weren’t anything. They were a kind of gimme from the producers to keep those pesky actors happy. Give them a little statue. If it happens, whatever. It’s pretty much par for the course. I think most of the actors know that this is not going to be a huge game changer in their lives. They’re realistic about it. But the appreciation and recognition from fellow actors and peers is a nice moment to savor, if you need some encouragement to keep going. That’s really what it should be about.

Your nomination comes on the heels of finding out you were written off Days. Does that make it bittersweet?
Of course that’s bittersweet. But, as they say, you’re always a member of the Days of Our Lives family, and Jack is a pivotal character in many ways. He is such a part of the basis of [the show], and I do believe that. I believe that they mean that. It makes going a little bit easier.

Why does that make it easier?
Because you just feel recognized.

Fans really seem to be up in arms about your departure. How does that make you feel?
I’m disappointed. I’m disappointed for them. They really wanted a lot of good and interesting storytelling [for Jack and Jennifer], and we tried on the days that I was on or we were on. I tried to do my part.

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