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Matthew Ashford Biography

Matthew Nile Ashford (born January 29, 1960 in Davenport, Iowa) is an American actor.

Ashford comes from a large family, being the sixth of eight children. He graduated with a B.F.A. in Theater from the North Carolina School in the Arts in Winston-Salem.

Ashford has been married to dancer-choreographer Christina Saffran since 1987. They have two daughters, Grace and Emma.

In 1997, four-month old Emma was diagnosed with a rare form of childhood eye cancer, Retinoblastoma. The disease was treated with surgeries to remove the maligant tumors in her eyes and chemotherapy. At the age of five, tumors recurred in Emma's left eye, and it was removed and replaced with a prosthetic. Today Emma is healthy and cancer-free. Ashford has been instrumental in raising funds and awareness for this disease. He is the spokesperson for the Retinoblastoma International foundation.

After graduation, he moved to New York City, where he was cast as Drew Ralston on One Life to Live, a role he played from 1982 to 1983. He also appeared on Search for Tomorrow as Cagney McCleary from 1984 to 1986, as Tom Hardy on General Hospital from 1995 to 1997, and the serial killer Dr. Stephen Haver on One Life to Live in 2004.

He is best known for playing Jack Deveraux on the NBC soap opera, Days of Our Lives. Ashford has had several runs playing Jack, a conflicted character who descended into darkness after raping the woman who married him in order to give him reason to fight his illness. After a lengthy struggle with his guilt over his dark deeds, Jack finally was able to get back on track and allow himself to love his soulmate Jennifer who pursued him relentlessly. Ashford's pairing with Melissa Reeves' Jennifer was wildly popular and the couple is considered a supercouple, by soap opera standards. Jack also became integrated into his biological family. Ashford's initial run was from 1987 to 1993. He returned from 2001 to 2003, but was written off as part of a controversial storyline where nearly a dozen residents of the fictional town of Salem appeared to have been murdered. (The complex plot had them alive and held hostage in another country.)

He returned to the show in 2004, but had spent much of his time since on the back burner, and was off-screen for large portions of 2005 and 2006. In July 2006, it was announced that Ashford, a fan favorite, had again been let go from the Days of Our Lives cast roster, a story confirmed in the July 25, 2006 edition of industry magazine Soap Opera Digest. Currently there is a huge uproar amongst DOOL watchers, many who consider Matt Ashford to be an incredible actor, and Jack Deveraux to be an amazingly interesting and complex character.

Matt's last day on Days of Our Lives was on September 21, 2006. Jack and Jennifer bid Salem farewell as they headed off, young son in tow, to live and work in London.

Matthew is part of a production company (NGM Productions). They have just produced a movie entitled The Unlikeley's. In it, he plays the most famous soap star in the world and his exact look-alike.

Matt's production company has also produced a movie entitled The Exorcism of Tina Miller, and they are currently working on the distribution details.

Matthew appeared as Jack on April 2nd and 3rd 2007. He visited Abigail in New york. He is going to be on recurring status.

Matt will also appear with Scott Bakula in a production of 'No Strings' in May, 2007.

He has won 5 Soap Opera Digest Awards in 1989, 1991, 1992 and 1993, all for Days of Our Lives.

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