Matthew Nile Ashford was born on January 29, in the town of Davenport, Iowa. He is the third youngest [youngest boy] of eight kids. He has four brothers and 3 sisters, and in descending order their names are: Dave, Jeff, Phil, Teresa, Randy, Matt, Susie and Sally. Growing up in such a large family, Matt had to figure out at an early age how to grab some attention! When he was 12 years old his sisters drug him to auditions for a local play and it was there that he was bitten by the acting bug. A year later the family moved to Fairfax, VA where Matt attended Hayfield High and continued to involve himself in local theatre as well as school productions. After graduation, Matthew attended the highly accredited North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem. During the summer months he and a friend worked as street performers in Myrtle Beach, SC doing mime, magic, juggling, improv (and red rubber noses!). Eventually he joined the Ragamuffin Magic & Mime Company where he earned his first professional pay cheque.
Soon after graduating from NC School of the Arts, in 1982, with a B.F.A. in Theatre, Matt followed his star to New York City. It was full of opportunities and it was still only a train ride from mom. Matt was not in town long before he was put under contract by ABC and cast as Drew Ralston on One Life to Live
(82-83). Sadly, his character was killed in a flower shop on the eve of his wedding. After his year on One Life to Live
, Matt toured with a troupe performing Member of the Wedding
which soon led to his second soap, Search For Tomorrow
. Matt played Cagney McCleary, with 'brothers' John Forsythe
and Jeff Meek
, from 1983 until the show was cancelled in December of 1986. Moving on to Days Of Our Lives
, Matt quickly made the role of "Jack" his own and won several awards for his portrayal of the popular character including Soap Opera Digest's
'Best Villain' in 1989, a 'Super Couple' (1991) and 'Best Wedding' (1992) award with Melissa Reeves
, as well as the Best Comedic Performance award in 1992. Strangely, the birth of Matt and Christina's daughter Grace seemed to coincide with the birth of Jack's television daughter, Abigail. Little Grace was born on June 15, 1992. Matt left Days Of Our Lives
in September of 1993, after six years as Jack Deveraux. He remains the only true "Jack" in the hearts of many. Since that time he has appeared on the ABC soap General Hospital
, as well as various other movies, TV programs, and theatrical roles.
During his time off from the soaps, Matt took the opportunity to get involved with live theatre again. He joined the prestigious Interact Theatre Company, headed by former co-star Marilyn McIntyre
(ex-Jo Days Of Our Lives
). He remains active in the troupe, despite his daytime schedule. His daughter, Emma Cecily, was born on July 23, 1997. Matt has appeared in various theatre, TV, and movie productions upon leaving General Hospital
and has been active as with Retinoblastoma International. On February 5th, 2001, he returned to his best and most popular role, Jack Deveraux on Days Of Our Lives
- something that his fans had been waiting for for over seven years. He again left the show in 2008.
Matt relaxes by reading. He likes all kinds of books. His favorite room in his house is the kitchen, because it's the heart of the home and is where the food is. Matt is left-handed.