Matthew Nile Ashford was born on January 29th, 1960 in Davenport, Iowa. He comes from a rather large family being the sixth of eight children; David, Teresa, Jeffrey, Phil, Randy, Matthew, Susie and Sally. When Matthew was 13 years old the family moved to Fairfax, VA where he became heavily involved in the high-school drama program. Upon graduation he enrolled in the top-ranked North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, NC. During the summer months, Matt worked in Myrtle Beach as a street performer with a buddy from school. They called themselves the Ragamuffin Magic & Mime Company, rode unicyles, juggled, and even wore red rubber noses! After graduating from college Matthew decided to take his act to New York City, and was quickly signed to the contract role of "Drew Ralston" on One Life to Live. He stayed with the show for a year, until Drew was killed in a flower shop on the night before his wedding. Within the year Matthew was under contract with another soap. In 1983 he was signed by Search for Tomorrow where he played "Cagney McCleary" until the show was cancelled in 1986. In 1987 Matthew married his girlfriend of two years, moved to Los Angeles, and was snatched up by Days of Our Lives for his most famous role, "Jack Deveraux" (1987-1993).
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