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Linden Ashby On Y&R Return

Linden Ashby reveals that Y&R contacted him a year ago to reprise his role of the menacing Cameron Kirsten. “Back then [Executive Producer/Head Writer] Josh Griffith reached out to me through my wife, Susan [Walters, Diane], about coming back but I couldn’t,” the actor explains. “I was shooting a movie and then I had another movie and then I was directing a Lifetime movie, so it just wasn’t good timing. And then he reached out again this year, and I said, ‘Okay, but I have this trip planned that I absolutely can’t get out of, so if we could do this [gig] in that window of time, I can do it.’ ”

Since Cameron’s return was written as a limited run, the timing wasn’t an issue. Before giving an answer, however, Ashby received strong advice from his spouse. “Susan was like, ‘All right, don’t say you wanna do it and not do it, and don’t say you wanna do it and then be a pain in the ass,’ ” the actor recalls. “And I said, ‘Okay, okay, I’ll do it.’ That was really flattering that he still wanted me back.”
Once Ashby agreed to return, he was excited to see what the show had in store for his nefarious alter ego. “Josh delivered by writing me a really juicy storyline,” he praises. “I like that Cameron is just out-and-out bad. I give Susan a hard time because Diane dealing with Jeremy Stark, and even when Ashland was around, their manipulations were playing mind games. With Cameron, there’s no subtlety to his actions. He comes into town with the accelerator pedal smashed to the floor. He’s not looking for redemption or to make amends with anyone. Cameron’s a terrible person, and probably insane, but he’s doing this out of his love for Sharon. It’s a sick love, but it’s genuine love. He wants Sharon and he wants revenge, and he’ll kill if he has to.”

Such as poisoning Faith’s cat. “You can kill 10 people on soaps and you’re still redeemable, but kill an animal, you’re done,” Ashby concedes. “That’s why this is a short-term job.”

Which meant Ashby, who also played Curtis on LOVING (1985-86) and had a brief run on DAYS in 2008, had to brush up on his memorization skills. “One of the first things I thought was, ‘Good Lord, I can’t learn all of those lines like I used to,’ ” he chuckles. “Luckily, my first script was pretty easy, and then it built up from there, so by the end it was a 30-page monologue. And everything moves so much faster than it used to. It’s now five shows in four days. There are fewer cast members, as well, so it seems like everybody gets 20 pages of stuff a day. Susan is so great at it. First of all, she’s a really good actor and secondly, she’s such a hard worker. She has this insane work ethic, but I think most of the people at Y&R do, as well, or you can’t survive there.”
Ashby is thrilled to be working again with Sharon Case (Sharon) and Joshua Morrow (Nick), who were a big part of his storyline from 2003-04 before his character was carted off to prison. “I love those two,” he attests. “It was really nice to work with them again. And I think that Walters kid helped pave the way for me because I couldn’t have been made to feel more welcomed by everyone.”

He’s also connecting with new cast members, which he says has been a pleasure. “When Susan came back to the show, I started watching it again, and when I first saw Chance, I thought, ‘Okay, he’s dreamy,’ ” Ashby recalls. “And then I got to share scenes with Conner [Floyd, Chance] and he’s just a really good guy. At one point he told me, ‘Hey, you’re pretty good at this stuff,’ and Joshua said to him, ‘Dude, you know Mortal Kombat, right?’ Conner suddenly goes, ‘You’re Johnny Cage! No way!’ It was such a big part of their childhood, so I’m like this cultural touchstone [laughs].”

Before his soap return, Ashby had been doing less acting and more directing. His latest effort was Lifetime’s NIGHTMARE PAGEANT MOMS that premiered on May 25. “Normally, Susan and I direct together but she’s been so busy with Y&R that I did this one on my own,” he shares. “It’s a thematic sequel to a movie that we did a couple of years ago called NIGHTMARE NEIGHBORHOOD MOMS [a.k.a. CRAZY NEIGHBORHOOD MOMS]. So more could be coming my way.”

Outside of the entertainment business, Ashby and Walters are proud grandparents to their first grandchild, Nora, born last August to their daughter Grace. “This is so much better than being a first-time dad,” he enthuses. “It’s just more fun. When we had our first child, I was like, ‘We don’t know what we’re doing. You shouldn’t be sending us home with a baby.’ And as a grandparent you’re so chill. I love it.”