This interview was originally published in the August 1, 2006 issue of Soap Opera Digest.
He was introduced as every woman’s fantasy, literally caught with his pants down on his first day by an all-grown-up Robin Scorpio and shamelessly unapologetic about it. Jason Thompson was just a few minutes into his own first day when it became clear that he was nothing like his cocky character. “We taped out of sequence, so the very first line I spoke — Carly and Sam were arguing about Jason’s surgery and Carly said, ‘Who are you?’ — was, ‘Your salvation,’ which was probably the most awkward line I’ve ever muttered in my entire acting career,” he groans. “The girls just started laughing at me, Kelly [Monaco, Sam] Kimberly [McCullough, Robin] and Laura [Wright, Carly]. They were like, ‘Yeah, right!’
Thompson’s got such a self-effacing personality that he’s not surprised to learn that when you Google his name, he isn’t the first Jason Thompson to appear and until just recently, didn’t even make it on the first page of listings. Here’s the exchange when Digest brought that to his attention:
Digest: There’s a baseball player who played for the Detroit Tigers.
Thompson: That’s impressive. I wish I could claim that.
Digest: A cartoonist.
Thompson: Is there really?
Digest: A college basketball star. A computer technician. A professional waiter.
Thompson: That’s definitely me.
Digest: There’s also a teamster, an actor/entertainer/impersonator.
Digest: Maybe you should have spelled Jason with a “z”.
Thompson: Yeah, my parents were really out there naming the kids — Chris, Jason and Mark [laughs].
While Patrick might have had a conniption at the thought of not being at the top of the list, the Canadian-born actor attributes his nonchalance to a solid, homespun upbringing. The middle son of Phillip, a draftsman for the city of Edmonton, and Louise, a college administrator, the clean-cut Catholic schoolboy played a lot of hockey, went camping and was generally content with life in the Great White North until a fateful meeting with a modeling agent changed everything.
“He was having dinner and I was bussing tables,” Thompson recounts. “He asked if I’d ever modeled. I obviously said no. He asked if I’d ever look at getting into it. He took some pictures the next week. We started working locally around Edmonton. After I graduated, I met numerous agents and one of them said, ‘Come to Italy.’ That was on Thursday, by Tuesday I was in Italy. I went from my mom making me breakfast and packing my lunch to buying laundry detergent in Italian.”
The move to acting was next. “It came about in a quiet way,” Thompson recalls. “I’m not the kind of person who’ll stand up and proclaim, ‘I’m going to Hollywood!’ Drama class was probably the one thing I was good at and I knew modeling was a way to pursue it. The modeling industry really set me up for the amount of rejection that a person can take, and knowing that it’s not personal.”
Modeling kept Thompson self-sufficient while pounding the pavement in Los Angeles. Early acting jobs included a guest spot on FELICITY (“I played Tangi Miller’s [Elena[ boyfriend for a day”), the MTV sudser UNDRESSED (“As Miles. He was a one-night stand that grew into something.”) and the obligatory low-budget horror romp Wishmaster 4: The Prophecy Fulfilled. “I get a sword through my back or something like that. To go on in Hollywood, you have to be killed in a horror movie.”
Then came GH last fall, and the rest, as they say, is history. “I feel a little better,” Thompson grins. “I’ve got to say, for the longest time I thought I was going to get fired. I was sucking up to Jill [Farren Phelps, executive producer] as much as I could [laughs].” Even now, established as daytime’s Dr. McDreamy, with a devoted fan base nicknamed Scrubs, he still deflects the spotlight. “Kimberly’s a huge part of that,” he demurs. “She’s got a huge fan base already, so I’m just lucky to hold onto the train and ride it.”
However, the spotlight’s glare is the one aspect of show biz that Thompson has yet to adapt to. Case in point: Several months ago, he found his picture splashed in national gossip magazines with Alyssa Milano (ex-Jennifer, MELROSE PLACE), purporting the twosome were an item. “Just friends,” he clarifies. “We’re not dating, but I am a lucky guy because she’s so much fun to be around. I’m officially single.”
So with the fantasy still intact, Thompson is happily settling into Port Charles. “How has life changed?’ he asks. “I can afford to get cheesier Kraft dinner than just the regular Kraft dinner. At the end of the day, I’m measured by what my family and friends say about me. I’ve been unsuccessful long enough to know that where I’m at right now, I’m damn lucky.”
JUST THE FACTS
Birthday: November 20
Hometown: St. Albert, Alberta, Canada
How Is He Different From Patrick? “I haven’t given half my liver to my father … Actually, I’d be pretty boring if I wasn’t on a soap opera.”
On His On-screen Dad, Rick Springfield (Noah): “The guy’s a rock star! He’s gracious and sweet, on and off set.”
The Canuck A SOUTH PARK Fan? “I love that they bag on Canada. I guess it means something if they’re talking about us. If I was a Canadian and a Scientologist, I might be upset.”
The Secret Woman In His Life: A 1970 Chevrolet C10 truck. “Her name is Sugarbush because she’s sweet and she’s green.”
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