They killed him off, brought him back to life and then shipped him off to prison. If you were disappointed and confused as to why Paul Hollingsworth was suddenly dropped from Days of our Lives, you weren’t the only one. I recently had the pleasure of talking with Paul’s portrayer, Linden Ashby, who shared his thoughts on his character, working on Days and his very lengthy and successful career.
While Linden enjoyed the time he had on the NBC soap, he never really understood where Paul was coming from. “They didn’t know sort of what to do with this character. It would have been fun if it had gone some other places. I really thought it was going to continue,” he reflected.
After Paul was rolled into the river and left for dead, Linden knew he would be coming back, however, once he returned, any hope for a meaty storyline was quickly dashed. “They take the time and effort to bringing me back to life and you sort of go, for what? I never understood why I burned down the warehouse and planted the drugs anyway,” Linden marveled.
Wishing his time on Days had been longer, the gracious actor had nothing but positive things to say about his fellow Daytime cohorts. “I love some of the guys I worked with there. Drake (Hogestyn, John Black) is one of the most wacky characters I’ve ever seen in my life. He believes it, 100 percent. He invests and he’s really interesting to work with. I didn’t find anybody there who didn’t care,” Linden praised.
He also cited his enjoyment working with Josh Taylor (Roman Brady) and shared, “It was fun and I had a good time. I really did. I miss those guys. I miss being there.”
Chocking his departure up to being a causality of the new regime at Days, Linden reflected on his brief return from the dead saying, “It was set up to be a juicy thing and it just kind of felt like they dropped the ball or just turned away from it. And once they fired Kristen (who played his daughter Morgan Hollingsworth) I thought, well it’s got to be over.”
Since he has been on and off soaps for over two decades, starting with his portrayal of Curtis Alden on “Loving,” I wondered how Linden felt about the changes in Daytime over the years.
After we agreed that a lot of soaps try too hard to be Jerry Bruckheimer these days, with their event produced storylines, Linden mused, “The strength of a soap opera is people and relationships and family and the inner workings of human’s muddling through this life. I think that’s what people love about them. They love the human drama of it and that’s what a soap can do incredibly well.”
Conceding that it must be ‘brutal’ to write a soap opera every day, all year round, Linden offered, “If you tell good stories; if you have good relationships; if you have people that people care about, and love and like and are interested in, people are going to watch. People will tune in and they can’t get enough of it. It’s fun. It’s a guilty pleasure, soap operas.”
Linden also echoed many a fan's sentiment, saying that soaps can’t be afraid to kill people off and to let them stay that way. “Once a viewer gets tricked, it’s very hard for them to come back and commit,” he said, referring to the Melaswen storyline on Days when they brought several characters back from the dead at one time. “There’s no consequence to anything. There’s got to be consequence.”
Even though his time on Days has abruptly come to an end, that doesn’t mean Linden isn’t busy doing other things. Referring to himself as a ‘worker bee,’ this busy actor has consistently appeared in TV series, made for TV movies and feature films since the early ‘80’s.
Ashby most recently filmed a pilot for Lifetime, called “Drop Dead Diva,” where he will pop up as a recurring character. He also just finished shooting the film, “Van Wilder 3,” which he called, “a blast”, and a Steven Segal movie entitled, “The Last Night,” where he plays a secret service agent.
Since he has appeared in numerous popular projects over the years, Linden gets recognized quite a bit from people of all ages. “If it’s a guy 16 to 30, it’s probably “Mortal Combat.” If it’s a girl, it’s Y&R, Days, “Melrose Place”, Lifetime. I’ve probably done 20 Lifetime movies,” he surmised. “I ran into this woman in the airport and she goes, ‘I was sick on Saturday and I just sat and watched Lifetime. I saw three of your movies!’”
He laughed recalling the story, and then joked, “I’ve infected the fabric of America.” I agreed that he had, but in a good way.
I truly enjoyed talking with Linden and while I wish him success on all his many other projects, I hope that he graces Daytime with his presence again soon!