DAYS OF OUR LIVES -- Pictured: (l-r) Melissa Reeves as Jennifer Deveraux, Matthew Ashford as Jack Deveraux getty days
Credit: Photo by NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Third time’s the charm?

Few things are as commonplace as recasts in the daytime world. Actors leave and come back, characters get plastic surgery or just get new faces without comment. Fans rarely blink an eye over it. But there is one character, in particular, who’s gone through an astonishing number of faces — with half of them in the first few months alone! And that is Days of Our Lives‘ Jack Devereaux!

Though Ashford is currently in the role, he was actually the third actor to tackle the character — and that was just in the first six months! Jack began with daytime newcomer Joseph Adams in April of 1987. He’d done a few TV movies and a couple primetime episodes before that, but that had been his television experience when he joined.

Something, though, wasn’t meshing quite right and three months later, in July, James Acheson was brought in to take over. He’d mostly done a handful movies and had an appearance on an episode of Trapper, M.D. under his belt. But still, things weren’t gelling quite right for the show. He, too, lasted about three months before the show moved on to find someone else.

And that was when, on October 30, 1987, the show brought in the third new Jack. This fella, though, was a One Life to Live and Search for Tomorrow vet named Matthew Ashford. Finally, they found their man.

And, in a way, we can understand why it would be so hard to find the right person to take on the role. Jack was not an easy person to like at first, and he was far from the family man he’s become. Brought to town to treat his Hodgkin’s disease by his downright vile adoptive father, Senator Harper Deveraux, his first, “love,” if you will, was his own nurse, Kayla.

The two married, only for her to cheat on him with Steve. When Jack found out, he raped her and had Steve beaten. Looking to make some extra money, he helped Victor Kiriakis break Harper out of prison, at which point dear daddy kidnapped Kayla.

Stephen Nichols, Mary Beth Evans and Joseph Adams pose on a stark white background.

The love triangle between Steve Johnson (Stephen Nichols), Kayla Brady (Mary Beth Evans) and Steve’s brother, Jack Deveraux (then Joseph Adams), led to her rape and years of therapy.

Credit: Bernard Boudreau/NBC/Courtesy of the Everett Collection

And for those who think Jack’s always been a noble journalist fighting to expose misdeeds and bring down the powerful, think again. He first bought The Spectator just to keep them from running a story about him! Well, he bought half The Spectator and tried blackmailing the other owner, Diana Colville, into giving him the rest.

He did save Steve’s life when Harper broke out of prison again… by throwing his adoptive dad off a bell tower. But that really was a net win for everyone.

When you think about it, he should probably never criticize anything Gwen’s done.

It took a little time, but under Ashford’s tutelage and thanks in no small part to Jack’s love for Jennifer, the villain grew into something of a hero. Still, it wasn’t a straight line to become the virtuous man he is today.

More: The surprising reunion we never saw coming

In the end, though, Jack turned his life around to the point that when little Abigail developed aplastic anemia shortly after she was born because years ago, Jack had inadvertently caused the water well near their home to become toxic, he was so horrified and ashamed, he fled town in 1993.

By the time he returned, he’d gained a new face (again) when Mark Valley stepped in, and then another a few years later when Steve Wilder took over. Ultimately, though, it was once more a case of third time’s the charm, and in 2001, Ashford resumed the role he had transformed from villain to leading man.

He’s been with us ever since. More or less. He’s had a few “deaths,” but who hasn’t?

Celebrate Ashford’s Days of Our Lives debut by checking out our photo gallery of other daytime characters who’ve been recast more times than we can count!