Ryan Bittle as JR Chandler
|All My Children character|
|Duration||1989–96, 1998–2011, 2013—|
|First appearance||July 3, 1989|
|Created by||Margaret DePriest|
|One Life to Live|
Jacob Young as JR Chandler
Adam "JR" Chandler Jr. is a fictional character from the ABC and The Online Network daytime drama All My Children. He was portrayed by Jacob Young from 2003 to 2011 prior to Ryan Bittle taking over the role in 2013. Bittle was cast as the new JR on Prospect Park's continuation of All My Children.
The character was originally born onscreen on July 3, 1989 to Dixie Cooney and her estranged husband, Adam Chandler. In March 2004, the character's birth year was revised to 1983. He is a member of the powerful and wealthy Chandler family, son of Adam Chandler and the great nephew of Palmer Cortlandt.
The writers characterized JR as caring, but ruthless if betrayed, explaining the latter by way of his difficult upbringing. The character's softer personality has been attributed to his mother, Dixie Cooney, as well as to his son, AJ, and true love Babe Carey (who was killed off by the series in 2008). Credited as significantly complex, he has been cited as a television anti-hero, and "bad boy", and his struggles with family, romantic partners, and alcohol addiction have been documented in literature.
Actor Jacob Young, who had been on The Bold and the Beautiful (Rick Forrester) and General Hospital (Lucky Spencer) prior to joining All My Children, stated that he had good instincts, but that he "was young and kind of doe-eyed to the world" then. It was not until the actor stepped into the All My Children role of JR Chandler that his acting range became more focused. He started to use tools he learned in classes and felt that his acting became more refined because of it. With his portrayal of JR, he explained how this factored in: "They twisted JR in a completely different direction," he stated. "They started off with JR not respecting his father and having a lot of elements of his mother in him. He was much more soft. Then they started toying with it and couldn't believe what was coming out of me. I'd always been the nice, honorable guy; I'd never been the character who was stirring the pot."
JR's rich lifestyle was something that Young noted not being familiar with, stating that the JR persona did not come to him until he would put on the suit. "They put me in these nice designer suits, and I suddenly feel like a million bucks. Then I take that million-buck feeling and go a little sinister with it."
One aspect of JR's personality are "devious tones" sometimes present in his dialogue. "When the character is in a good mood and has the upper hand, he has all these one-liners," Young relayed. When working with former All My Children co-star Alexa Havins (ex-Babe Carey), Young would often shock Havins with the character's words. To make sure she was unaware of how he was going to deliver a crass line, he would keep it hidden [during rehearsal]. "You can break the wording down and make it a little more offensive," he cited. "And I try to nail that because that's what JR's supposed to do."
The writers were looking for an actor who could truly radiate the essence of Adam Chandler's son, and felt that taking JR down the path of darkness would help with that. Young, the actor chosen as best suited for the part, detailed the transition: "They wanted it to be 'like father, like son,' so I watched David Canary's (Adam) mannerisms and delivery. I tried to mold those into my own, enough to where I could be his son. They started writing my dialogue like his. He has some one-liners that are pretty funny. David is as big a goofball as I am onset. He's like, 'Here's my boy!' We have a great dynamic together."
Young's portrayal of JR propelled the character into one of the show's more popular and hated characters.
|“||Have you seen those piercing blue eyes? When they're not flashing with anger, a glimpse of the troubled young man who was deeply wounded by the presumed death of his mother shows through. Like Babe, we could easily fall into the trap of thinking that a little tender loving care from us would fix him right up.||”|
— Soaps In Depth magazine on JR being a love-to-hate fixture
It is revealed that JR has been in a coma for five years. On the night that changed Pine Valley five years ago (the ABC series finale), the drunken JR was about to shoot someone, but David Hayward intervened; JR pulled the trigger and shot someone in the house, while David shot JR and put him in a coma. It is revealed on May 2, 2013 that JR shot and killed Marissa Tasker, his ex-wife (David's daughter).
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- Reichardt, Nancy M. (July 8, 1989). "All My Children: Frankie told Cliff and Angie that Bobby...". Chicago Tribune. Tribune Company. Retrieved March 5, 2013.
- P., Carol. "The tortured soul anti-hero". Total TV Online.com. Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2007-05-23.
- Jacob Young TV Guide Interview, TV Guide (2005-03-22). Retrieved on 2007-12-18
- Jeremy G. Butler (2007). Television: critical methods and applications. Psychology Press. pp. 511 pages. ISBN 0-8058-5415-0,. Retrieved October 12, 2011.
- Alex McNeil (May 1996, Digitized May 20, 2008). Total television: the comprehensive guide to programming from 1948 to the present. Penguin Books (Original from the University of Michigan). pp. 1251 pages. ISBN 0-14-024916-8,.
- Gerry Waggett (2008). The One Life to Live 40th Anniversary Trivia Book: A Fun, Fact-Filled, Everything-You-Want-to-Know-Guide to Your Favorite Soap!. Hyperion. pp. 248 pages. ISBN 1-4013-2309-X,. Retrieved October 12, 2011.
- Lensch, Tonya (2005-04-19). "Jacob Young - Young Gun". Soap Opera Weekly.
- "Men You Love to Hate". Soaps In Depth. 2006-10-24.