Jason Morgan (General Hospital)
Billy Miller as Jason Morgan
|General Hospital character|
|Portrayed by||Steve Burton (1991–2012)
Billy Miller (2014—)
|First appearance||November 11, 1981|
|Created by||Thom Racina and Leah Laiman|
|Introduced by||Gloria Monty (1981, 1991)
Jill Farren Phelps (2002)
Frank Valentini (2014)
|Book appearances||Robin's Diary
The Secret Life of Damian Spinelli
|General Hospital: Night Shift|
|Residence||Port Charles, New York|
Steve Burton as Jason Morgan
Jason Morgan is a fictional character on the ABC soap opera, General Hospital. Created by Thom Racina and Leah Laiman, he was most notably played by Daytime Emmy Award-winning actor Steve Burton, who joined the cast in 1991 and vacated the role in 2012. Jason was born offscreen in September 1981 and the character made his onscreen debut in November 1981 as the son of Dr. Alan Quartermaine (Stuart Damon) and his mistress, Susan Moore (Gail Ramsey), later adopted by Alan's wife Dr. Monica Quartermaine (Leslie Charleson). As one of the longest-running characters on the show, the role was played by various child actors from 1982 to 1986. The role is currently portrayed by Billy Miller, who joined the cast in 2014.
On December 19, 1991, Burton stepped into the role on a contractual basis as a SORASed Jason Quartermaine. In November 1999, ABC confirmed that Burton had decided not to renew his contract which expired in December to pursue other opportunities. Burton last appeared on contract on January 27, 2000. In June 2000, ABC confirmed that Burton would reprise his role for a six-week stint starting on August 25, 2000 until he last appeared on October 10, 2000. In December 2000, it was announced that Burton would return to the series once again and began airing on January 29, 2001. In January 2001, Burton announced that his return was only temporary due to his commitment to film a pilot for his DreamWorks Television development deal. Whether he returned to the role full-time would depend on whether the series was picked up. The pilot was not picked up, Burton landed a role in a major motion picture leading to his departure on April 29, 2001. Burton returned to the series on contract in 2002 during May Sweeps.
In late 2008, Burton's contract expired and forcing to make a decision on re-signing with the show. After months of speculation, he announced in a public appearance that he re-signed with the show. Burton stated that he would be willing to take a pay cut because he understands that money is a lot tighter now than it has been in recent years and stated that he is blessed to have a job right now. In 2011, rumors began circulating that Burton could depart from the series due to contract negotiations. However, in May 2011 Burton announced via Twitter that he had re-signed with the series again. On August 23, 2012, Jamey Giddens of the website Daytime Confidential reported that contract negotiations were not going well and Burton was close to walking away from the series. On August 28, 2012, Burton confirmed in an interview with TV Guide's Michael Logan that he would exit the series and agreed to stay long enough for the producers to write his character out properly. Following the announcement that Sean Kanan (A. J. Quartermaine) was returning to the series in an undisclosed role, rumors began circulating that Kanan might be a recast of Jason. Kanan's resemblance to Burton fed into the rumors.
On September 2, 2014, executive producer Frank Valentini announced on Twitter that former All My Children and The Young and the Restless actor Billy Miller would join the cast as Jason. On September 30, 2014, Miller's air date as Jason was revealed to be on October 1.
Steve Burton's early years on the soap as the "rich, wholesome preppy" Jason Quartermaine would come to a shocking, and dramatic end in 1995 after a car accident caused by his brother, A. J. leaves the character as a brain damaged amnesiac. Following Jason's split from the Quartermaines, except for his sister Emily and grandmother Lila Morgan Quartermaine (Anna Lee), and a change of his surname to Morgan, he would become the right-hand man for mob boss, Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard). At the time, Burton was considering leaving the show and joked that a producer noted that he played every scene, the same way, as if someone was about to die. Burton's decision to stay stemmed from a conversation with Benard who gave him advice on how to improve. While still portraying Jason Quartermaine, the writers saw the chemistry between him and Benard and decided to create Jason Morgan.
With a new personality shift, Burton's Jason went from "preppy and wholesome" to "angry, stoic and emotionless." In the early stages of his transformation into Jason Morgan, he would experience fits of rage and was even given the nickname "anger boy." Post accident, as Jason matured the fits of rage subsided, Jason was very light and fun during his relationship with Robin Scorpio. It wasn't until after he was hurt multiple times that Jason grew darker and more intense. Jason was seen as "stone cold," and he didn't show much personality, unless it was with his closest loved ones. Despite the drastic change, Burton described his character as "vulnerable, caring, honest, and honorable" around those that he loves. Burton welcomed the change in story for his character, noting that it can sometimes become annoying playing "just plain nice" all the time. Within the mob and despite constant conflicts with law enforcement, Jason operated as a vigilante often taking down criminals who targeted the Corinthos family and tried to bring illegal substances and weapons into Port Charles, New York. Jason was known to show loyalty and compassion to those he held closest to him. His acts of extreme loyalty and compassion could be seen through his friendships with Sonny and Carly, his romantic relationships and his relationship with his nephew Michael, who he raised for the first year of Michael's life. The passing years also saw a thaw in Jason's relationship with the Quartermaines. The death of his father Alan and a shooting that left Michael in a year-long coma opened his eyes to what the Quartermaines suffered after his own accident. For that point on, Jason was shown to be more open to a relationship with his mother Monica, and eventually his grandfather Edward Quartermaine (John Ingle). The extent of the thaw with his family could also be seen through Jason's decision to name his son, Daniel Edward, after his grandfather.
Jason was conceived out of his father, Alan Quartermaine's (Stuart Damon), affair with Susan Moore (Gail Ramsey). Jason was born on September 14, 1981 at Our Lady of Mercy Hospital in New York City. When Jason was born, Alan supported him financially, but was fighting for custody of his other son, A.J.. Jason lived with his mother and Scott Baldwin (Kin Shriner) up until her death, upon which he lived with Susan's aunt, Alice Grant (Lieux Dressler). Then he moved into the Quartermaine mansion with Alan. Alan's wife, Monica (Leslie Charleson), initially rejected Jason, but eventually grew to love him and later adopted him. Jason and A.J. were sent off to boarding school as children. In December 1991, Jason was aged several years, re-establishing his birth year as 1974.
When a newly SORASed Jason and older brother A.J. return to town, Jason, who is a successful student and athlete, is treated as the family favorite while A.J. is failing and dealing with alcoholism. Jason has relationships with Karen Wexler (Cari Shayne), Brenda Barrett (Vanessa Marcil), Robin Scorpio (Kimberly McCullough) and Keesha Ward (Senait Ashenafi). Jason supports Monica through her health crisis with breast cancer and adores his adoptive sister, Emily Quartermaine (then Amber Tamblyn). In December 1995, an intoxicated A.J. runs his car into a tree. Jason, who was attempting to stop A.J. from driving, is in the passenger seat and hits his head on a large boulder after being ejected from the car. Jason suffers brain injuries that result in total memory loss. Upon waking up from his coma, Jason had no recollection of his past and resented all of the Quartermaines except his grandmother Lila Quartermaine (Anna Lee) and sister Emily. His personality drastically changes. Jason eventually turns his back on his family, and changes his surname to Morgan, Lila's maiden name. Jason meets Robin again on a bridge and they begin a friendship which turns into a romantic relationship. Robin encouraged Jason to develop relationships with Lila, Emily, and Monica, and he stood by Robin at the Nurses Ball, where she shares with Port Charles for the first time that she is HIV positive. Robin leaves for college at Yale University and Jason asks her friend Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard) for a job. His loyalty and hard work impress Sonny. Jason becomes Sonny's personal enforcer in his mob business. Robin returns in 1997 and was with Jason when he was shot for the first time by the Tin Man. Jason was operated on and saved. Robin begged Jason to leave his dangerous life behind. When Jason refused Robin begged Sonny to fire Jason. Initially hesitant, Sonny finally relented. Jason was infuriated when Sonny told him he was fired, and knew Robin was to blame. He and Robin broke up, and Robin made plans to leave town again. Jason met Robin on the bridge, and they said a last goodbye.
To help Carly Benson (then Sarah Joy Brown), Jason pretends to be the father of her baby. After the baby's birth, Carly develops postpartum depression and leaves town. Robin returns to Port Charles and Jason confesses that the child is A.J.'s. Jason and Michael bond with Robin during Carly's absence. Dr. Tony Jones (Brad Maule) kidnaps Michael and Robin. Jason eventually rescues them both. At trial, Carly shoots Tony in a moment of temporary insanity and is remanded to a mental facility. In Carly's absence, Jason and Robin reunite. After Robin is almost killed in an explosion, Jason leaves the mob. Carly is released from the hospital, which puts a strain on Jason and Robin's relationship. Robin tells A.J. that he is Michael's father, and Jason temporarily loses custody of Michael. A.J. and Carly marry, and a judge awards joint custody to Jason, A.J. and Carly. Jason fears his hatred of A.J. will hurt Michael and signs away all rights, however he remains an integral part of Michael's life. Jason later comforts Elizabeth Webber (Rebecca Herbst) over the supposed death of her boyfriend, Lucky Spencer (Jonathan Jackson). Carly misunderstands their relationship and sleeps with Sonny. Jason is unable to deal with the betrayal of Sonny and Carly, and leaves town. Jason and Elizabeth are later romantically drawn to each other, but a relationship is never established.
Jason is forced to protect Sonny's sister, Courtney Matthews (Alicia Leigh Willis), when she is being stalked by A.J. Jason and Courtney begin a relationship and keep it secret. After Luis Alcazar (Ted King) is murdered, Brenda and Jason become prime suspects and are forced to wed to avoid testifying. They divorce soon after, and Sonny discovers Courtney and Jason's affair. Sonny eventually gives his approval to the couple and they become engaged. On the night of their wedding, Carly is kidnapped. Courtney is pregnant, but loses the baby when trying to escape from Lorenzo Alcazar (Ted King). Eventually, she and Jason marry in France, but due to the mob lifestyle, they eventually divorce. Jason discovers that Sonny is having an affair with Sam McCall (Kelly Monaco), and Sam is pregnant with Sonny's child. He pretends to be the father of Sam's baby. When Sonny and Sam's daughter is stillborn, Jason helps Sam cope with the loss, and the two eventually fall in love. When all three of Sonny's children are kidnapped, Jason and Sam rescue them. When Jason loses his memory, he and Sam move to Hawaii. Sam convinces Jason to go on an experimental drug that Robin finds, to help him regain his memory. The drug works but causes a brain aneurysm. They moved back to Hawaii where they plan to spend the last days of Jason's life. Although Jason initially refuses, Robin and Patrick Drake (Jason Thompson) operate on him and save his life.
When Sam is shot and almost dies, Sam's mother Alexis Davis (Nancy Lee Grahn) guilts Jason into breaking up with Sam. After months of trying to unsuccessfully win him back, Sam sleeps with Ric Lansing (Rick Hearst) and Jason witnesses the incident. Jason goes home and Elizabeth shows up. Jason and Elizabeth sleep together, which results in a pregnancy. Elizabeth claims Lucky is the father but later tells Jason the truth. Jason's estranged father Alan dies during the Metro Court hostage crisis. Jason regrets all the years he pushed his father away. Elizabeth gives birth to a son, Jacob Martin Spencer. Sam watches and says nothing when she sees Jake being kidnapped. Jason and Sam's relationship ends, and Jason recovers his son with the help of Amelia Joffe (Annie Wersching). Jason reveals Jake's paternity to Lucky at the Black and White Ball, where his sister, Emily is killed. When Michael is shot in the head by Ian Devlin (Seamus Dever), Jason ends his relationship with Elizabeth. Jake is saved by Sam after he is kidnapped by the Russian mob. During this time, Jason's relationship with his mother, Monica, becomes increasingly strained. After Monica's self-destructive behavior and drinking lands her in the hospital, she reconciles with Jason. Jason denies Sonny access to the organization when he wants it back. In order to regain his power, Sonny becomes head of the Zacchara organization by marrying Claudia Zacchara (Sarah Joy Brown).
Jason is offered blanket immunity by Agent Thomas Rayner (Mark Pinter) if he provides information on Sonny and Anthony Zacchara (Bruce Weitz). After Damian Spinelli (Bradford Anderson) is set up and arrested for his illegal activity, Jason is forced to agree to Rayner's deal to gain Spinelli's freedom. Spinelli is freed when Sam, with the help of Agent Winifred Leeds (Senta Moses), destroys the evidence against him. Jason and Sonny reconcile and Jason gives the business back. Jason suspects that Claudia is responsible for Michael's shooting. In May 2009, his nephew Michael Corinthos (then Drew Garrett) wakes up from his year-long coma, but due to brain damage he is now an aggressive 17-year-old. Jason resumes a friendship with Sam, who has partnered with Spinelli in her quest to start a private investigation firm. When Kristina Davis (then Lexi Ainsworth) causes Claudia to crash her car and lose her unborn child, she and Michael run away to Mexico. Sam and Jason track the siblings but encounter Jerry Jacks (Sebastian Roché). Jason is pinned beneath a pile of rubble and shot twice. Sam escapes from Jerry and rescues Jason. She cares for him and the two reconnect. Jason and Sam find Michael and Kristina in Cancun, Mexico, and bring them back to Port Charles. Sam and Jason remain drawn to each other and start a relationship. Jason and Sam find the proof they need to confirm Claudia's involvement in Michael's shooting. They hand it over to Sonny, who confronts Claudia. Cornered, Claudia takes a pregnant Carly hostage, and escapes. Michael ends up finding them before Jason & Sam can, and kills Claudia to protect Carly and his baby sister, Josslyn. To protect Michael, Jason covers up the crime and makes it look like Claudia disappeared.
Jason is stalked by crazed artist Franco (James Franco), who terrorizes him & those close to him. During this time, Sonny is put on trial for Claudia's murder. Dante Falconeri (Dominic Zamprogna) discovers the truth and tells the court. Michael is sentenced to prison. To protect Michael (Chad Duell), Jason makes a deal, and is sent to prison as well. Michael is released but Jason is forced to remain in jail. Eventually, he's released with Sonny's help, and tries to fend off Franco. When Jason's son, Jake, gets hit by a car and dies on the operating table, Jason is devastated, but is comforted by Sam. Months later, Jason proposes to Sam and she accepts. Jason is rushed to the hospital and has to undergo surgery after getting into an accident with Carly. Fortunately, he recovers, and he & Sam marry. During their honeymoon in Hawaii, Sam and Jason are drugged by Franco. He locks Jason in a room and forces him to watch as he apparently rapes Sam. After returning to Port Charles, Jason eventually kills Franco, but when he returns home, Sam tells him she's pregnant. They have a paternity test done, which says that the baby Sam is carrying is Jason's child. Sam tries to figure out what a DVD left by Franco meant. The search takes Sam to Heather Webber (Robin Mattson), who tells Sam that Franco is Jason's fraternal twin brother. Sam runs another DNA test and is devastated when it says Franco is the father. She tells Jason, who has a hard time accepting the news, and they separate. Sam eventually gives birth to a baby boy while trapped by a storm. Jason goes to find her, and finds a stillborn baby next to her. Both of them mourn the loss of her son. Unknown to either, Sam's son was actually switched by Heather and Todd Manning (Roger Howarth) with the stillborn son of Téa Delgado (Florencia Lozano). It's also revealed that Jason is the baby's father because Heather switched the paternity test. The baby's "death" causes Jason and Sam's marriage to deteriorate, and they agree to divorce.
Duriing the poisoning of the Port Charles water supply, Jason starts to realize the baby that died wasn't Sam's. He and Spinelli figure out Heather was involved and about Téa. Jason acquires a DNA sample from baby Victor, Téa's son, but the results are not a match. Elizabeth later confesses to switching the DNA test—the baby with Téa is Sam's son. Jason tells Sam, but finds out the baby has been kidnapped by Heather. Heather ends up in the hospital when "Victor" runs out of his medication. Jason and Sam corner Heather on the hospital roof. Heather jumps off the roof, but Jason saves the baby, and he and Sam are reunited with their son, whom they rename Daniel Edward Morgan. Jason goes to help his accountant Bernie Abrahms (Richard Fancy) at Pier 52 and shoots Joe Scully Jr. (Richard Steinmetz) to protect Bernie. However, Jason is shot by Cesar Faison (Anders Hove), posing as Duke Lavery (Ian Buchanan), who kicks him into the water; Jason is presumed dead. Not long after he disappears, Sam finds out Jason is Danny's biological father. Two years after Jason is presumed dead, Victor Cassadine (Thaao Penghlis) reveals to Robin that Jason is alive, and she has to accompany him to help bring his relatives, the Cassadines, and Jason back to life. She agrees to leave with Victor after saying goodbye to her family. Robin succeeds in reviving Jason, but is separated from him after Victor forces her and Jason apart. Jason manages to escape, and save Robin. He is again taken captive by Helena's henchmen, only to escape and be hit by a car. Jason is brought to General Hospital, as a John Doe. Following multiple reconstructive surgeries to his face, an unconscious Jason (Billy Miller) is tended to by Elizabeth. He wakes up with amnesia, and later believes his name to be Jake. Helena uses "Jake" through mind control to break Faison out of prison, and to kill Sam. However, Jake resists the latter command, and spares Sam. In the meantime, he and Elizabeth grow closer. When Jason is caught for his crimes, they find a chip inside his head that Helena uses to control him. Jason undergoes surgery to remove the chip, but still can't remember his real identity.
Hayden Barnes (Rebecca Budig) comes to Elizabeth's house claiming to be "Jake's" wife, but it is really a scheme set up by Ric, Elizabeth's ex-husband. At the Nurses' Ball, Carly exposes Hayden and Ric's fraud. Unknown to "Jake," Elizabeth's best friend, Nikolas Cassadine (Tyler Christopher) tells Elizabeth that "Jake" is Jason. Elizabeth keeps Jason's identity a secret so she can pursue a relationship with him. Elizabeth and Jason's son, Jake, is revealed to be alive and being held captive by Helena. He is rescued by Lucky, and returned to Elizabeth & Jason. "Jake" proposes to Elizabeth, and she accepts. Hoping to regain his memories, he asks Sam for help to figure out his real identity. Spinelli creates a facial reconstruction program. When the program is complete, Carly finds it and is shocked to see Jason's face. She runs a DNA test, and gets confirmation that "Jake" is actually Jason. On the day he is supposed to marry Elizabeth, "Jake" finds out his true identity from Carly. At the wedding, they reveal his identity to everyone, including Sam. Jason still can't remember his past, and decides to divorce Sam so he can marry Elizabeth. He bonds with both his sons, Jake and Danny, and reconnects with Sonny and Carly. Sam figures out that Elizabeth knew who Jason was. Though Jason doesn't believe Sam, he confronts Elizabeth and, cornered, Elizabeth finally admits the truth. Heartbroken, Jason breaks up with Elizabeth.
Jason realizes that Nikolas knew about his identity, igniting a feud between the two. Jason tries to console Jake, who is upset over his father moving out and his parents' broken engagement. Elizabeth and Jake are stalked by a mysterious intruder who vandalizes her home. Sam suspects Elizabeth of staging the incidents, but she denies it. Jason later realizes it was actually Jake, hoping Jason would come back. Jason and Elizabeth try to get Jake help, but he gets hit by a car before they can. Jake survives, and is treated for his injuries. Jason finds Sam injured and unconscious after she fell trying to help Jake. He saves her life, and the incident brings them closer together. The two slowly start to rebuild their relationship. Sam asks Jason for a divorce, though, hoping to not pressure Jason into remembering their past and wanting to start fresh. Jason reluctantly agrees, and the two divorce. Sam investigates Hayden, and figures out that Nikolas tried to kill Hayden to cover up Jason's true identity. Using this information, Jason blackmails Nikolas into selling him ELQ, which Nikolas had stolen from the Quartermaines, and hands the company back to the Quartermaines. Soon after, Jason is in an accident when he tried to avoid a swerving van, and ends up falling off his motorcycle. When he regained consciousness, he found Dante trapped under the van. While trying to rescue Dante, he starts having visions of Robin, Carly, Helena, Sam, and Sonny. Jason manages to rescue Dante, and his memory finally returns. He reconnects with his family and friends; despite reconnecting with Sonny, Jason decides not to go back into the mob for the sake of his family.
When Jason is accused of trying to kill Nikolas, he goes on the run with Sam before the police can arrest him, and figures out that Nikolas staged his death so he could disappear. He and Sam make their way to Cassadine Island, where they find Nikolas. There, they get taken hostage by Valentin Cassadine (James Patrick Stuart). Jason and Sam break free, though, and go back to Port Charles, where Jason is cleared of the murder charges. Jason had a brief malaria scare after returning from Greece, but was treated and released. Afterwards, Sam revealed to Jason that she's pregnant, but she could be infected with malaria, which could harm their unborn child. Jason was still ecstatic about the baby, and proposed to Sam; she accepted, and they got engaged again. Their fears about the baby were put to rest when Sam's malaria tests were negative. They re-married soon after. Jason tries to keep a mob war from starting when Sonny's rival Julian Jerome (William deVry) gets acquitted of murder. When Sonny and Carly's son Morgan (Bryan Craig) steals Julian's car in a drunken state, Jason chases after him, convincing Morgan to stop. However, the car explodes when Morgan gets out, killing him. Guilt-ridden, Jason investigates the car bombing, wanting to get answers for Sonny and Carly. At first, Sonny is believed to be responsible, but Jason finds out Sonny's hit man never went after Julian. He teams up with Curtis Ashford (Donnell Turner) to find out who killed Morgan.
Burton's portrayal of Jason Morgan earned him two Soap Opera Digest Awards for Outstanding Younger Lead Actor in 1997 and 1998. He was nominated for the 1997 Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Younger Actor in a Drama Series and won the 1998 Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series. He also received a Daytime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in 2000. He won two Soap Opera Digest Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actor in 2003 and Outstanding Actor in 2005. Also in 2005, he received a nomination for the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series and in 2012 he received a pre-nomination for the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. With the 2014 casting of Billy Miller, Michael Fairman of On Air, On Soaps questioned: "Knowing now that Miller is taking on the role, do you think the Jason that comes to life after Robin revived him, will be a hitman, killer, or will he be Jason Quartermaine-esque or none of the above?"
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