Jonathan Jackson (actor)

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Jonathan Jackson
Jonathan Jackson at PaleyFest 2013.jpg
Jackson at the PaleyFest 2013 panel on the TV show Nashville
Born Jonathan Stevens Jackson[1]
(1982-05-11) May 11, 1982 (age 34)
Orlando, Florida, U.S.
Residence Battle Ground, Washington USA
Occupation Actor, musician, author
Years active 1993–present
Spouse(s) Lisa Vultaggio (m. 2002)
Children 3
Relatives Richard Lee Jackson (brother)

Jonathan Stevens Jackson (born May 11, 1982) is an American actor, musician and author. His first well known character was Lucky Spencer on the ABC Daytime soap opera General Hospital, a role which has won him five Emmy Awards. In 2002, he played Jesse Tuck in the film Tuck Everlasting. In 2004 he started the band Enation (currently: Jonathan Jackson + Enation) with his brother, actor Richard Lee Jackson and friend Daniel Sweatt. In 2012 he got the role of Avery Barkley in the ABC prime time drama Nashville.

Early life[edit]

Jackson was born in Orlando, Florida, the son of Jeanine (née Sharp), an amateur ventriloquist and businesswoman,[2][3] and Dr. Rick "Ricky Lee" Jackson, a family physician,[4] country musician and Congressional candidate in the state of Washington.[5][6] Jackson was raised in Battle Ground, Washington with his brother Richard Lee Jackson, now an actor and musician, and his sister Candice Jackson, now a lawyer and author.[5] Jonathan attended Meadow Glade Elementary school.[2]

In 1991, Jackson's family took a trip to Universal Studios Hollywood, where both Richard and Jonathan decided to pursue acting.[2] The brothers took acting lessons in nearby Portland, Oregon,[4] before moving part-time to Burbank, California with their mother in 1993.[2] After doing various commercials, within six months[4] Jackson won a role the ABC Daytime soap opera, General Hospital. Jackson continued his studies while working, graduating high school at age sixteen.[7]



Jackson's first notable role was Lucky Spencer on General Hospital, a role he first played from 1993 to 1999. Jackson won numerous awards for his work as Lucky. He was nominated for the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Younger Actor in a Drama Series six times, winning first in 1995,[8] and again in 1998 and 1999,[9] making him the record holder for both nominations and wins for the Younger Actor category. He also won Soap Opera Digest Awards in 1995[10] and 1999.[11] He was nominated for Young Artist Awards in 1996,[12] 1997[13] and 1999.[14] He won The Hollywood Reporter's YoungStar Award in 1995,[15] 1997,[16] 1998 and 1999[17] and was nominated in 2000. Jackson also became a popular "teen heartthrob" among fans,[18][19] featured on fan magazines[20] such as Tiger Beat and garnering many fan clubs[21] and internet fansites.[7] In 1999, he was named one of People magazine's 50 most beautiful people.[18]

While working at General Hospital, Jackson starred in his first feature film Camp Nowhere, as Morris "Mud" Himmel in 1994.[22] Also during this time he starred in made-for-television films Prisoner of Zenda, Inc.[23] and The Legend of the Ruby Silver,[24] and made a guest appearance during Season 5 of the ABC sitcom Boy Meets World. In 1999, Jackson filmed The Deep End of the Ocean shortly before leaving General Hospital, starring opposite Michelle Pfeiffer.[7] Deep End director Ulu Grosbard spoke of Jackson as "an enormously gifted actor. He brought a weight and a presence and chemistry with Michelle from the beginning. He's only 15 years old and he is a very serious actor who has both concentration and humor."[25] Pfeiffer added, "When Jonathan and I read together, it was like he was my own son. And we just went at each other in only this way that a mother and son could do. His reading was exhilarating."[25] Jackson was nominated for YoungStar Awards in 1997 for Prisoner of Zenda, Inc. and 1999 for The Deep End of the Ocean.[26]

In December 1999, Newsweek magazine reported Jackson was likely to be taking on the role of Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones. However, he was soon dropped from the running, and publications speculated the prior publicity had hurt his chances due to creator George Lucas' preference for privacy.[27] Jackson continued his film career in 2000 with the independent film True Rights[28] and the ABC television movie Trapped in a Purple Haze.[23] Jackson also wrote and directed a short film with his brother Richard entitled Crystal Clear, which won Best Dramatic Short Film and the Coen Brothers Award for Duo-Filmmaking at the Brooklyn Film Festival.[29] In 2002, Jackson played one of his most well-known film roles as Jesse Tuck in Tuck Everlasting, which he filmed simultaneously to Insomnia. In 2004, Jackson filmed Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, and Riding the Bullet. From 2008 through 2009, he had a recurring role as Kyle Reese in the hit Fox TV show Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, playing the father of John Connor before the show was cancelled.

On September 29, 2009, it was announced that Jackson would return to General Hospital on October 27 to reprise the role of Lucky Spencer.[30] In 2011, Jackson won his fourth Daytime Emmy and first Outstanding Supporting Actor Award.[31] On November 7, 2011, it was announced that Jackson had decided to leave General Hospital[32] and his final airdate was on December 23, 2011. His character is not planned to be recast or killed off, leaving the door open for Jackson to return with the show in the future.[33] In 2012, Jackson won his fifth Daytime Emmy and second consecutive win for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series.[31][34]

In 2012, he got the role of singer-songwriter Avery Barkley in the ABC drama Nashville.[35] Along with the rest of the cast, Jonathan sings and performs guitar himself on the series.[5]


Jackson performing with Enation in 2013

As a child, Jackson took guitar lessons and taught himself to play the piano.[4] Growing up he had an evolving band with various family members. In 2000, the band included his brother, uncle and father and was named "Scarlet Road".[23] By 2002, Jonathan and his brother Richard had named their group "Jono and the Rock".[36]

The ensemble morphed into Enation, where Jackson is the frontman, playing guitar, vocals and writing most the songs.[4] Other band members include Jonathan's brother Richard (drums), and their friends Daniel Sweatt (bass), Luke Galeotti (guitar) and Michael Galeotti (keyboard).[2] The band has released several albums and their song "Feel This" became a Top 10 hit on the iTunes national Rock Charts after it was featured on the CW television drama series One Tree Hill.[2] Enation's songs have also been featured on Riding the Bullet,[4] and General Hospital.[37]

As well as performing as singer, guitarist & piano man Jackson also wrote the song "The Morning of the Rain" featured on episode 7 and 19 of the first season of Nashville.


In the spring of 2012, Jackson released a book of poetry under the pen name J. S. Jackson,[38] titled Book of Solace and Madness.[5] In June 2012, he discussed his yet-to-be-released book entitled Acting in the Spirit, which would discuss the connection between his Orthodox faith and his acting career.[39] In November 2014, Jackson released The Mystery of Art: Becoming an Artist in the Image of God.[40]

Personal life[edit]


At age 20, Jackson married former General Hospital actress Lisa Vultaggio on June 21, 2002. Jackson told the Chicago Sun-Times, "Some people thought we were a little young to get married. But we didn’t see the need to wait. When it’s right, it’s right."[36] The couple moved to Jackson's hometown of Battle Ground, Washington to raise their family.[2] They have three children.[41]


“I've never presented Jesus in a car salesman sort of way. I don't believe in that for me. I don't want to turn anyone away because they're feeling pressured. The most positive influence I've had is people seeing the kind of life I'm living and the way I treat people. If people ask where that comes from, I'll say it comes from Jesus. And I'm definitely not ashamed of that."

—Jackson on his faith, in 1998.[42]

The son of Seventh-day Adventist parents,[39] Jackson was raised as a non-denominational Christian,[43] and has always been vocal about his faith.[44] As part of his belief system, as a teen Jackson chose not to drink or do drugs.[23] Jackson was also a proponent of abstinence from premarital sex.[36][42] Jackson also often thanked God during his award acceptance speeches.[42] While Jackson was working on General Hospital, he and his family held a home church in Burbank which various cast members attended, including Jackson's future wife Lisa Vultaggio.[39] Jackson explained how his beliefs affected his choice of acting roles in an interview with Entertainment Weekly in 1999, "I won't get involved with a movie that's a direct slap in the face of God. [...] I'm an actor, so I have to play people who believe differently than me. I would be willing to play a character that was completely unbelieving and anti-God, just as long as that wasn't the message of the whole movie."[18] In 2002, Jackson participated in the DKNY-sponsored "What's Your Anti-Drug?" campaign, posing for the 2003 calendar featured in Cosmogirl magazine,[45] stating his anti-drug was faith.[46]

In 2012, Jackson and his family were baptized into the Orthodox Church.[47] Jackson cited a trip to Romania and Rome that first brought his attention to learning about the history of Christianity.[39][43][48] In his acceptance speech for his 2012 Daytime Emmy Award, he thanked the Holy Trinity as well as the monks on Orthodox monastic enclave Mount Athos. Jackson later explained in an interview, "These people (are) dedicating their lives to prayer, and not just praying for themselves, but truly praying for all of us. And then the thought kind of crossed my mind: with all the destruction, chaos and insanity that goes on in this world, if their prayers weren’t happening, what would this world be like? I felt personally like I just wanted to thank them because I really believe that their prayers mean a lot."[43]



Year Title Role Notes
1994 Camp Nowhere Morris "Mud" Himmel Feature film debut
1996 Prisoner of Zenda, Inc. Rudy Gatewick/Oliver Gillis Showtime television movie
The Legend of the Ruby Silver Matt Rainie ABC television movie
1999 The Deep End of the Ocean Vincent Cappadora
2000 True Rights Charlie Vick Independent film
Crystal Clear Eddie Short film also written and directed by Jackson
Trapped in a Purple Haze Max Hanson ABC television movie
2001 Skeletons in the Closet Seth Reed
On the Edge Toby
2002 Insomnia Randy Stetz
Tuck Everlasting Jesse Tuck
2004 Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights James Phelps
Riding the Bullet Alan Parker
2005 Venom Eric
2006 A Little Thing Called Murder Kenny Kimes TV-Movie
2009 Kalamity Stanley Keller


Year Title Role Notes
1993 General Hospital Lucky Spencer Contract role; 1993–99, 2009–11, 2015–
1998 Boy Meets World Ricky Ferris Episode: Starry Night
Episode: Honesty Night
2001 Night Visions Devin Episode: If a Tree Falls
2003 The Twilight Zone Martin Sunrise
2008 One Tree Hill Himself Cameo with Enation
2008–09 Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Kyle Reese Episode: Dungeons & Dragons
Episode: Goodbye To All That
Episode: The Good Wound
Episode: Born to Run
2012–present[49] Nashville Avery Barkley Main cast; 93 episodes
2017 NashChat Himself Guest host; week 4

Soundtrack Appearances[edit]

The Music of Nashville: Season 1, Volume 1 (2012)

  • Contributed 1 track: "Twist Of Barbwire"

The Music of Nashville: Season 1, Volume 2 (2013)

  • Contributed 2 tracks: "Let There Be Lonely" and "Keep Asking Why"

The Music of Nashville: Season 2, Volume 1 (2013)

  • Contributed 2 tracks: "You Learn How To Live Alone" and "Be My Girl" with Sam Palladio

The Music of Nashville: Season 2, Volume 2 (2014)

Christmas with Nashville (2014)

The Music of Nashville: Season 3, Volume 1 (2014)

The Music of Nashville: Season 3, Volume 2 (2015)

  • Contributed 6 tracks: "Borrow My Heart" with Sam Palladio and Clare Bowen, "This Is What I Need To Say", "Hold You In My Arms" with Hayden Panettiere, "My Song" with Sam Palladio and Clare Bowen, "Novocaine" with Laura Benanti and "One By One" with Hayden Panettiere

The Music of Nashville: Season 4, Volume 1 (2015)

  • Contributed 2 tracks: "History of My Heart" and "Sleep Tonight (A Lullaby)" with Chris Carmack

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Work Result
1995 Daytime Emmy Award Outstanding Younger Actor in a Drama Series General Hospital Won
Soap Opera Digest Award Outstanding Child Actor Won
YoungStar Award Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Daytime TV Program Won
1996 Daytime Emmy Award Outstanding Younger Actor in a Drama Series General Hospital Nominated
Young Artist Award Best Performance in a Daytime Drama – Young Actor Nominated
1997 YoungStar Award Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Made For TV Movie Prisoner of Zenda, Inc. Nominated
Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Daytime TV Program General Hospital Won
Daytime Emmy Award Outstanding Younger Actor in a Drama Series Nominated
Young Artist Award Best Performance in a Daytime Drama – Young Actor Nominated
1998 Daytime Emmy Award Outstanding Younger Actor in a Drama Series General Hospital Won
YoungStar Award Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Daytime TV Program Won
1999 Daytime Emmy Award Outstanding Younger Actor in a Drama Series General Hospital Won
Soap Opera Digest Award Outstanding Younger Lead Actor Won
Young Artist Award Best Performance in a Daytime Serial Nominated
YoungStar Awards Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Daytime TV Program Won
Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Drama Film The Deep End of the Ocean Nominated
2000 Daytime Emmy Award Outstanding Younger Actor in a Drama Series General Hospital Nominated
YoungStar Award Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Daytime TV Program Nominated
Young Hollywood Award Breakthrough Performance – Male The Deep End of the Ocean Won
Brooklyn Film Festival Festival Award: Best Narrative Short – Drama (with Richard Lee Jackson) Crystal Clear Won
Festival Award: Coen Brothers Award For Duo Filmmakers (with Richard Lee Jackson) Won
2005 Saturn Award Best Performance by a Younger Actor Riding the Bullet Nominated
2010 Daytime Emmy Award Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series General Hospital Nominated
2011 Won
2012 Won
2016 Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Nashville Nominated


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Albright, Mary Ann (April 19, 2010). "A hometown for 'General Hospital,' 'One Tree Hill' stars, musicians". The Columbian. Retrieved January 19, 2013. 
  3. ^ Fundraiser includes actor's memorabilia – News. Norfolk Daily News (November 1, 2012). Retrieved on 2016-04-27.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Christopher, Donna (February 21, 2012). "'General Hospital' star Jonathan Jackson's band to rock Marisa's". Hearst Communications. Retrieved January 20, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c d Albright, Mary Ann (October 6, 2012). "B.G. actor-musician goes country". The Columbian. Retrieved January 19, 2013. 
  6. ^ Jewett, Dave (October 6, 1997). "Article: Jackson Scores A Role In Major Film". The Columbian. Archived from the original on November 4, 2012. Retrieved September 9, 2010. 
  7. ^ a b c King, Susan; The Los Angeles Times (April 8, 1999). "'General Hospital' star jumps into 'Deep End'". Lawrence Journal-World. Retrieved January 3, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Winners of Daytime Emmy Awards at a glance". Daily Union. Associated Press. May 21, 1995. Retrieved January 3, 2013. 
  9. ^ Cormier, Matthew (February 20, 2011). "Daytime Emmys Spotlight: Jonathan Jackson likely to be 'Lucky' again". Gold Derby. Retrieved October 7, 2012. 
  10. ^ "'Days' big hit of soap awards night". The Milwaukee Sentinel. February 18, 1995. Retrieved January 21, 2013. 
  11. ^ "ABC daytime dramas sweep Soap Opera Digest Awards". Pittsburg Post-Gazette. Associated Press. March 1, 1999. Retrieved January 21, 2013. 
  12. ^ "17th Youth In Film Awards". Retrieved February 2, 2013. 
  13. ^ "18th Youth In Film Awards". Retrieved February 2, 2013. 
  14. ^ "20th Youth In Film Awards". Retrieved February 2, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Awards". Lawrence Journal-World. October 28, 1995. Retrieved February 3, 2013. 
  16. ^ Ellis, Rick (May 4, 1997). "1997's 2nd Annual Young Star Awards". AllYourEntertainment, Inc. Retrieved February 2, 2013. 
  17. ^ "Rachel Leigh Cook, Britney Spears, Jonathan Jackson, Haley Joel Osment, Leelee Sobieski Among Winners at The Hollywood Reporter's 4th Annual YoungStar Awards". Gale Group. Business Wire. November 8, 1999. Retrieved February 2, 2013. 
  18. ^ a b c Bonin, Liane (May 6, 1999). "Lucky's Break". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 21, 2013. 
  19. ^ LiCausi, Debra (July 1999). "The Lucky Star". Daytime Digest. 
  20. ^ Cutler, Jacqueline (April 15, 2000). "Jackson rising into a 'Purple Haze'". Calhoun Times. Retrieved February 3, 2013. 
  21. ^ Vice, Jeff (March 12, 1999). "Teenager immerses himself in 'Deep End of the Ocean' role". Deseret News. Retrieved February 9, 2013. 
  22. ^ Sumner, Jane (August 27, 1994). "Disney film 'Camp Nowhere'... a fun type of summer movie". Sun Journal. Retrieved January 20, 2013. 
  23. ^ a b c d Cutler, Jacqueline (April 14, 2000). "Jackson rising into a 'Purple Haze'". Rome News-Tribune. Retrieved January 20, 2013. 
  24. ^ "Soap star making movie". Star-News. January 3, 1996. Retrieved January 20, 2013. 
  25. ^ a b "Teen actors play Michelle Pfeiffer's sons". Manila Standard. June 25, 1999. Retrieved January 21, 2013. 
  26. ^ Ellis, Rick (September 3, 1999). "4th Annual YoungStar Award Nominations". AllYourEntertainment, Inc. Retrieved February 2, 2013. 
  27. ^ Johnson, Tricia (February 25, 2000). "Star Search". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 21, 2013. 
  28. ^ Bates, James (December 24, 1999). "'Mockumentary' Takes Shot at Greedy Sellers of Tales". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 20, 2013. 
  29. ^ "Jackson Brothers Wow Film Festival". Soaps in Depth. October 17, 2000. Retrieved February 18, 2014. 
  30. ^ "Jonathan Jackson to Return to Port Charles". SOAPnet. Retrieved October 7, 2012. 
  31. ^ a b "Daytime Emmys 2012". TV Line. June 23, 2012. Retrieved October 7, 2012. 
  32. ^ "GH's Jonathan Jackson Out!". Soap Opera Digest. November 7, 2011. Retrieved March 15, 2012. 
  33. ^ Logan, Michael (November 16, 2011). "Exclusive: Jonathan Jackson Discusses His Shocking Exit From General Hospital". TV Guide. Retrieved October 7, 2012. 
  34. ^ Stanhope, Kate (June 24, 2012). "General Hospital, Today Top Daytime Emmys". TV Guide. Retrieved September 8, 2012. 
  35. ^ Masters, Megan (February 23, 2012). "Pilot Scoop: GH's Jonathan Jackson Heads to Nashville, Mena Suvari Joins NBC Comedy". TV Line. Retrieved January 19, 2013. 
  36. ^ a b c Kim, Jae-Ha (October 6, 2002). "Jonathan Jackson: From 'General Hospital' to 'Everlasting' success". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved February 18, 2014. 
  37. ^ "Jackson's Song To Play On GH Today!". ABC Soaps in Depth. November 16, 2010. Retrieved January 20, 2013. 
  38. ^ "Jackson Is A Published Poet!". ABC Soaps in Depth. April 9, 2012. Retrieved January 20, 2013. 
  39. ^ a b c d "Actor Jonathan Jackson Talks About His Journey to Orthodox Christianity". June 27, 2012. Retrieved January 19, 2013. 
  40. ^ The Mystery of Art – Ancient Faith Store. Retrieved on April 27, 2016.
  41. ^ "Jackson's New Addition!". ABC Soaps in Depth. October 11, 2010. Retrieved January 20, 2013. 
  42. ^ a b c "The God Squad". Soap Opera Digest. August 25, 1998. 
  43. ^ a b c Rossi, Tony (October 2, 2012). "Hollywood, Jesus and the Monks of Mount Athos: A Conversation with Actor Jonathan Jackson". Patheos. Retrieved January 21, 2013. 
  44. ^ "Lucky's Charms". Soap Opera Digest. September 1997. 
  45. ^ "DKNY Jeans and Youth Anti-Drug Campaign partner for celebrity calendar". Boxcar Media. November 11, 2002. Retrieved January 21, 2013. 
  46. ^ Adweek (2002). "Brandweek". Brandweek. 43 (36–46). 
  47. ^ "From General Hospital to the Hospital of Souls: Interview with Jonathan Jackson". Retrieved June 26, 2012. 
  48. ^ "Jonatan Jackson – How I became Orthodox Christian". Retrieved January 24, 2016. 
  49. ^

External links[edit]