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Jonathan Jackson

Superstars The following interview/article, appeared in Soap Opera Digest magazine on September 1997. Lucky's Charms With GH Stardom and a loving Family, Jonathan Jackson has but two crosses to Bear. Two silver crosses -- one dangling from his neck the other from his left earlobe -- have nothing to do with Jonathan Jackson's General Hospital character, the wily Lucky Spencer, fending off bloodthirsty Cassadines. Nor are they testimonials to some sacrilegious teen trend. Jackson has an entirely different on what's "cool". And what's remarkably refreshing about this popular 15-year-old is his ability to confidently speak out on a subject most teenagers would label decidedly "uncool". "Jesus is cool" proclaims Jackson. "Eventually, I'd like to have a big effect on opening people's eyes to Christianity. It's not like a cult thing. I just think a lot of people are missing out on how amazing it is. The stuff I read in the Bible is brilliant, and really keeps me in the right road." And clearly, that direction has helped keep Jackson's career on the right path too. Young stars frequently crash and burn while trying to deal with the often intoxicating realities of fame, but that's a head trip Jackson never plans on taking. "I know I'm not going to be in those situations," Jackson emphasizes. "My brother and I keep each other in check, but if I ever get close to the point of forgetting who I am, I'm just gonna quit (show business)." Obviously the Jackson's are a close family -- despite the fact that they're not all living under the same roof. To accommodate his GH gig and 18-year-old Richard Lee's role on NBC's Saved by the Bell: The New Class, the brothers Jackson have been keeping house with Mom Jeanine in LA while Dad Ricky Lee (a family practice doctor/country western singer) oversees the family's home in Washington State. "My parents really have had an incredible marriage," boasts the actor. "You have to be creative," explains Jeanine, who invested in a set of picture phones so the kids can "see" their dad during the week. A third sibling, Candice, 19, recently marched down the aisle, with Jonathan serving as best man. "My family's really close," he beams. "My brother and I are best friends." There was a time however, in the not so distant past, when Jonathan and Richard's sibling rivalry raged fiercer than the fraternal feuding between Lucky and his half brother, Nikolas Cassadine. "Richard and I have gotten along pretty amazingly for the past three years. Before that, we were hugely competitive in everything. It was pretty violent," says Jackson with a laugh. "Eventually, I did start having a good time with him. It was a slow process, but through the past years, we've barely fought at all." And that's quite fortunate, since Jonathan and Richard share sleeping quarters. Their bedroom walls, as well as Jackson's GH dressing room, are plastered with posters of their idols-rock band U2, and screen rebels James Dean and Christian Slater. "When I was first getting into the business, I was really into Christian Slater and his work," Jonathan reflects. "Then I got really heavy into James Dean -- just a really charismatic, fun guy to watch." And imitate. A few years ago, with some help from Dad, Jonathan and Richard figured out how to dub their celebrity impersonations over the soundtracks of classic film scenes. "We got addicted to it," he recalls. "We'd hoop our voices over scenes from Rebel Without A Cause and East of Eden. My sister did Meg Ryan's scene in When Harry Met Sally where she's faking an orgasm. It was pretty weird." Jackson made his real film debut in 1994, staring opposite Christopher Lloyd in Camp Nowhere. But that wasn't the only first associated with the movie: Jackson had to shoot his first on-camera kiss -- with an older woman, no less. "I was 11 and she was 14," he says rather seriously. "The crew just laughed more than we did." That early training should come in handy now that Lucky's landed in the middle of a love triangle, competing with half brother Nikolas for the hand of the new girl in town, Sarah Webber. "Jennifer Sky (Sarah) is working out really good," he smiles. "There's nothing better than a love triangle to cause conflict." At present, Jackson doesn't have a steady girlfriend off-screen. But, after receiving some sage dating advice from Anthony Geary (Luke, Jackson knows what he's not looking for. "(He) advised me, 'Date an actress, never marry one.' Maybe it's just me, but a lot of the actresses I've worked with are very absorbed in their fame and how they look. So I've decided, with a few exceptions, I'm going to try to stay away from them." Jackson affectionately describes Geary as one of his best friends -- and greatest champions. Case in point: When Jackson considered quitting last year, Geary announced he'd rather they kill off the character of Lucky than recast the role. "He was serious," says Jackson with a smile. "Lucky and Luke's relationship -- as well as mine and Tony's -- is a close understanding as people, and a respect as actors and friends. He didn't want to work with the character of Lucky without having me there, and I'd never want to play opposite another Luke." Lucky for us. JUST THE FACTS Birth date: May 11, 1982 Sexiest Costar: Lynn Herring (Lucy, GH and Port Charles) Fondest Wish: "To play a song with U2." Magic Carpet Bagger: "Aladdin was a great movie. Why'd they have to go make a TV show out of it?" Show Us the Emmy! "It's on the mantle -- next to my Soap Opera Digest Award." How He Found Out the Truth About Santa Claus: "I don't think I have yet." He'd Never be Caught Wearing: "A Speedo."

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