General Hospital’s Jonathan Jackson Reveals How Prayer Got Him Through Brutal, Daytime Emmy-Winning Scenes

From the moment we first watched the explosive scenes where Lucky Spencer verbally destroyed those who had betrayed him on General Hospital, we knew Jonathan Jackson was on his way to easily securing his fourth Daytime Emmy win. The gentle, emotive thespian brought two of his kids with former GH costar Lisa Vultaggio (ex-Hannah) with him backstage to field questions from the press, following his recent win for Outstanding Supporting Actor.

Is it hard for such an all-around good guy to rip apart his costars and childhood friends Rebecca Herbst (Liz) and Tyler Christopher (Nikolas) during such powerful scenes?

"It is difficult, you know?," began Jackson. "Because I really love them as people, so to have to go there…I asked Tyler and Becky to come aside with me and we all said a prayer together, because I said, 'I don't really like going to these places without having a kind of covering of prayer."

Even with the added help of his faith, however, Jackson felt the need to apologize to his longtime leading lady following the volatile scenes.

"As soon as the director would yell 'Cut', I'd say, "I'm sorry, Becky!", because I felt horrible [Laughs]. But it's the job [Laughs]. But, you know, obviously we all llove each other and don't take it personally."

30 Responses

  1. Profile photo of alstonboy4315

    Jonathan Jackson is so cute and charming!! I really love him and feel that I have grown up with him.

    I am glad to see that he uses religion to inspire his cast members, as opposed to using it as a big old STICK in which to beat everyone else over the head with, which is a big mistake that many Christians and other religiously-minded people make in the workplace.

    Normally, I say to save your Jesus juice for after business hours or before, but if it works for them, I think it’s great.

    Many may dislike Jonathan or find him to be too big of a crybaby, but I have always enjoyed him!!

  2. Profile photo of Cyberologist

    I like JJ bunches and am glad he won but I wish it would have been on another reel like the awesome scene with Aiden on the plane bringing him home from Karen

    Guza wrote for him…As a musketeer fan I didn’t like the scene of them just standing there while being lambasted with no dialog …yes they were wrong to keep their relationship a secret but it wasn’t hard to figure out who was getting the emmy reel.

  3. Profile photo of SwanQueen59

    Absolutely love the faith element he brings to the role of Lucky and that he acknowleges that same faith in his personal life without bludgeoning people over the head with it. Also know that the same thing has cushioned my own journey along the way. He is a vibrant testament to excellence in an industry that often celebrates “flash, glitz, and bad behavior” over substance, quality and integrity. He always brightens my GH viewing even when the material is less than cheerful.

  4. Profile photo of FrankiePitt

    I absolutely love JJ’s Lucky Spencer. As much as Tony Geary and Genie Francis are the only Luke and Laura, JJ, in my mind, is the only Lucky. That said, I feel that religion/faith is a personal thing, and just as I wouldn’t ask someone *not* to pray, I wouldn’t want to be asked *to* pray – especially in the workplace. Sweet of him, though, to apologize to Rebecca Herbst after Lucky was a meanie to Liz. He’s a good kid.

  5. Profile photo of

    Hey Alston….hope your doing good today!!

    You think JJ is better looking than Greg Vaghn is?? JJ can act.
    Greg..was so easy on my eyes!! :* He also was a good actor.
    No not like JJ.

  6. Profile photo of alstonboy4315


    Hey. I am going good, honey! ;) I think Greg is better-looking than Jonathan, but Jonathan is very attractive himself. While he doesn’t have Greg’s sharp, “god-like” bone structure and he doesn’t look like he fell off the pages of GQ magazine, he more than makes up for that with his gripping sensitivity and emotional range. I love actors who know how to cry convincingly, since few male actors on soaps can TRULY boast that skill. I think Jonathan is the BEES KNEES… :D

    I never really warmed up to Greg’s Lucky, to be honest. He always felt like a permanent place warmer for Jonathan, who thankfully returned. Jonathan is the ONLY Lucky for me, even though Jacob Young also won an Emmy for the role, neither Greg or Jacob could do what Jonathan has done with the role.

  7. Profile photo of

    I like JJ. GV was much better looking of course, but JJ is cool. I didn’t like the scenes. Lucky did the exact same thing, so it was dumb and so sexist that they made a much bigger deal of it when Liz did the same thing Lucky had done years ago.

    I think there were better scenes to pick from last year for JJ. One of his character calling the women he loves a whore for doing the exact same thing his character has done multiple times was just stupid to me.

  8. Profile photo of pumpkin

    I stopped watching gh but I still think jj has such talent. I am sure with new writers he will shine more. So glad they dumped Guza. The new team has a big mess to clean up. I saw last 5 minutes of today’s show and I felt immediately queasy. All I saw was LuLu walking into a room and some guy looking at her like she was meat……Like I said I will check back when Guza’s treatment of women comes to an end.

    Staying on subject JJ is someone who transcends the material he gets. In the hands of someone lesser, he would probably land on my disgusted list also.

  9. Profile photo of

    Alston…I NEVER cared for Jacob Young in the role. So glad when he left.
    (sorry fans)

    I don’t like JJ’s facial hair. He is adorable when he is clean shaven. JMO

    Glad you doing good… ;)

  10. Profile photo of Cyberologist

    [quote=No Daisy]Prayer may have worked for JJ but it didn’t do anything for Becky or Tylers performaces in those scenes, IMO.[/quote]
    Yep thrown way under da’ bus. LoL and the wheels are still churnin’
    RE: I didn’t like the scenes. Lucky did the exact same thing, so it was dumb and so sexist that they made a much bigger deal of it when Liz did the same thing Lucky had done years ago. I think there were better scenes to pick from last year for JJ. One of his character calling the women he loves a whore for doing the exact same thing his character has done multiple times was just stupid to me. [/quote]

    This all I’m saying the writing was so favored they were given “nothing” no material and there were other “excellent” reels Guza wrote for him to shine ..and to make matters worse they haven’t addressed in any scenes I’ve seen his name calling, how can you pine after a man who calls you a ho” I just don’t get this kind of stuff soap or no this isn’t 1979 things have changed, some women will not go back to a man who calls them names baby daddy or no baby daddy…I know I wouldn’t yeah I lied I cheated but you aren’t calling me a ho in my house…at least have her hold the door open GThe ….outta here I’ve had enough or something LoL

  11. Profile photo of Jon

    I noticed that JJ thanked a monsignor and a father in his acceptance speech whom I assume are Catholic priests….I thought Jonathan was evangelical. I know his wife Lisa was Catholic and became evangelical…I just found it odd to mention Monsignor Assante and Father Strickland (which was what my closed captioning said after I played back his speech with the CC on)….Anyway, JJ is a great guy and I’m glad he won the Emmy…..

  12. Profile photo of Susan Hunter
    Susan Hunter

    He’s one of those prayer freaks? Praying on set to get through scenes? “Dear Blessed Mary Virgin Jesus bless my tear ducts so that I may cry in every damned scene and please convince the academy that this is good acting despite the fact that it didn’t work for me in primetime or movies and I had to go crawling back to a soap. Amen.”

  13. Profile photo of baffled

    I, too, resent being asked to pray in public; as my reading of the Bible advises that the faithful pray in secret and not use their piety as a means of showing off. If I was a brain surgeon; I’d probably pray to be guided to do a good job but I don’t consider acting as rising to the same level of importance. There are some really rotten people in this world who “pray” for a living; and as much as I typically long for these hypocrites to be struck down by lightning, that has yet to happen. My personal preference is to not hear actors talking about religion, whether it be Mel Gibson, Tom Cruise or whatever Wiccans that might be running around Hollywood. I don’t believe that God gives out acting awards or sports championships; so those kinds of speeches just irk me. Frankly, I believe your morality is shown through your deeds, not your words–because “talking the talk” can be easy, but “walking the walk” can be very difficult. Again, this is just my personal opinion.

  14. Profile photo of EricasEvilTwin

    I dont get him criticizing him for praying and for asking others to pray with him as we dont know how or where he prayed or whether he already knew that they did or didnt share his belief system. Its a different thing to pray that you do so well in todays scenes that you win an emmy vs. praying that everyone do their best, to pray for their friendship and to pray that the dark emotions they had to dredge up to do their work not linger with them after the director yells cut. I can imagine that while it was easy for lucky to say that to Niz, it was rather difficult for jj to say those words to becky and tyler, esp. if we dont know how sensitive any of them are in real life.

    as for the writing, no, tyler and becky did not have the same opportunity to shine that jj did, but at the same time they didnt do much with what WERE given. Contrast that with the aiden reveal scene the other day – not all that more meaty but both of them, esp. tyler, brought a much better level of performance to the table that day

  15. Profile photo of alstonboy4315

    Jonathan Jackson didn’t “crawl” back to General Hospital. It’s not as if he were outside the studio with a “Will Work for Food” sign begging for them to axe Greg Vaughan and bring him back. The producers reached out to HIM and asked him to come back. In fact, he has stated many times that he had essentially left daytime BEHIND him, and was living a quiet life away from Hollywood in Washington DC. I don’t blame an actor for taking a job in today’s economy when it is essentially PLACED in his lap. And for the record, MANY talented soap opera actors can’t find work in primetime. Luck, not talent, dictates primetime and film opportunities. It doesn’t matter who you are, it’s tough out there!!!

  16. Profile photo of

    [quote=FrankiePitt] I feel that religion/faith is a personal thing, and just as I wouldn’t ask someone *not* to pray, I wouldn’t want to be asked *to* pray – especially in the workplace.[/quote]

    I agree with you. I didn’t watch the awards, so I am not aware if he did ask people to pray?? Either way, IMO it is inappropriate to ask that of anyone outside your own home/house of worship/or people who you know share the same desires as you do.
    I would ‘Hope’ that everyone believes in ‘something’.
    However, that is solely their personal decision.

  17. Profile photo of alstonboy4315


    I respectfully disagree. Magnificent performances don’t have to be written in the script. Many actors in daytime history have been notorious ad-libbers, such as Elizabeth Hubbard, Anthony Geary and Victoria Rowell. It’s an actor’s job to make a scene come alive, by whatever means necessary. And if a scene doesn’t “pop” on its own, a great actor will do whatever is necessary to MAKE it pop.

  18. Profile photo of liason4real

    RH and TC were told to stand there and NOT say a word while the great Lucky spewed all kinds of garbage at Liz for the same crap that he did back in August 2006 with Maxie. TPTB decided that JJ was worthy of all of the dialogue while RH who spent 14 consecutive years on the show got zip. RH was fired and not included in the Emmy prenoms which sucks big time since it was hers and TC’s s/l with a sprinkling of GV before JJ took over the role of Lucky.

  19. Profile photo of Cyberologist


    I respect the opposing opinions and don’t have a problem w/points being made and with support its always a nice touch (that’s why I join forums to see what other people think)

    … I’m not steadfast and when a point is made I give the kudos sometimes I forget a lot of details esp when I’m FF through so much of GH.

    (you are right) point well made …absolutely an actor’s performance is key; if you gave this to Meryl Streep I can almost guarantee it will play out differently,

    after re-reading it I should have included “for this particular scene but I didn’t.”

    I have seen academy awards given to actresses with little material e.g. Louise Fletcher “One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest” best supporting actress for one.

    But I just think when you’re being told to just stand in the scene I was referring to (the Lucky beat-down scene)

    … with nothing much to say it doesn’t lend to an emmy reel against Lucky’s extensive monologue which allowed him to have the range which is more to work with (IMO).

    I went back to look at the scene w/Nik/Elizabeth reveal I didn’t see it until now and also agree that (w/EET) it is lackluster.

    That her reveal with Lucky was better done better written…maybe I couldn’t get past those gray drabby scrubs they keep Elizabeth in with the dreary Wyndemere backdrop and my disinterest in this storyline I’m tired of these storylines for her that’s all she gets from Guza and Frons…no excuse again…. just saying.

    also IMO, Tyler stepped it up a notch IMO…but then I like seeing Nik like this.

    …and Elizabeth’s eyebrow that’s different from the right one…she’s my girl but I call it like I see it. Its like a weed whacker got to my Lizzie’s brows and she had such beautiful symmetrical eyebrows. Why she insist on these awful skinny ones I have no clue.

    Not only that but its the same old thing I’ve heard in at least two of the never-ending paternity reveals with all due respect I clarify my point …by changing it LoL

    Not making (another) excuse for Becky she was coming off a serious illness. I think this was filmed during the beginning or end of her illness not sure…but if you are ‘told to just stand there’ it ain’t a stretch who they are writing “for” in the scene.

  20. Profile photo of Marezi

    I have no problem for JJ or even Steve Burton (as he has mentioned his religion often also) to bring up their religous point of views.

    They are not brow beating anyone to “believe what they believe” they are just saying they believe in the LORD and are giving GOD and Jesus credit.

    No different than ALL the FOOTBALL teams that pray before their games for the big win.

    JJ so deserved this Emmy and I am glad he won it. Not like LW (and I love LW) but I don’t think she deserved it as much. IMO

  21. Profile photo of EricasEvilTwin

    Cyber for fear that you are going to think I am saying this because I am trying to argue with you – let me preface this by saying preemptively that is not the case – this is just MHO..nothing more nothing less.

    yes, it has to be written. Yes, JJs part in that scene cued him up nicely for a potential emmy, not unlike debi morgan’s character on AMC going blind on amc or michael going to prison and his rape and krissys abuse..the overly emotive/emotional scene partner is usually the one that gets the lions share of the credit for the success of the scene – think sonny throws claudia a bday party and outs her for shooting michael…but in each of those scenes firstly, I dont think you can blame the person with the better half for having the better half of the deal or for guza or any soap writer writing scenes where both parties arent going full tilt over the top (its not unlike a straight man in a comedic partnership). But, secondly, if you look at those examples I think its telling to see what the screen partners did with their half of the scenes. Claudia had very few lines during the bday party but SJB totally sold terror and panic. Jessie on AMC – OMG the things that man conveys with his facial expressions without even having one solitary line. Michaels rape story gave him a chance to shine, but it was LW that took home the emmy.Krissys abuse story not only nearly nabbed her an emmy but it put mo and nancy in serious contention too. Heck Rick Hearst never got what you call “the pimp hand” but he was routinely recognized for his performance as Rick Lansing.

    I just felt that while JJ did benefit from the writing, the implication is that was somehow a wrong choice, and I dont think the scene would have been more moving giving nik or liz more lines because as the ones “in the know” we got to hear their pov for months, what everyone was waiting for is how Lucky was going to react and boy did he ever sell that scene. And, I felt that even though the scene wasnt written as tylers or liz’s I thought both could have done a heck of a lot more with the material than they did.

  22. Profile photo of EricasEvilTwin

    Liason…I know Guza was a mess, but I cant imagine a director giving the direction to “stand there and NOT say a word”. You make it sound like they were ordered not to look on in horror or be present and invested in the scene. Look, Im not saying I dont think the pair arent talented,because they both certainly are, but look at the niz reveal scenes and compare it to the aiden reveal – its not like that material they got with the aiden reveal wasnt all that meatier, but they still both did a much better job with those scenes IMHO than the did with the former. I just didnt see the same level of responsiveness, horror, heartbreak etc. that I saw in the scenes of people reacting to michaels rape or krissys smackdown or claudias reaction to realizing sonny knew the truth.

    Im sorry but their part in those scenes was not IMHO emmy worthy and their colleagues agreed that in comparison to Kimberly and Nancy or JJ and JT, they just werent to that level.

    As for the praying – one more thing to consider – its also about knowing your audience. I have a friend who is athiest. I wouldnt host a dinner in his honor and open it with a prayer nor would I ask him to pray with me before some big task. I have other friends who are devoutly jewish. I might ask them to pray with me but I wouldnt end the prayer with the words “in jesus’ name”. Other friends I most def. would pray openly with them, especially if I was about to call them both every name imaginable even if its all acting. I am sure after all the years that tc, rh, and jj have been friends, I am sure that jj wouldnt have asked for a prayer before the day if he wasnt fairly sure that it wouldnt make them uncomfortable. I get we all have our favorite characters and our favorite actors on the show, but we dont know these people, so my attitude tends to be to give them the benefit of the doubt and credit them all for having a certainly level of common sense, decency, and professionalism with one another.

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