I first met AMC's Jacob Young (JR) in 1998 when he starred as Rick Forrester on the Bold and the Beautiful. This feature story first ran at Soapdom (then called Turtle-Run.com) in 1999, right after Young had left B&B. Pictured at right with Young is Ashley Jones (now B&B's Bridget) back in 1999 when she played the character of Abigail on Y&R). It's interesting to see just how far Young has come. In this piece he shares how he landed his first soap role, his plans for the future and more. Enjoy!
Going, Going, Gone! Actor On the Move
Jacob Young (former Rick, B&B) is a serious actor. Earlier this year, when he heard he was nominated for a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Younger Actor for the role, he was in a state of shock. Did he think of himself as an Emmy material after such a short time on the show? "Never in a million years! It was beyond words. This past year has happened so fast. I am just thankful people have responded so well," he said. "To my storyline and to me as an actor. The nomination is an honor."
As it turned out, Jacob lost the Emmy to General Hospital's Jonathan Jackson, another young actor who left the world of soaps to try his luck at other things. But at that time, Jacob was looking forward to his work on B&B, maybe even expanding his storyline. "Hopefully, something will develop between Rick and Kimberly," he said. "I'd like to have someone else to work with, at the same time as Amber. Nothing wrong with a little triangle. Maybe a little change up too, to spice up the season." He was upbeat, and sincerely happy to be a part of the B&B family. Does that sound like the kind of actor who would storm off the set?
I first met Jacob in November 1998 at CBS Television City in Hollywood about a year after he started on the show. Both B&Band Y&R tape at these CBS studios, across from each other. An indoor roadway separates the respective stages. If you're not careful, you could get run over by one of the many golf carts or equipment vehicles that vroom their way along the path. Standing by the side of the "road" is always a treat. You're bound to encounter everyone who is anyone on either soap. For an indoor highway, the scenery does have its appeal!
Jacob was taping some scenes when I arrived, so I got to hang out for a while. Shemar Moore (Malcolm, Y&R) stopped to say hi. So did Christian LeBlanc (Michael, Y&R). Mick Cain (CJ, B&B) and Michael Swan (Adam, B&B) said hello, so did Adreinne Frantz (Amber, B&B) and Jess Walton (Jill, Y&R). Suddenly, there was a tap on my shoulder. It was Jacob. "Hi, Linda. Let's go over here where we can have a little more privacy," he said as he escorted me to a more secluded spot. One look into his sparkling blue eyes, and adorable smile, and I was smitten. He's not very tall, 5'7" or 5'8" tops, which is a stretch and primarily a function of his haircut. What he lacks in stature, however, is more than compensated by his demeanor and boy-next-door good looks.
Landing the part as Rick on Bold & the Beautiful was as much a testament to Jacob's ingenuity as it was to his acting. And yes, he paid some dues along the way.
"I had just moved to CA," Jacob said. "I was working part time waiting tables at Denny's in North County, San Diego, and was traveling back and forth to go on commercial auditions. But I really wanted to do some theatrical stage work, and I heard that maybe the best way to do that was to place an ad in the Hollywood Reporter, or Junior Variety, and I looked into it. It would cost $75 bucks to put my picture in the magazine, and say: ‘Hey! I'm here. Is anybody interested in hiring me for some stage work?'"
So, he bit the bullet and bought the ad. It ran his headshot and listed of some of his theatre credits. "Lo and behold," Jacob continued, "Christy Dooley, the casting director for B&B saw the ad and called me. I had no idea what it was for. We set up an audition, and I came in and read for her."
At that time, Jacob was not represented by an agent. "The next thing I know," he said, "Christy sets up producer call-backs for the next day! Everything happened so fast. The casting process --then BOOM!" he shouted and clapped his hands. "I am on the show!"
Prior to Jacob relocating to California, he did Community Theater in Washington State, and Oregon. "And plays in High School," he recalled. "Not that much really. I mean, it was wonderful to do, but it was nothing like a major accomplishment. It was an accomplishment to me, though." Landing the role on B&B was the highlight of his career. "B&B is the greatest thing that's ever happened to me in my whole life! Buying that ad was the best $75.00 I ever spent!"
But Jacob wasn't just a pretty boy who got the part solely on looks. He had some theater behind him, and the smarts to know he needed to work at honing his craft. "When I started on the show, I had to teach myself, because I'd never been in front of a television camera. So, I went right to work, going to acting classes, studying other soaps. I wanted to understand the format of the medium. I just tried to absorb everything I possibly could. I spoke with everyone on our show, and took their insights to heart. People from Y&R, too. Everybody was great and wanted to help me along. And my acting ability has gone from --one step at a time, very gradually, slowly and I haven't even noticed-- well, maybe I've noticed a little bit! But this last month especially, my acting ability has leaped like 8 steps! I came from this one spot to higher levels. I don't know how to explain it, but I've noticed it and I am absolutely dumbfounded at what I am now able to do! What I am able to memorize. How I can look at a script and just flow with it."
Naturally, being in the role for some time makes an actor more comfortable with his character, and Jacob was no different. At that time, Jacob had been playing Rick for about a year. "I know the character very well. But I've been trying to throw as many change-ups into his personality as much as I can. So people don't say, oh that's predictable of Rick. I am trying to make the character a little more exciting, and give him a little more dimension."
Jacob said he continued to study and recommended that any young actor who wants to break in do the same. "You can never get enough experience. Being on television is wonderful training, but I am also studying in a theatrical class. It's giving me both ranges of the spectrum, and is making a nice medium for me. It's just beautiful." All the hard work and study paid off. Even Jacob could see the growth in his acting ability. "It's like music now. It just flows."
The Blue Ribbon Panel of the Emmy Organization likewise noticed Jacob's talents and bestowed him with the Emmy Nomination, something he never expected but welcomed with poise. "I really don't mind what happens today," Jacob said on the morning of the Emmy broadcast last May. "Either I win or lose. It would be nice to bring home some hardware, but it is just an honor being in the running."
Jacob last aired on B&B as Rick in August 1999, and is now pursuing other venues. As of this writing, I hear that he has landed the lead role as a wrestler in an upcoming feature film. He is replaced on B&B by newcomer Justin Torkildsen, whose first air date as Rick is October 19, 1999.
2005 Update: In 2000 Young went on to land the role of Lucky Spencer on General Hospital for which he won a Daytime Emmy in 2002. He stepped into the role after fan favorite, and Daytime Emmy winner, Johnathan Jackson left GH to pursue other interests. He stayed on in Port Charles until 2003. Later in 2003, Young joined the cast of All My Children as Adam Chandler, Jr., aka "JR," aging the character and causing havoc for his family and friends. He was nominated for a Daytime Emmy in 2005 for his work as JR. LMS
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