Ashton has captured the fierce determination of the working man in his portrayal of key roles for both dramatic and comedic feature films. As Sergeant Taggart in Beverly Hills Cop and its sequel Beverly Hills Cop II, Ashton portrayed a police professional whose dead serious approach to his work made him the perfect foil for both of his rookie partners played by Judge Reinhold and Eddie Murphy. In Midnight Run, Ashton played Marvin Dorfler, a foul-mouthed bounty hunter who goes head-to-head with competitor Robert De Niro in a madcap race against time and the mob in order to transport Charles Grodin's character safely from New York to Los Angeles.
Ashton's feature credits also include Meet the Deedles, Little Big League starring Minnesota Twins' pitching coach Mac McNally, director John Hughes' Curly Sue and She's Having a Baby as well as I Want to Go Home starring Gèrard Depardieu, Some Kind of Wonderful, King Kong Lives, and the acclaimed Breaking Away, reprising his role as Roy in the latter as a series regular for the television series.
His most recent work for television includes the telefilms The Day Lincoln Was Shot for TNT, and Little Girls in Pretty Boxes for Lifetime. He also starred in the miniseries The Tommyknockers and I Know My Name is Steven, and in the telefilms Dirty Work for USA Network and Love, Lies & Murder. He has also had series regular roles for On the Line and Hardball and had a recurring role on Dallas. Other guest starring credits include the series Jag, Jack's Place, The Tracey Ullman Show, Twilight Zone and M*A*S*H.
Born in Springfield, Massachusetts and raised in Enfield, Connecticut from the age of six months, Ashton stared acting lessons at the age of 12. Two years after he was playing a small role in the Hartford Stage Company production of Othello, and also won accolades in baseball as the State's Little League championship pitcher. He also played football in high school and his early passion for go-cart racing has continued into adulthood, although he has graduated to stock car racing, and owns and races his own cars.
Ashton enrolled at Defiance College in Ohio with major in theater arts and a position on the football team. After a season of summer stock in Cape Cod, Ashton decided to take a year to work and make enough money to move to Hollywood. He was accepted into the drama department of USC and soon won the prestigious Irene Ryan Scholarship for acting. As part of a USC touring theater troupe, he toured Europe, performing in Germany, London, and at the Edinburgh Arts Festival.
Upon graduation, he became a member of the Company of Angels Theater Group. For his starring performance as Camille in the Feydeau farce A Flea in Her Ear, Ashton received the Los Angeles Drama Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor. He also starred in Sam Shepard's True West opposite Ed Harris, earning Ashton a Drama-Logue Award for Best Actor.
John Ashton Facts
|February 22, 1948 (76)
|Springfield, Massachusetts, USA
|Some Kind of Wonderful
|Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict
|A Fish Called Wanda
|What Happens in Vegas
|Masterpiece Mystery: Endeavour