On WAR, Linden Ashby and his real-life wife, Susan Walters, played married spies.
Walters and Ashby in their LOVING days
The battle may be over, but Linden Ashby and Susan Walters - one of television's few married couples who routinely work together - remain unbeaten. Their most recent project, a dark comedy titled THE WAR NEXT DOOR, aired briefly on USA Network in 2000. They played a secret agent suburban couple who went head-to-head with the next-door neighbor, an evil secret agent. Someone else always died, but the couple returned the following week.
Not unlike real life for Ashby and Walters, who despite the brevity of some of their projects, always bounce back. The two met on LOVING in the mid-1980s and tied the knot in '86. Although not every project has turned into a family affair (for instance Walters guested solo on PROVIDENCE and FAMILY LAW in 1999), that's how they like doing it whenever possible. (Both were on MELROSE PLACE in 1998.) "We go out of our way to share," notes Ashby.
"He gets a job, and I beg my way on to it," jokes Walters. "He had gotten the offer to do [WAR's] Kennedy Smith, and I said, 'Who's playing the wife?'" Walters promptly won and accepted the part of Lili with or without Ashby, who was then obliged to follow along. "Not that I was pressuring him to take it," she jokes. "It's been a living hell ever since then," smiles Ashby.
Actually, it hasn't. Filming together means the family (which includes children Grace and Savannah, who are 9 and 7) may lead a gypsy lifestyle, but they stay together. "It's created a very strong sense of family with Susan and myself and the kids," explains Ashby. "We go to strange places and it makes us tighter because we've got each other. that's our anchor."
Meanwhile, the twosome (who also worked together on the 1999 TV film WHERE THE TRUTH LIES) have kept in touch with the soap world. "I was interested when PASSIONS started," admits Walters. "I was reading the breakdowns and I was like, 'My best friend, Kim Ulrich [Ivy], is so perfect for this part..." And, says Ashby, "I talk to Thomas Calabro [ex-Michael, MP], and I see Grant Show [ex-Jake, MP] all the time. We go fishing and get in trouble. He's my troublemaking friend."
For now, work is keeping them apart: Asbhy's appearing in the feature film Dead Wrong, due out later this year. But there's always at least one advantage to working together again some day, particularly as a couple. Grins Walters, "We don't bump noses when we kiss!"