Ned Ashton Quartermaine isn’t on GENERAL HOSPITAL as frequently as in the past, so newer viewers of the soap can be forgiven if they’re not aware of the character’s dramatic history in Port Charles. Kurt McKinney originated the role back in September of 1988 and after he left in 1991, the role was recast with Wally Kurth, who continues to play the character to this day, though he has taken periodic breaks and also stars as Justin Kiriakis on DAYS OF OUR LIVES.
The son of Tracy Quartermaine and Larry Ashton, Ned was first seen working at Green Meadow Spa and calling himself Ward. He had an affair with Monica Quartermaine, unaware that she was his aunt by marriage. When he got fired from his job and made his way to Port Charles, he tried to rekindle things with Monica before becoming attracted to her daughter, Dawn Winthrop. But that relationship came to a crashing halt when Dawn dumped him on their wedding day after discovering his affair with her mom. Then Ned fell for Jenny Eckert but their marriage fell apart when he later learned she’d had an affair with a senator and suffered a miscarriage. He then found comfort with Julia Barrett, but she was also sleeping with A.J. Quartermaine. Ned went into business with his old friend, Damian Smith, but he turned out to be involved with the mob.
In 1993, Ned was pursuing a music career as Eddie Maine and fell for Lois Cerullo but then at the same time was romancing Katherine Bell as Ned Ashton. He ended up marrying both women but only his marriage to Lois was legal. Unfortunately, she dumped him when she found out about Katherine, and he had to work to win her back. A pregnant Lois wasn’t fond of the Quartermaines and didn’t want their child raised around them. Edward Quartermaine kept trying to get Ned to focus on business instead of music, even stealing L&B Records from Ned and Lois. And when Ned became CEO of ELQ to battle a hostile takeover from Tracy and Jasper “Jax” Jacks, Lois left him and moved back to Brooklyn with their daughter, Brook Lynn.
Ned’s friendship with attorney Alexis Davis soon grew into romance, but he ended up marrying Chloe Morgan to help her save her company (with Alexis’ full permission of course!). When Alexis married Jax, who was in love with Chloe, each couple pretended to be married while actually being with the ones they loved in secret. When their plan was discovered and Chloe lost her company, Ned divorced her and proposed to Alexis. But she struggled with Eddie Maine’s fans and the idea of becoming a Quartermaine wife, ultimately leaving Ned standing at the altar! Although they later reconciled and tried to make their relationship work, Ned and Alexis finally came to realize it never would and split.
Devoting himself full-time to L&B Records, Ned decided to pursue Alexis’ long-lost sister, Kristina, both as a new artist and also romantically but was still hung up on her sibling. When Alexis got pregnant with Sonny Corinthos‘ baby, Ned agreed to claim to be the father to protect the child from the mob, and when Kristina was killed trying to tell Sonny, Alexis named the baby Kristina Davis after her. Ned also had a fling with mobster Faith Rosco to work against Sonny, but dropped her when he realized how dangerously psycho she was. When Alexis was convicted of murder, Ned was given custody of their daughter and Alexis disguised herself as the new Quartermaine butler, Dobson, to be around her daughter. Ned began dating Skye (they weren’t biologically cousins), and she exposed Alexis’ ruse.
This led to a bitter custody battle between Ned and Alexis which ended with Ned suddenly giving up and allowing Alexis to have Kristina. He went back to ELQ and tried to help Tracy bring the company back from bankruptcy after A.J. stole from them but after she betrayed him, reopened L&B Records. Things were going well when Alcazar invested in the company to give his niece, Sage, a singing career, but after the young woman’s murder, that all changed. Lois returned to Port Charles and while they didn’t rekindle their romance, she and Ned remained business partners. And after Lois returned to Brooklyn, Ned and Brook Lynn later followed.
Ned made occasional returns to Port Charles for major events, like Edward and A.J’s deaths. Eventually, he stuck around to question Tracy’s decision to marry Luke Spencer. This led to some family squabbling over who should be running ELQ. He reconnected romantically with Alexis but realizing she was still in love with Julian, tried to turn his friendship with Olivia Falconeri into something more. But Olivia was pregnant with Julian’s baby after an ill-advised one-night stand, so Ned again agreed to pretend to be a babydaddy to protect the child. Although Julian learned the truth after the baby was born early, Ned sneaked the baby out of Port Charles.
When Ned returned to town, he told Olivia that they couldn’t be a real family until she told Julian the truth about Leo. When she refused, he once again left town. However, after returning again to help Tracy through a health crisis, Ned and Olivia were reunited. She turned down his proposal, but after surviving a hostage situation, Olivia popped the question herself and they were married in July, 2017. He supported Olivia as she adjusted to live in the Quartermaine mansion and later became mayor of Port Charles after Laura dropped out of the race. He was surprised when Brook Lynn returned looking for help dealing with her sleazy manager, and while Ned was happy to try and get Linc out of her life, he has also cut his daughter off to force her to fend for herself.
Stay tuned to see how Ned’s story continues and for more GH features, keep reading the ABC edition of Soaps In Depth magazine.
Love GH? Be sure to join our We Love General Hospital Facebook group to chat about all the latest storylines and juicy gossip!