Soap star up for Emmy grew up in Rogue Valley

Soap star up for Emmy grew up in Rogue Valley

Former Medfordite and longtime soap-opera star Jon Lindstrom is Vegas-bound and hoping for a win at Sunday's 37th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards ceremony.

Lindstrom, 53, is up for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for his portrayal of the wicked and charming Craig Montgomery on "As The World Turns."

"I'm going to be sitting in the audience (at the Las Vegas Hilton) sweating bullets, enjoying the ride," Lindstrom said, adding he'll be accompanied by his older brother, Jeff.

The 1975 Medford High School graduate has spent more than 25 years portraying both heroes and villains in six popular daytime dramas.

Initially contracted for three months, Lindstrom ended up playing dual male leads on the powerhouse soap "General Hospital" from 1992 to 2004 as the beloved Kevin Collins and his evil twin, Ryan Chamberlain.

Lindstrom's Collins character was carried over into a spin-off soap called "Port Charles" from 1997 to 2003.

In 2008 Lindstrom began starring as Craig Montgomery, "World's" tent-pole character.

"I'm going to miss (Montgomery)," said Lindstrom. "He was my work for almost two years."

Given his choice, Lindstrom said he prefers playing scoundrels to saints.

You don't have to think about playing the bad guy," he said with a chuckle. "Bad guys are easier and more fun to play. Everything they do is somehow logical."

"World" is currently the longest-running show on television. But the show will leave the air on Sept. 17. Wednesday was Lindstrom's last day of filming, he said.

Lindstrom is pragmatic about the soap's termination.

"The ax was hanging over the show's neck when I got the job," he said. "Every show closes. No one should expect that a television show will run forever. You just move on."

Lindstrom says the difficult economy has impacted everyone, including actors. Costs are being curtailed by cutting actors, which means fewer characters and a lot more work for those who remain, he said.

"I've never worked harder in my life," he said. "(Soaps) are being forced to deliver more for a lot less money. And still it's difficult. In five years, I think they're all going to be gone unless something is done."

A graduate of University of Oregon theater and music schools, Lindstrom has written several screen plays and recently finished filming as the lead in the independent film, "Can't Have It All." Shot on location in Philadelphia, the romantic comedy co-stars Wendie Malick, Chris Murrah, Natalia Cigliuti and Ariel Shafir.

Other film credits include "Must Love Dogs" opposite Diane Lane, and the Disney Channel movie "Right On Track."

Lindstrom has fond memories of growing up in Medford. His parents still live in the area, and he returns regularly for family visits and school reunions, Lindstrom said.

"I came to three (reunions) in a row," he said. "(Medford) was a great place to grow up. It was a safe place to raise kids and to be a kid."

Local restaurateur and Medford High School reunion organizer Patty Laurine stays in contact with Lindstrom. She describes him as "a really nice guy" — who was fun to torment and tease.

"He had a locker next to mine," Laurine said. "We could do silly things to him, poke fun at him, and he'd never do anything bad to retaliate."

Lindstrom said he doesn't remember too much taunting from Laurine and her girlfriends. But he does remember enjoying the opportunities to attend plays and concerts at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Britt Festivals and the county fairs.

"I still love Medford," he said. "I love the Rogue Valley. It has a warm place in my heart."

Lindstrom's Emmy competition includes Doug Davidson and Peter Bergman of "The Young and The Restless," James Scott of "Days of Our Lives" and Michael Park, also of "As The World Turns."

The 37th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards Show is on CBS and begins at 9 p.m. Sunday.

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or e-mail

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