John Wesley Shipp played not one but multiple memorable daytime soap characters, and not one, not two, but three versions of the same crime-fighting superhero – feats worthy of celebration. As is the milestone that this much-beloved actor is about to pass.
Happy Birthday, John Wesley Shipp!
And that’s because he was born on January 22, 1955, in Northfolk, Virginia, which means that he is turning 66 years old today! His career began in 1980 with two specific roles — the made-for-TV movie The Dirtiest Show in Town, an adaptation of the off-Broadway play which ran for two years at the Astor Theatre, and also his very first soap opera.
That role was on Guiding Light, where he played med student Kelly Nelson. For the better part of his four-year tenure, Shipp steered Kelly through a love triangle featuring himself, Nola Reardon, the girl from the wrong side of the tracks looking to make good, and Morgan Richards, the young virginal high schooler who loved Kelly dearly.
Next, Shipp joined As the World Turns as the seemingly mild-mannered restaurateur Doug Cummings. When Doug was revealed to be the obsessed fan tormenting his fiancée’s aunt, Shipp’s tour de force performance netted him a Daytime Emmy Award – though his character was eventually disposed of in a who-dun-it-style mystery.
Shipp continued to work daytime serials. In 1986, he played Martin Ellis on Santa Barbara (and won a second Daytime Emmy Award). Three years later he was Blanchard Lovelace on One Life to Live.
Between 1990 and 1991, Shipp starred as the titular superhero in CBS’s The Flash. Twenty odd years later, Shipp would return to the DC Comics television universe via the role of Dr. Henry Allen in a new Flash series. Subsequently, he would also portray Jay Garrick (a past incarnation of the Speedster), and reprise his previous 1990s-era incarnation of the character. Shipp also gave voice to Professor Eobard “Zoom” Thawne AKA the villainous Reverse-Flash in the animated series Batman: The Brave and the Bold.
Throughout the remainder of the 1990s, Shipp guest-starred on a number of primetime programs including Human Target (1992), NYPD Blue (1994), JAG (1995), and Strangers (1996).
He had a recurring role on Sisters from 1994 and 1995, and between 1998 and 2001, he starred as the title character’s father on Dawson’s Creek. Shipp also returned to his soap opera roots with a recurring role on One Life to Live.
His other acting endeavors include the films The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter (1990), Second to Die (2002), Starcrossed (2005), and Hell and Mr. Fudge (2012), as well as series such as The Outer Limits (2001), CSI: NY (2006), and The Closer (2007). Since 2019, he has had a co-starring role in the Ruby Herring Mysteries franchise on Hallmark.
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