What happened to Ashland Locke from “The Young and The Restless”?

April 18, 2024
11 mins read

Ashland Locke, a fictional character in one of the most enduring daytime series in American television history, “The Young and the Restless,” created a buzz on soap opera online forums when he met his demise. His manner of death caused a lot of speculations from viewers, and some of them believed that the 26 July 2022 episode wouldn’t be the last time they saw him in the series. Based on the unbelievable twists and turns that the daytime series was known for, Ashland may resurface again, even if for now the police have declared him dead.

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“The Young and The Restless” – The Origins

CBS Television Network created a daytime drama series centered on the residents of a fictitious place in the US called Genoa City. At that time, they never imagined that the show would transform the daytime series genre, and improve the standards for creating socially-conscious narratives.

49 years on TV, with 31 years as the top daytime drama

For almost five decades, “The Young and The Restless,” fondly called by the fans as “Y&R,” bewitched domestic and international fans. The fascinating storylines of the enigmatic characters from the families of Brooks and Fosters in their early years, to the introduction of the Abbots and the Williamses in the following decade captured the imagination of their loyal audience. It never wavered when it was the families of the Newmans, Baldwins, Fishers, and Winters who took center stage over the following decades. The soap became one of the pillars of the CBS TV network, since it made its television debut on 26 March 1973.  It generated competitive high ratings which made it the number one daytime drama series consecutively for 32 years, after it took the throne from “General Hospital” in the latter part of 1988.

Created by one of the titans of daytime TV

It was William “Bill” J. Bell who created “Y&R” with the help of his equally talented wife, Loreley “Lee” June Phillip Bell. His TV resume was impeccable, as he was also part of the writing team of the third longest-running TV drama in US history, “The Guiding Light,” and a successful soap opera called “As the World Turns.” In 1966, he became part of another equally popular daytime drama series, “Days of Our Lives,” and was tasked as its head writer.

Due to his courage in delving into the most controversial issues at that time, including sexuality, Bill turned the then-struggling series into one of the most popular soaps.  His achievements weren’t enough for him, as he had so much creativity to offer, and by 1972, “Y&R” was conceptualized. However, the producers of “Days of Our Lives” sued him for leaving them, which he settled by providing them with long potential narratives for the show until 1975. He became the head writer in “Y&R” from its inception up to 1988, by which time he was more focused on creating its sister series, called “The Bold and The Beautiful”, although he remained the executive producer of “Y&R”  until the day he died.

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The story behind its title

When Bill was given the green light to create another soap opera by the CBS executives, they wanted it to be youth-oriented. With this in mind, Bill and Lee initially named the series, “Innocent Years,” and it became its working title. However, as they continued to work on the storylines, they realized that the teens at that time had already somewhat lost their innocence, and thought that the title “The Young and The Restless” more aptly described the series.

The 13 main characters were chosen from 550 actors

Back in the early 1970s, it wasn’t easy to find the right actors for a daytime TV series, because not everyone could commit to long hours of filming to complete a season. However, armed with the many things he’d learned from his stint with the other drama series, Bill joined forces with John Conboy, who was then the executive producer of the show, in organizing an audition. Through enough patience, they sifted through the 550 actors who auditioned for the roles, and eventually were able to get their 13 main cast members, who at that time were considered to have model-type glam looks. It was an essential ingredient for them, since the Bells included sexual themes into their romantic narrative, which was a first on daytime TV.

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Ashland Locke – The highlights of his stay in “Y&R”

The fans of “Y&R” first heard of Ashland Locke in an episode in February 2021, as he was mentioned by Theo Vanderway, who was a social media influencer and a friend of Kyle Abbott. He first appeared on the show on 11 March of that same year, and was introduced as a ruthless and influential businessman. From the get-go, the fans knew that he would create havoc in some of the lives of their favorite characters in the series.

Actors who played Ashland Locke

The role was initially played by Robert Burgi, who was best known as Detective Jim Ellison in the action-crime drama series, “The Sentinel.” However, for some unknown reasons, he left the show in the early part of January 2022.  A recast was immediately made and the role was given to Robert Newman, and it made many soap opera fans excited. He was part of “Guiding Light” for several years, half of a “supercouple” with actress Kim Zimmer.

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Ashland’s character background and personality

Everyone in Genoa City and the world knew him as the powerful media tycoon. However, Ashland Locke’s real name was Robert “Bobby” DeFranco, a son of an abusive, alcoholic father and an indifferent mother. The moment he turned 16 years old, he ran away from home with his friend, Ashland Locke, to escape the beatings he endured from his father for several years; Bobby and Ashland treated each other as brothers and even had matching tattoos. On the eve of Ashland’s interview for a job, with news station owned Camilla Rhodes, the friends had a vehicular accident that threw Bobby from the car while Ashland remained trapped inside it without any pulse. Eventually, the car caught fire which burned Ashland beyond recognition. With the fear of his father taking him back if he called the authorities to report what had happened, he just took Ashland’s ID card, and left the car burning. Everyone believed that it was Bobby who died that day.

Bobby reinvented himself

Tragic though it might be, Bobby saw it as an opportunity to make a new life for himself, and assumed his deceased friend’s identity. He went to the interview with the news station as Ashland Locke, and was successful in acquiring the job, only made possible because Camilla Rhodes never met the real Ashland in person. His life changed over the years, and she became not only his mentor but also his benefactor. He learned all business skills along with the ins and outs of a TV network from her. Both Camilla and her trusted lawyer, Joseph Gaines, treated him as if he was their own son, which didn’t sit right with the lawyer’s biological son, Joseph Jr.

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Forged Camilla’s will and his parent’s identities

When Camilla died, Ashland was shocked that he didn’t inherit anything from her, because she believed that he could achieve his goals without monetary help from her. With the help of Joseph Gaines, they forged her will and made it seem that she left all her wealth to Ashland. No one questioned it, as everyone saw that he was treated over the years as if he was her son. To validate his identity as Ashland Locke, he created identities for his parents and named them Ian and Mary Locke, with the rather ironic backstory that they’d died in a vehicular accident. With the fortune that he ‘inherited’ from Camilla, he established the Locke Communications Group by purchasing two other news stations.

The Ashland-Tara-Kyle connection

When Ashland arrived with his wife, Tara, in Genoa City, it was supposed to be a short business trip to sell one of his businesses, Cyaxares, as he declared that they needed to go back to be with their son, Harrison. Due to several meetings with Kyle Abbot, he couldn’t help but suspect that there was something amiss between his wife and Kyle. Apparently, his instinct wasn’t wrong because Tara had an affair with Kyle, and Harrison wasn’t his biological son but Kyle’s. All the interested parties knew the truth except for Ashland and Harrison. Tara warned Kyle to avoid Ashland if possible, because her husband could be cruel and dangerous if he wanted to.

The Locke-ness monster

When betrayed, cornered, or pissed off, Ashland could be quite ruthless, and so he was nicknamed the “Locke-ness Monster” by everyone who had the misfortune to attract his ire. After he realized his wife’s and Kyle’s duplicity, he targeted Abbott’s family business, The Jabbot, by making sure that each of their manufacturing plants was closed down, but denied being the person behind it. He threw his wife out of his life and divorced her., and she was later arrested for misappropriation of funds. Ashland allowed Harrison to live with his biological father in Italy, and made sure that Tara had visiting rights.

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Ashland-Victoria Newman connection

“Y&R” produced another couple to root for during that season, because after Ashland divorced his wife, he and Victoria Newman fell in love; it was some sort of “you and me against the world” kind of love. She stood by him when he was diagnosed with stage six small cell sarcoma, and even denounced her own family when things escalated between Ashland and Victor. Since his health was declining, Victoria encouraged him to undergo chemotherapy but he didn’t want to because he was getting weaker. Ashland was concerned about the future of his businesses, so she arranged for their companies to merge and became business partners. Eventually, the couple became engaged and he had his chemotherapy.

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Joseph Jr blackmailed him with his past shady history

When the news of his dismal health status reached Joseph Gaines Jr., he wanted to partake of the money that Ashland was about to leave behind. Ashland was blackmailed, and so revealed his past to Victor Newman. When Joseph arrived in Genoa to collect his money, Victor dealt with him. Ashland and Victoria were married successfully despite the numerous attempts of Billy Abbott, Victoria’s ex-husband, to ruin it. To ensure that Billy would stop bothering them, Ashland joined forces with Victor to bring Billy down. They set out a trap that made Billy write an article about Ashland’s real identity, and made it seem that his company servers were hacked, which led to the article being leaked to the public. Billy was sued by Ashland, and didn’t have any choice but to retract the story, and claim that the article wasn’t true. Ashland’s cunningness was on display once again, as the situation kept his secrets safe, and made any possible attempts in the future to reveal them disputable.

Ashland’s cancer was a complete sham

The battle for shrewdness once again took center stage in “Y&R” as Ashland and Victor played a mouse and cat game. When Ashland recovered successfully from cancer, Victor was quite skeptical about it. He had the clinic in Peru, where Ashland had his treatment, investigated. Ashland initially deflected the investigations but Victor was quite patient and eventually gathered pieces of evidence that exposed Ashland’s fake cancer story. Victoria was completely mad when she realized that he pulled a long con on her family through her. Apparently, this was Ashland’s revenge for what Victor did to him in the past. Victor was trying to convince Ashland to sign off Cyaxares to him, but the latter refused. However, when Ashland was having a heart attack, he was forced to sign because that was the only way that Victor would help him.

Ashland lost any right to see Harrison

Due to Ashland’s cancer fraud, Kyle filed a restraining order against him, so he could no longer be with Harrison. Victor set a trap for Ashland to be caught in the park with Harrison, and the police escorted him to jail. They all knew that he would be out on bail soon, but it was something Victor felt would motivate Ashland to leave Genoa. Kyle told him that he shouldn’t have included the boy in his con.

“Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”

Fans of Victoria were ecstatic that she decimated her husband, which was fitting revenge for what he did to her. Victoria ran her own con by making Ashland believe that she had forgiven him, and that despite all his lies, she was willing to relocate and spend the rest of her life with him. She also convinced him to sell his assets and have them deposited in a joint bank account. He was livid when he discovered that she’d stolen the money from under his nose, and exposed his fake illness; the perennial con artist was duped by the woman he deceived. When everything came crashing down on him, he had a major breakdown.

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Ashland died after meeting Victoria for the last time

Just as Victoria’s family feared, Ashland’s first business after he was released from jail was to confront his wife. He followed her to the house where they traded barbs and insults until it got physical. He threatened her, but Victoria’s brother, Nick, arrived just in time to intervene. Ashland downplayed the situation, but Victoria told Nick otherwise and so Ashland was punched in the face. He fell, banged hard on the fireplace, and blood – when Nick checked him, Ashland had no pulse, which led them to believe that he was dead. Brother and sister stepped out to discuss what to do next, but when they went back inside the house, Ashland was no longer there along with the pool of blood on the floor. They later received a report that he was found dead inside a car in a ravine.

Speculations after his death

So much speculation went around online as “Y&R” fans discussed what happened to Ashland. Some viewers believed that he wasn’t really dead, that he’d only staged his death, and would return with a vengeance. However, in a later episode, when a suspicious Nick confronted his father about Ashland’s death, Victor revealed to Nick that his men were watching them that fateful day, and that he arranged to clean it up. He told his son, ‘They removed the body and put it in his car, drove to the ravine, and staged an accident. Simple.’ Nick wasn’t that convinced that it was that simple, but Victor said that Nick didn’t do anything wrong, but helped his sister who was being threatened. He also warned his son to forget about it, as the police would after they investigated, and found no evidence linking them to it.

With all the incredible, implausible, and unthinkable narratives that happened in “Y&R,” many of its loyal fans still believed that they hadn’t seen the last of Ashland Locke. His storyline could be resurrected anytime, and with craftiness, he could be somewhere in New York plotting his revenge on the Newman family and others in Genoa whom he felt betrayed him.

Robert Newman posted a video on his official YouTube channel thanking the fans for the support and the staff of the show for the great experience. His parting words, ‘Maybe I’ll see you again one day; you never know!’

Martha Clifford

As an Author at Net Worth Post, I guide a dedicated team in the art of revealing the stories behind the world's most influential personalities. Fueled by a relentless curiosity and a knack for uncovering hidden stories, I immerse myself in the intricacies of our subjects' lives, weaving together accurate data and compelling narratives. My involvement spans the entire editorial process, from the seed of research to the final flourish of publication, ensuring that every article not only educates but also captivates and motivates our audience.

At Net Worth Post, we are committed to providing thorough investigations into the net worth and life achievements of innovators across diverse sectors such as technology, culture, and social entrepreneurship. My method merges meticulous research with eloquent storytelling, designed to bridge the gap between our readers and the remarkable individuals who redefine our tomorrow. Through spotlighting their journeys to success, the hurdles they've surmounted, and their contributions to society, we aim to give our readers a deep and inspiring insight into the luminaries who are paving the way for progress and ingenuity in the modern era.

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