July 9, 1975-November 11, 2015
Actor Nathaniel Marston, best known for his work on the television daytime dramas As The World Turns and One Life To Live, died November 11, 2015 in Reno, NV from injuries sustained in a car crash in rural Nevada on October 30, the result of driver fatigue. The initial medical prognosis was positive, with doctors believing that with surgery Nathaniel could survive and regain use of his upper body. But the extent of his injuries was too severe, and he succumbed to organ failure. He was 40.
Born July 9, 1975 in Torrington, CT, Nathaniel had a nomadic childhood with his mother, Elizabeth Jackson, until the pair settled in Kauai, HI when he was five. This is where his mother met Ali Matin Birtodaso, the man Nathaniel considers his father. The family grew to include a younger brother Ikaika, whose birth Nathaniel later recalled as the happiest memory of his life.
When he was ten, Nathaniel moved to San Diego, CA with his mother and brother. During the next several years he lived in Los Angeles, CA and New York, returning to Los Angeles where he graduated from Beverly Hills High School. While working at a Beverly Hills bakery, Nathaniel was “discovered” by a customer who happened to be an agent for William Morris.
After appearing in several commercials, he was cast as Rosario Cappamezza in the feature film Love Is All There Is, co-starring Angelina Jolie, followed by a role in the film The Craft. He was next cast as Jack Tisdale in the television series Matt Waters, which also starred Montel Williams. In 1998, Nathaniel joined the cast of the daytime drama As the World Turns as Eddie Silva, a role that earned him a Soap Opera Digest Award nomination for Outstanding Male Newcomer. He left the show in January 1999. He went on to complete two feature films, Ordinary Sinner and Ciao America, and played a reporter in the cable television movie Monday Night Mayhem.
Working on a daytime drama gave Nathaniel a new perspective on his role as an actor. Daytime performers regularly used their fame to raise money for charities and soap fans delighted in the opportunity to meet their favorite stars. Nathaniel was well known as someone who “never met a stranger”, blessed with the rare ability to talk to almost anyone about almost anything. He relished the chance to connect with his fans and to hear how his work affected them.
In December 2001 Nathaniel took on the role of Al Holden on the ABC daytime drama One Life to Live. In early 2003 the show decided to pair Al up with the character of Marcie Walsh, played by Kathy Brier. Their chemistry was undeniable, and the pair quickly became a fan favorite. But show-runners underestimated the popularity of their new couple. The decision was made to kill off Al in September 2003 and fan outcry was instantaneous and overwhelming, with relentless calls to bring Nathaniel back. He returned to the show as a new character, Dr. Michael McBain, who helped Marcie through her grief at losing Al. He remained with the show another 4 years, leaving in November 2007, doing occasional guest-spots on nighttime television.
Nathaniel’s final role was in the feature film Walk A Mile In My Pradas with Tom Arnold and Dee Wallace. In it he played Tony, a macho homophobe whose world is rocked when a magic Christmas ornament causes him to switch sexual orientation with a gay co-worker. It is a role Nathaniel embraced, not just because of the acting challenge it presented, but also for the film’s underlying message of acceptance, love and co-existence.
At the time of his accident, Nathaniel was taking a hiatus from acting, choosing to reset and refocus himself in the peace and beauty of the Nevada desert. Although baptized Episcopalian as a child, Nathaniel was a practicing Buddhist for 30 years. Buddhism shaped and informed his life and gave him a deeper understanding of people’s connectedness to one another and to the universe. But more recently his spiritual journey brought him full circle, as he and his mother both returned to their Christian roots and the Episcopal Church.
Waiting to escort Nathaniel on his journey home are his grandparents John and Mary Jackson, his aunt Nora Jackson and, if Pope Francis is correct, his beloved Rottweiler Bruno. He is survived by his mother Elizabeth Jackson of Gerlach, NV, father Ali Matin Birtodaso of Kauai, HI, uncle John Jackson of NY, wife Rita Bias, son Avery who resides in Canada, brother Ikaika Birtodaso and sister Lani Gruelle of Hawaii, and stepchildren Julie Bias of NJ and Michel Bias who resides in Brazil. He also has a biological father and several paternal half-siblings in Utah, as well as several nieces, nephews and cousins.
There will be three memorial services to celebrate Nathaniel’s life, the first occurring November 15 at Bruno’s Country Club in Gerlach, NV, 4 pm. The second will be at Salt Pond Beach in Kauai for his Hawaiian family and friends on December 5 at Noon. The third memorial will be at The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, 1047 Amsterdam Ave, New York City on Saturday January 16, 2016 at 3 pm.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to defray Nathaniel’s remaining expenses. If you prefer to remember Nathaniel differently, please donate to your favorite charity, do a random act of kindness or plant a tree. That would make him very happy.
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