Classification Present, regular
Mother Genevieve Atkinson
|First appearance January 12, 2007|
Portrayed by Daniel Goddard
Stepmother Jill Abbott
|Created by Lynn Marie Latham and Scott Hamner|
Introduced by Lynn Marie Latham and Josh Griffith
Other names Ethan Montgomery Phillip Chancellor III Caleb Atkinson Ethan Atkinson
Spouses Amber Moore, Chloe Mitchell, Lily Winters
Creators Scott Hamner, Lynn Marie Latham
Similar Lily Winters, JT Hellstrom, Daniel Romalotti, Traci Abbott, Danny Romalotti
Cane Ashby is a fictional character from the American CBS soap opera The Young and the Restless. He is portrayed by Australian actor Daniel Goddard, who originally auditioned for Brad Snyder on As the World Turns but was recommended for a role on The Young and the Restless instead. The role was to be portrayed as an American, but Goddard's Australian descent influenced the character's background. Former head writer Lynn Marie Latham introduced him during the episode airing on January 12, 2007 as an Australian bartender in search of his family. Latham created Cane as the son of Phillip Chancellor II (Donnelly Rhodes) and Jill Abbott (Jess Walton) but the character's background was rewritten by Maria Arena Bell in 2009, re-establishing him as the son of Colin and Genevieve Atkinson (Tristan Rogers and Genie Francis).
- Casting and creation
- Backstory and maternity
- 2011 departure
Though characterized as "mysterious", Cane is "loyal and dedicated", while Goddard described the character as a "typical Australian, working-class kind of guy". He was the first member of the Atkinson family to appear on the series, followed by his parents and identical twin brother. Soon after his debut, he became a leading character, a decision praised by viewers and critics. The character has been involved with Amber Moore (Adrienne Frantz), Chloe Mitchell (Elizabeth Hendrickson) and most notably Lily Winters (Christel Khalil), a romance that garnered significant fan attention. In 2009, Cane and Lily were married; Global BC would later call Lily the love of Cane's life. The pair had two children, Charlie and Mattie Ashby.
In 2011, Goddard was fired from the role, and Cane was shot to death onscreen. However, the actor was rehired soon after viewers campaigned for his return, revealing that Cane's identical twin brother was in fact the man who died. Cane's marriage to Lily was sacrificed, however, they later remarried on Valentine's Day in 2012. While the character's debut received a mixed response, Goddard has been widely acclaimed for his portrayal; Canyon News said that he portrays the character honestly, and is "always dependable, on fire and exciting".
Casting and creation
Goddard originally auditioned for Brad Snyder on As the World Turns, and though he was not cast in the part, Barbara Bloom, the senior vice-president of CBS Daytime, recommended Goddard to The Young and the Restless's head writer and executive producer, Latham. After testing for the character of Cane for Latham and casting director Karen Rea, Goddard received the role. The Australian actor auditioned with an American accent, but when the writers found out about his Australian background, that influenced Cane's backstory. The actor stated that, "The concept of Cane was that he was given away at birth. So he could have been from Mongolia. It just worked out luckily for me that I was the right person for the job." Since the producers could not understand the actor's real Australian accent, Goddard "Americanized" it while portraying the character.
The writers first detailed Cane as "a smart, loyal, and moral survivalist with an edge". Goddard describes Cane as a "typical Australian, working-class kind of guy who mined opals, raised goats, then went off for travel and adventure to sort of find himself". Global BC penned Cane as "mysterious". SoapNet described Cane as a "pretty stand-up guy", as well as "loyal and dedicated to the people he cares about". The network said his time in Genoa City has "made him a good man". In an interview with On-Air On-Soaps, Goddard said that Cane working at Jabot Cosmetics is "very enthusiastic and cautious about falling into a family business which is an Abbott company", and that he is "very sensitive about that". He also stated that Cane "has no fears in doing business with anybody" because if you can come from a "family of gangsters than business people don’t really measure up". Looking back on Cane's "power jobs", Goddard stated: "I don’t think Cane has the book learning skills side of it, but I think he has the life lessons side of it, based on who he is and where he has come from. The way he does business with people, he kind of understands who they are as people."
Backstory and maternity
William J. Bell had created the character of Phillip Chancellor III in 1976, and he remained a vital part of the soap opera's storylines until his death onscreen in 1989. In 2007, Latham rewrote Chancellor's birth by establishing that Katherine Chancellor (Jeanne Cooper), Jill's enemy and Phillip Chancellor II's wife, switched their child with another hours after his birth; the character was brought back to the series as an adult named Cane Ashby, an Australian looking for his birth mother. During that time, Goddard did not want to know the real motives of his character because he did not want that to influence his performance. After the revelation that Jill was Cane's mother, his views changed, saying he "now welcomed the information as it added more color to his portrayal". The initial lack of information made portraying Cane difficult since there was an amount of ambiguity over whether he was a good, bad, or mediocre character. The ambiguity deepened when Goddard read the script revealing that a DNA test performed for Jill and Cane came back negative. He stated that he had never asked Latham "what was going on" with the storyline, but told her that he could "play anything he needed to". A second DNA test later confirmed Cane as Jill's son. Goddard also said it was "too good to be true" for Cane to be Jill's son, adding that, "But, down the road you realize these people actually do care about you, that you can reciprocate that care. For Cane, he's had so much time without them it's pointless to have the time with them and not enjoying it." Though the maternity question was answered, more ambiguity about Cane's intentions appeared as the character received a phone call from his uncle Langley that hinted about Cane scheming against Jill and Katherine. The original intent of the call was to show that Cane wanted what was owed to him after being given away as an infant. The writers changed directions after the popularity of the character grew. Goddard said he felt the phone call was resolved within the story when Cane sent money to his uncle as part of taking care of him.
In 2008, the storyline about the call Cane received from Langley was readdressed, as re-written by Maria Arena Bell. In her revised version of the storyline, Langley is really Phillip Chancellor III, portrayed by Thom Bierdz. The series kept secrecy around the plot twist by sneaking Bierdz in to tape scenes and asked that he not tell anyone of his return. Goddard liked the plot twist because it added another dimension to Cane, saying that the change would "allow another metamorphosis to begin" and additional "development and evolution of Cane". He also said that Cane had always been a "three-dimensional character" and "a fourth dimension" would soon be seen because the viewers would finally find out where he came from and who he is. Bell later introduced Tristan Rogers as Colin Atkinson and Genie Francis as Genevieve Atkinson, who would portray Cane's biological parents. Goddard stated that Rogers being on the soap opera "created a father/son rapport" for the character, which he thought had "a lot of promise" and was a "wonderful dynamic".
The character's first romance on the soap opera was with Amber Moore (Adrienne Frantz). She later tricked him into believing they were married, and they separated after the truth surfaced. After the relationship ended, the writers planned on pairing Cane with Phyllis Summers (Michelle Stafford), but the popularity of Phyllis' romance with Nicholas Newman (Joshua Morrow) halted the plans for the pairing. Cane was instead written into a romance with Lily Winters (Christel Khalil); Goddard described Lily as becoming Cane's "anti-Amber". He felt the character lost a "certain amount of edge" and a "certain amount of his dynamic" after being paired with Lily but said it was replaced with "a level of compassion, understanding, tolerance, romance and love", since that those characteristics were "all the things that daytime is really about at its core".
Goddard compared the romance between Lily and Cane to Lady Chatterley's Lover since both characters grew and learned from the relationship. Cane developed an attraction to Heather Stevens (portrayed by Vail Bloom) while with Lily; Goddard noted it would "come down to what Cane needs" when choosing between the two women. The storylines written for the lovers included a controversy with the characters' age gap, a miscarriage, and a love rectangle with Chloe Mitchell (Elizabeth Hendrickson) and Billy Abbott (Billy Miller). Within the love rectangle story, Chloe tricks Cane into thinking they conceived a child together. To make the storyline work, the writers scripted Cane as less intelligent, a strategy they used previously during his storyline with Amber. To keep the character from looking bad, Goddard said he made acting choices to justify Cane's actions. Despite the lessening of the character's intelligence, Goddard said he liked the story because of the originality of the plot. Love triangles and questioned paternity happen regularly in soap operas, but he felt that former head writer Maria Arena Bell managed to make those conventions fresh and new. Khalil stated that she "loved" the storyline, also saying she loved the actors involved in it. Khalil said she thought it "was a possibility" for Lily and Cane to have a happy ending, and that Lily "can see the hope, and they can adapt and love each other in a more mature and honest way". Cane married Lily in 2009, and the following year, Global BC called Lily the love of Cane's life. In 2011, Lily divorced Cane after he continued to lie to her about his faked death. However, she eventually discovered Cane was trying to protect her, and they were remarried. Goddard commented that their relationship "had come full circle" and "was being done well". Of Cane and Lily's second wedding, Goddard stated that Cane and Lily have "certainly had a lot of ups and downs", but he thought through all of that their fans "stayed true and they have expressed their desire for what they want to see". Goddard also thought their wedding of "this caliber" would make their fans "very, very happy and that is what this is about".
Goddard was fired from the soap opera in 2011, and Cane was shot to death onscreen on the episode dated February 2. There were rumors that Maria Arena Bell, Latham's successor, killed the character because he was created by Latham, but this was denied. Soap Opera Weekly reported another rumor regarding the firing, saying tension between the actor and his co-stars resulted in Goddard's exit. Cane's onscreen death caused a "massive outcry" from viewers, and fans campaigned for the actor's return by sending emails and making phone calls to CBS and Sony Pictures Television. As part of the campaign, a group of viewers paid for an airplane to fly over CBS Studios with the message: "Y&R Fans Want Daniel Goddard As Cane Ashby". The plane flew over the building for about an hour. Regarding the campaign, Goddard stated: "When they started their campaign to bring Cane back, I wrote on my Facebook page that I never expected this. I have the greatest fans. There are no ifs, ands or buts about it. One of my fans coined Goddard's Family of Fans and that's what it is, GFF." In another interview, he stated he was "humbled" by viewer efforts to have him remain as the character. The actor was then rehired, revealing within the storyline that Cane's death had been faked and his twin brother, Caleb, was the one who died. Goddard had stated that he was very impressed with the soap opera's ability to keep Cane's faked death a secret. For his death scene, Goddard said he did research on how the human body reacts muscularly, how much control the person has, and what their breathing is like. Goddard stated that he did not know which character he was portraying until a certain point through the storyline, and that he "had to play it ambiguously". He also commented that it was difficult as an actor as he did not want it to look like Cane was ever manipulating Lily, however, he said it thought it was a "great storyline the fans could get behind".
In January 2007, Cane debuted as a bartender at "Indigo", Neil Winters' (Kristoff St. John) nightclub, remaining in the United States beyond the expiration of his visa, leaving him fearful of being deported. Thereafter, he became involved with Amber Moore (Adrienne Frantz), who first used him to make Adrian Korbel (Eyal Podell) jealous and later found out Cane was looking for his birth mother. He had been adopted by a woman named Violet Montgomery and raised by her brother, Langley Ashby, after her death in Canberra, Australia. Amber was trying to find Phillip Chancellor III, Jill Abbott's (Jess Walton) lost son, who was really switched at birth with another child by Katherine Chancellor (Jeanne Cooper). Amber realized that Cane might be Jill's son and decided to marry him; they went to Las Vegas, became intoxicated and Amber tricked Cane into thinking they were married. Amber's suspicions of Cane being Jill's son were proven true, and Cane shared a reunion with Jill, as well as prevented his deportation. Cane and Amber then moved into the Chancellor Estate and he began working for Katherine's company. Cane then found their marriage certificate and noticed that his signature was unrecognizable, leading to his discovery that the marriage was invalid. Cane then rejected a devastated Amber. Cane shared a kiss with Lily Winters (Christel Khalil) in September 2007, sparking an attraction to Heather Stevens (Vail Bloom). Cane and Heather decided to be friends and Cane pursued Lily romantically, despite initial hesitations due to their age difference. Lily then became pregnant with Cane's child but soon miscarries. They later move into a house together, and Cane proposes in August 2008; she accepts. Cane then passed out intoxicated in Chloe Mitchell's (Elizabeth Hendrickson) car, Chloe takes advantage of Cane and tricks him into believing they slept together. Chloe was pregnant prior to her scheme but Cane was not excluded as a possible father. Lily moved out of their house upon this discovery and convinced Cane to marry Chloe for the sake of the child, however, Chloe's real identity was Kate Valentine, daughter of Esther Valentine (Kate Linder). Cane had the marriage annulled but still decided to stay with Chloe. Billy Abbott (Billy Miller) then discovered he was the father of Chloe's child, but decided to let Cane raise it. Billy and Lily then began an affair despite Cane still being in love with Lily and Chloe with Billy. Cane later discovers that the child, Delia, was not his and was convinced by Lily not to fight for custody but instead resume their relationship; they were later married.
After the wedding, Cane recalled a phone call he had with his "Uncle Langley" regarding their con with Jill and Katherine. Afterward, Langley was revealed to be the long deceased Phillip Chancellor III in June 2009; Cane was in fact not Jill's son but someone hired by Phillip. Lily and Cane separated upon this revelation, but soon reunited upon her diagnosis with ovarian cancer. Her uterus was taken out during surgery, but the doctors were able to harvest two of her eggs; they decided to start a family with Mackenzie Browning (Clementine Ford) acting as their surrogate mother. Browning became pregnant with twins. Afterward, an immigration officer arrested Cane and planned to deport him, as he was not truly Phillip. Since he was present for the birth of his children, Charlie and Mattie in June 2010 and helped Lily overcome cancer he was not deported. Cane was then blackmailed by the crime family he turned to in Australia, and embezzled money from Tucker McCall's (Stephen Nichols) company with the help of Sofia Dupre (Julia Pace Mitchell). Cane's biological father, Colin Atkinson (Tristan Rogers), then came to Genoa City in December 2010 to help Blake Joseph blackmail Cane. Colin then became engaged to Jill much to Cane's dismay. Cane then tried to stop their wedding but was shot in the chest by Blake on the church steps; he died afterward, leaving Lily devastated. Lily then began believing she was receiving afterlife messages from Cane and sought professional help. After seeing Cane several times, Lily realized he wasn't a figment of her imagination; it was then revealed in May 2011 that the man shot at the church wasn't Cane, but his identical twin brother, Caleb, who was scheming with Colin to kidnap Charlie and Mattie. However, Cane continued to act as Caleb to stop the plot with Colin and later his mother, Genevieve (Genie Francis). When Lily found out about the entire conspiracy, she refused to forgive Cane and divorced him. After Colin tried to kidnap her children, Lily began to forgive Cane and let him protect her. When Cane threatened to return to Australia, Lily let him back into her life. Later, they reunited when she realized the cause of all the secrets: to take down Colin. Cane proposed to her again and they married in Provence, France in February 2012. Genevieve stays in town, and Cane constantly rejects her for everything she has done. Cane and Lily then go to work at Jabot Cosmetics, where Cane is interim CEO. Tyler Michaelson (Redaric Williams) becomes smitten with Lily and the two develop an attraction, making Cane jealous. Lily and Tyler share a kiss, but she turns him down and returns to Cane.
Cane then helps Katherine discover she has a brain tumor that needs to be removed. While she is on sick leave, she names Cane interim CEO of her company, Chancellor Industries. He later hires an assistant, Hilary Curtis (Mishael Morgan), whom Jill and then Lily become suspicious of. Meanwhile, an unknown blogger is targeting the Winters family online, with photos of Hilary kissing Cane as well as the two of them in a hotel room. After a private investigation, the Winters figure out Hilary is the blogger (as she blames Neil for her mother's death years prior) just as Hilary attempts to drug Cane. She is fired from Chancellor Industries and shunned by the family. Soon after, everyone gets word that Katherine has died from terminal cancer while on trip around the world. She leaves Cane as CEO, but leaves her percentage to Victor Newman (Eric Braeden). After recovering their marriage, Cane and Lily agree to become the new managers of the Genoa City Athletic Club after her brother Devon Hamilton (Bryton James) buys it.
Cane's debut in 2007 received a mixed response. Soap Opera Digest praised the storyline as "a riveting tale". Nelson Branco of TV Guide Canada found the story unrealistic, but praised the addition of Goddard and Cane to the series, saying: "A few eyebrows were raised when The Young and the Restless decided to rewrite history by bringing in Daniel Goddard to play Jill's 'real' son, Phillip Chancellor. But as romantic rogue Cane Ashby, the talented newcomer seduced us into suspending our disbelief — for now!" Soon after the character's introduction, Cane and Goddard became popular among viewers and gained praise from critics. BuddyTV described Goddard as "spicing up The Young and the Restless" as Cane with "his character's storylines surrounding his true identity and his whirlwind relationship with Amber". Cane's romance with Lily later gained "a very vocal, and loyal fan base".
Janet Di Lauro of Soap Opera Weekly commended Maria Arena Bell's change to Cane's backstory, saying: "This story also breathes new life into Cane, who was becoming increasingly dull as a whitewashed, pompous do-gooder. Suddenly, he has his edge back." Soap Opera Digest gave the storyline a thumbs up and a thumbs down because, though it was an exciting twist, it happened too closely to the other Chancellor family rewrite undoing the mother and daughter relationship between Jill and Katherine. The magazine later named the storyline the "Most Preposterous Plot Twist" of 2009 because the rewrite "was way out of sync with Y&R's usual authentic approach to storytelling". In 2011, Tommy Garrett of Canyon News said that Goddard is "forever second guessing his character when asked about Cane by the media", also stating that, "To keep an edgy Cane, never to make him boring and lifeless. That’s why Cane is forever keeping secrets from his wife Lily and step mom Jill." Garrett added that he was "interested to see what Maria Bell's plan is" to keep the character edgy, and that Goddard's performance is "always dependable, on fire and exciting". In 2013, another writer from Canyon News, LaDale Anderson, commented that it was difficult for Lily to resist attraction to Tyler Michaelson (Redaric Williams), saying that "trouble in paradise is brewing".