Jasen Wade: Mormon Actor
Jasen Wade is an actor, having appeared most recently in T. C. Christensen’s 17 Miracles and The Cokeville Miracle, and Saints and Soldiers: Airborne Creed.
Wade was born in Spain while his father was stationed there in the US Air Force. The family moved to South Ogden where his father opened a dental practice. After high school he served as a full-time missionary in Moscow, Russia, for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, of which he is a member.
After his mission, he studied at three different universities with three different majors before he finally settled on Southern Utah University. A week after his arrival, he received a phone call about a part in a play. His sister had suggested him for a part in Bumbleberry Inn/Grandma’s Playhouse production of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. He recalls:
- I get this random phone call from the director. He and I fight back and forth on the phone. I tell him he’s got the wrong guy. “I’m not an actor, why did you call me? Finally, he said if I changed my mind, he was in Zion. I said, “Wait, wait. If I do your play, I get to live in Zion? OK, great, I’ll see you tomorrow.”
When he walked onto the stage, he felt immediately that this was where he needed to be. So he performed 83 shows that summer and waited tables at the Inn's restaurant. At SUU, he changed his major to theater and broadcasting. Close to his graduation in 2001, he attended a three-day workshop at SUU with Kieth Merrill. Wade recalls a one-on-one conversation with Merrill:
- We had a heart-to-heart. He asked what my fears were, I told him, and in one conversation, he dispelled them all. Basically he said we need people like you, people of faith and substance. The market is getting saturated with people that are willing to sell their souls for a little bit of celebrity.
Merrill encouraged Wade to go to Hollywood and that if he maintained his standards, he would have a successful career. Wade spent seven years there and appeared in a few commercials, short films (such as the critically acclaimed The Farm), and feature films, but never had a big breakthrough. He left Hollywood for Pennsylvania, where he hoped to make a substantial amount of money designing and selling athletic uniforms to high school and college coaches. With the onset of a recession, he found himself living in his car for nine months instead. He left owing the company thousands of dollars, with the plan to pay back the debt as he picked his life back up working as a wild land firefighter for the Bureau of Land Management, a job he had enjoyed for several summers.
Within four months of his return to Utah, he was cast in Treasure in Heaven: The John Tanner Story. Utah brought him what Hollywood had not.
He and his wife, Holly, are the parents of three children and live in St. George, Utah.