The Florida native dropped out of college and moved to NYC to pursue acting. After studies at the Neighborhood Playhouse, the young actor got his first break playing the nefarious Curtis Alden on the ABC soap opera "Loving" in its initial two seasons (1983-85). Ashby was fired from the soap for what he claims was his penchant for arguing with the producers and writers about his character. (He later amended his remarks and conceded that he may have brought it on himself by his bad attitude.)
Relocating to the West Coast, Ashby made his first foray into Hollywood as a victim of "Werewolf" (Fox, 1987) in the series pilot. Later that same year, he played the adult Lance Reventlow, doomed son of Barbara Hutton (Farrah Fawcett), in the NBC miniseries "Poor Little Rich Girl". But it took several years before he began to land leading roles in telefilms. Ashby was a man about to marry a murderer in "The Perfect Bride" (USA Network, 1991) and played Stacy Keach's son, who was involved in a computer chip war, in "New Year" (ABC, 1993). He found the occasional film role, like his supporting turn in "8 Seconds" (1994) and his lead in the surprise hit "Mortal Kombat" (1995), but television has provided more opportunities. Although he portrayed the abusive first husband of Daphne Zuniga's Jo Reynolds on Fox's primetime soap "Melrose Place" in 1992, Ashby did not land a regular role on a primetime series until 1997's short-lived "Spy Game" (ABC). Ironically, he finally found a degree of TV stardom in 1997 when he joined the cast of "Melrose Place" in the regular role of the scheming Dr. Brett Cooper.