People Magazine

Bionic Twist
Move over Lee majors: Now and Again’s Eric Close makes a superhuman leap into prime-time stardom

As a boy, Eric Close longed to be the Bionic Man. Growing up in San Diego with younger brothers Randy, now 29, and Chris, 27, "we'd beat up on each other, thinking we could run fast and leap high," says Close. "I always won until they got bigger than me; then it was all over!"

In fact, it was just beginning. Close, 32, is now channeling Lee Majors on the CBS action drama Now and Again. He plays Michael Wiseman, a deceased insurance executive rebuilt as a government-created superman. The actor, who does many of his own stunts, including scaling skyscrapers and leaping onto speeding cars, remains undaunted on the set. "The scariest thing I've had to do is step down from my trailer," he jokes. "It's a huge drop!"

"It's been a whirlwind, " says Close (in New York City). "Whether I'm in the woods or on the parkway, I'm recognized."

And a giant leap for the Staten Island, N.Y-born Close, whose parents -- Frederick, 60, an orthopedic surgeon, and Eva, 56, a saleswoman -- relocated to California in 1975. A 1989 graduate of USC, he had bit parts on MacGyver and Sisters before landing Now and Again.

Close's most satisfying role, however, is dad to Katie, his 13-month-old daughter with Keri, 30, his wife of four years. "He likes to bring her in the kitchen and say, 'This is how you scramble an egg,"' says Keri, a former social worker. Close, who shares a Manhattan apartment with his family, even catches himself warbling Teletubby and Gymboree tunes. "I'm getting pretty good," he says. It's the only boast the newly minted star permits. "I have people who'd kick my butt if I got too high on myself," he says. "My wife and brothers would shake me down."

"Eric is a prince," says his Now and Again costar Dennis Haysbert. "Working with him is effortless"

December 13, 1999