People Magazine

Breakthoughs 99:
Eric Close: Actor, Now and Again

Driving home to Manhattan after a recent weekend of hiking in Massachusetts, "I was going through a toll booth, and the lady inside was like, 'Aren't you a TV star?'" marvels Eric Close, 32. To anyone who has seen him as scientifically engineered government agent Michael Wiseman on CBS's new hit Now and Again, the answer, of course, is yes. But with three short-lived series (McKenna, Dark Skies, and the Magnificent Seven) under his belt, the San Diego bred Close is still having some trouble getting used to the idea. "The other day at lunch I was picking up people's plates off the tables on the set," he says. "And everyone's like, 'You're the lead of the show! What are you doing?'" Still, besides being "a total sweetheart," as his TV daughter Heather Matarazzo puts it, Close also conveys a "manliness, with a youthful, rascally quality," says series creator Glenn Gordon Carson. The actor performs many of his own stunts, such as swinging on a cable from the New York Stock Exchange building or riding on the roof of a moving car. Close, married for four years to Keri, a clinical social worker turned homemaker, credits daughter Katie, 1, for his sudden rise. "When you have a kid, your acting gets better," he says. "You know something at home is more important and so you relax a little bit. Plus you get more goofy! I find myself on the subway or on my way to the set, and I'm singing Barney songs."

December 1999