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Archive for the ‘Actor Spotlight’ Category

The time is far past overdue for another actor spotlight; but let’s focus, this time, on actor and singer Neil Patrick Harris.

Neil, or NPH as he is known by his fans, grew up in New Mexico and was active in school plays and musicals during his school years. In 1988 playwright Mark Medoff discovered Neil at a drama camp in Las Cruces, New Mexico. He cast Neil in the film Clara’s Heart, which earned the child actor a Golden Globe nomination. That same year he starred in the children’s fantasy Purple People Eater and the TV movie Too Good to be True.

Neil - Doogie Howser Years

One year later, Neil appeared in the TV movies Cold Sassy Tree and Home Fires Burning before landing the role that would make him famous (and earn him another Golden Globe nomination): Doogie Howser, M.D. That TV series ran for four seasons, ending in 1993. During his years as Doogie, he appeared in the 1991 TV movie Stranger in the Family as well as episodes of Blossom, The Simpsons and Roseanne. In 1993 he guest starred in Murder, She Wrote and Quantum Leap and the TV movie A Family Torn Apart.

Over the course of the next few years, Neil starred in a number of TV movies, including the true story film Snowbound: The Jim and Jennifer Stolpa Story, The Man in the Attic, Not Our Son, My Antonia and Legacy of Sin: The William Coit Story. He also appeared in the little seen film Animal Room, which was his first film role as an adult.

Throughout 1996 into early 2000, he appeared in both TV and film roles, including guest appearances in The Outer Limits and Homicide: Life on the Street as well as the now cult classic 1997 box office film Starship Troopers. He also appeared in the box office film The Proposition and the TV movies The Christmas Wish and Joan of Arc and the short-lived comedy Stark Raving Mad.

For the next five years, Neil appeared in TV shows such as Will & Grace, Son of the Beach, Ed, Touched by an Angel, Boomtown, Law& Order: Criminal Intent, Numb3rs and Jack & Bobby. During this time, he also appeared in the TV movies The Wedding Dress and The Christmas Blessing as well as the box office films The Next Best Thing, Undercover Brother and Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle.

Neil - How I Met Your Mother

It was in 2005 where Neil’s next big TV series – How I Met Your Mother – came along. The series is now in its 7th season, which has obviously kept him busy; but he found time to appear in the 2008 box office film Harold & Kumar: Escape from Guantanamo Bay and provided his voice for the films Beyond All Boundaries, Justice League: The New Frontier, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore. In 2010, he made a special guest appearance on the TV musicomedy Glee, singing the Aerosmith classic “Dream On” alongside series star Matthew Morrison; and last year he appeared in the box office films A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas, The Smurfs and Beastly as well as provided his voice in the animated film Rio.

TV and film are not Neil’s only fortes as he has appeared on stage, both on and off Broadway, since 1997. He got his start on the stage in the national tour of Rent in Los Angeles and San Diego followed by the lead role in Romeo and Juliet in 1998 in San Diego. In 2001, he appeared in Sweeney Todd and followed that with appearing in Proof the next year on Broadway alongside Anne Heche. In 2003, he appeared in Cabaret with Deborah Gibson and the late Tom Bosley. The next year he was on Broadway in the musical revival of Assassins and also performed in the tour company of the musical Rent. Four years later, he revisited Rent by directing a production of the musical at the Hollywood Bowl. And, last year he was the lead in Stephen Sondheim’s Company with the New York Philharmonic.

Neil appeared in the lead role in the web series sensation from Joss Whedon, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog and then hosted the 63rd Annual Tony Awards in June and that September he was the host of the 61st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards. The following year he delivered the opening musical number for the 82nd Annual Academy Awards. That same year, Neil was honored by Time Magazine by being named to their list of the 100 most influential people of the year.

Neil - Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog

Neil has been nominated for countless awards including the Golden Globes, Teen Choice Awards, Young Artist Awards, Emmy Awards, Streamy Awards, Spike Video Game Awards, Golden Icon Awards and People’s Choice Awards. Among his wins over the course of his career have been as Best Young Actor in a TV series (for his work on Doogie Howser, M.D.), A-List Male Actor, Best Male Actor in a Comedy Web Series for his role in Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, an Emmy for his guest star role on Glee and a People’s Choice Award for Favorite TV Comedy actor (for his role on How I Met Your Mother).

Neil and his partner David Burtka became the parents of fraternal twins Gideon Scott and Harper Grace in October of 2010 via a surrogate.

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I am starting a new series of articles, which I hope to have posted once a month, spotlighting actors who do more than just act in TV and/or movies. The first spotlight will be on actor/singer Christian Kane.

Christian Kane may be a well-known actor now thanks to his role as Eliot Spencer in the popular TNT series Leverage, but it is his singing ambitions that are garnering him even more attention.

But let’s take a look at where Christian got started. He was born in Dallas, Texas in June of 1974. Due to his family being in the oil business, they moved often, but eventually the family settled in the small town of Norman, Oklahoma.

Christian Kane - Early In His Career

Christian was always interested in films and music and while in college the dream of a career in the entertainment industry grew and he headed off to Los Angeles. He landed a job as an assistant at an entertainment company, where he told them he would deliver scripts if they would submit him for projects too. In 1997, he was cast in his first big role in the short-lived TV series FAME L.A., based on the hit movie and the popular 1980’s TV series. Originally he was cast as a comedian, but after he sang for the producers, his part was rewritten as a singer.

It was around this time that Christian met Steve Carlson, who became his songwriting partner. They founded the band KANE and were soon playing at clubs like The Viper Room and The Mint, becoming well known in Los Angeles for their high-energy performance on stage and original songwriting.

Christian continued to get work, appearing in the short-lived WB series Rescue 77 and landing a small role in the box office movie Edtv. But it was his role in the popular WB series Angel, playing lawyer Lindsey McDonald, that put him on the map. He was a recurring character in three of the show’s five seasons.

Christian Kane - Angel

He appeared in two films in 2000; the first being The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy, the first feature film by now executive producer extraordinaire Greg Berlanti, starring Timothy Olyphant and Dean Cain and the second was Love Song, starring R&B artist Monica.

Over the course of the next four years, he made appearances in the TV shows Dawson’s Creek and Las Vegas, had roles in the box office movies Summer Catch, Life or Something Like It, Just Married, Secondhand Lions, Taxi and Friday Night Lights and he appeared in the made-for-TV movies Crossfire Trail and The Crooked E: The Unshredded Truth About Enron.

More work came his way during 2005 and 2006, including the TV mini-series Into the West, the motion pictures Her Minor Thing and Keep Your Distance and he did voice work on the video game 24: The Game.

He then had a lead role in the CBS TV series Close to Home for a short time before appearing in the independent film Four Sheets to the Wind. He appeared in the Carrie Underwood music video “So Small” in 2007 and then landed his lead role in Leverage.

Christian Kane

All the while, Christian continued to perform with Carlson as KANE, receiving airplay from LA country radio and eventually being voted the winner of the Country Thunder Young Guns Contest and playing numerous sold out shows in LA. The two made regular trips to Nashville to hone their writing skills, collaborating with some of the best songwriters in the world. This led to Christian being signed to a publishing deal with EMI Music Publishing and later a record deal with Columbia Records. While he recorded a full album with Columbia, he parted ways with the record label, ending up with Bigger Picture Group, releasing his first self-titled EP this past March.

Besides his work on Leverage, which will be returning for a few episodes this December on TNT, Christian appeared in the psychological thriller Hide and he is set to play a lead role in the horror thriller Death Walks the Street, for which he will also serve as co-executive producer.

UPDATED:  Christian’s first music video for his hit song “The House Rules” was released this month on CMT.  You can see that video here.

You can learn more about Christian and his music here. You can also purchase his EP at iTunes.

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