Saturday, September 16, 2000
Question: As host of Music Works on CBC (Tuesday at 5:30 p.m)., you follow in the footsteps of former host Alanis Morrissette. Are you a frustrated musician/singer yourself?
A: Yes, it is true. I have held a dark secret all these years and it has to come out. I never wanted to be an actor. In my youth I yearned to be a rock star. My parents at the early age of 10 bought me an organ. And I played that organ for 2 hours a day. I wanted to one day follow in the footsteps of other organ rock stars but in Canada there weren’t any young role models for me to look up to.
Q: Spies tell us you are seriously hooked up with your high school sweetheart and that you’re a romantic guy. Tell us the most romantic thing you’ve ever done.
A: Carmela and I have been together for three and a half years now and I couldn’t be happier. When I was going to propose I went to her parents’ house a couple of weeks before and asked for their blessing. Her dad replied, “If she’ll have you, we’re happy” and her mom looked at the engagement ring and said ,” Oh yeah, she’ll have him.” I love my in-laws.
Q: You pretty much grew up in front of millions of Canadians while on Degrassi Street. So far we haven’t heard stories about you robbing banks or heading to rehab. How did you manage to stay so sweet and unaffected?
A: My parents. My father made me plow snow, just so I could remember what the value of a dollar was. I was a young guy making a lot of money and my dad thought I had to keep grounded. So, he had me getting up at 1 a.m. on snowy days and work 12-24 hour shifts for 10 dollars an hour. Everytime I went to a store and tried to buy something I didn’t see dollar signs anymore. I saw “Wow, that shirt cost seven hours of work!” I didn’t buy the shirt.
Q: What’s wrong with CBC? (One sentence, please.)
A: CBC IS A WONDERFUL ORGANIZATION the walls have ears.
Q: In 1988, you picked up a Gemini Award for your work on Degrassi. Where is that precious piece of hardware now?
A: My mother has it wrapped in plastic food wrap on top of her television set. Every time I see it I laugh. “Mom, why have you got it in plastic food wrap?” She said she got tired of cleaning the dust and fingerprints off it.
Q: You landed a small role in Godzilla in 1998. What zany anecdote can you tell us about the making of that turkey?
A: I was young and needed the money. Hollywood is a hard place to make it. I got rejected by a movie theater when I applied as an usher. Boy, that was rough. My second lifelong dream of getting to see free movies and eat all the popcorn I wanted and I was “overqualified.” D’oh!
Q: Young people who watched Degrassi still look to you as a role model. What’s the best advice that you can give them?
A: Don’t look up to me. There are other fine Canadian actors who would be a much better role model. Al Waxman still is, and will always be the “King” to me. God bless you, Al.