Rob Lowe

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Art Streiber
Rob Lowe stars in the original TNT movie "A Perfect Day."
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Listen to excerpts from Patricia Sheridan's interview with Rob Lowe.

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Some would say it was the film "St. Elmo's Fire" that lit up actor Rob Lowe's star. He came back from a sex scandal and was able to poke fun at himself on "Saturday Night Live." His eerily accurate imitation of actor Robert Wagner in "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me" won him praise, as did his portrayal of Sam Seaborn on NBC's "The West Wing."

Tonight at 8 on TNT he stars in a Johnson & Johnson Spotlight presentation of "A Perfect Day." He plays a writer who is seduced by sudden fame and fortune and forgets about family and friends. Lowe, 42, has been married 15 years. He and his wife have two boys and live in California.


Q: At what point in your career did the fame go to your head? And what was that like?

A: It's still going to my head [laughs]. And it's still fun. I remember vividly my first brush with fame. I was 15 years old. I was starring in a sitcom about a family on ABC. The week after we were finally on the air, we came back to the studio and when I walked out, the place went bananas. People were screaming and clapping. You know, you go from being able to walk down the street [not recognized] to teenage girls wanting to, you know, like throw you around a little bit. So it was bizarre. But fun.

Q: How did you deal with it? Did you believe your own publicity?

A: I think what it is more than anything else is confusing. Let's face it, you like it. Everybody likes to be acknowledged. Everybody likes to be appreciated. Everybody likes people to like them. But you also know that it's not really about you. They don't know you. So it feels kind of fake at the same time and inauthentic. I think it takes some people a lifetime to figure out how to wear that well. Some people never do. Some people are destroyed by it.

Q: Were you teased because of your exceptional good looks?

A: I was teased, well, thank you for the compliment. I was teased. You know I grew up in Dayton [Ohio] right around the block from you guys. I came from, you know, Franco Harris, the Iron Curtain and that era. No boy at 12 wanted to be an actor. It was comparable to being a ballerina, you know what I'm saying? I was mercilessly teased for that.

Q: How important are your looks to you? Do you think about it?

A: No, you just are who you are. You know what I mean? It's a non-issue for me really.

Q: Was there competition between you and [your brother] Chad?

A: Yeah, well, listen, all brothers -- I have two sons myself now, and they are two years apart. Chad and I are four. So it's great to look at my kids growing up, and it helps me sort of reference my own life growing up with a brother. There is always a competition among siblings, brothers. It's natural, and I think it's the way God intended it. We're each other's best friend and best support system because of it.

Q: Is it true you are deaf in one ear? How did that happen?

A: Yes. Nobody really knows. They seem to think it was the mumps undiagnosed, you know, when I was 8 or 9 months old. I don't know any differently. It's funny as I get older, it's harder and harder to be in, like, really loud restaurants drive me ballistic. That's really tough for me. Other than that, it's something I don't really think about. Other than I wish I could have heard stereo. That would have been fun.

Q: I understand that politically you were a Democrat but now vote for the candidate, not the party. How did you get there?

A: I'm a registered Independent now. I'll tell you what, there were two things. I grew up, had a family and had children, which will, I think, change who you are on all levels, not just politically. The other part was, I just don't like partisan politics of any stripe anymore. I think both parties have been co-opted by the fringe of each party. I'm a centrist. Look at what happened to Joe Lieberman. Joe Lieberman gave his life to the Democratic Party. He lost the primary, and if he had listened to his leaders the people of the state would not have been able to elect him. So I think that there is a big place in American politics now for independent thinkers.

Now I have a quick question for you, because you're from Pittsburgh and you'll like this. The very last shot of "A Perfect Day," I'm in this amazing hotel in New Orleans. I have a friend whose husband plays for the San Diego Chargers. She wants to come up with some friends to see me shoot. She comes up to the room and the third guy through the door, I know immediately. He doesn't even have to introduce himself. He has not changed since I was kid. It was Franco Harris! So I got to meet Franco Harris. I just was in heaven meeting one of my heroes. I know he lives there, and I just want to give him a shout out.

Q: I would think being from Ohio you might be more of a Bengals ...

A: We had that talk, he [Franco Harris] and I. See, it was weird, the Bengals were so bad that a lot of people were Browns fans, but a lot of my buddies were Steelers fans. So I always have been and am a gigantic Steeler fan.

Q: You are part of the Steeler Nation.

A: Absolutely. Consider me in!


Patricia Sheridan can be reached at psheridan@post-gazette.com or 412-263-2613.


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