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North High grad lands 'Wicked' TV role

December 26, 2006|by ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN - Almost a decade ago, Tim McElwee played baseball, football and basketball for North Hagerstown High School. Now he's an actor living in West Hollywood who works out at Vin Diesel's gym and envisions accepting an Academy Award or Emmy someday.

McElwee was a student at Towson University when he was "discovered."

"I ran into someone, we took pictures, that got the ball rolling," said the 28-year-old Hagerstown native.

Soon after, McElwee dropped out of Towson and moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career as a model and actor.

Now McElwee appears on the small screen six nights a week as a "moany, moody guy" on MyNetworkTV's telenovela-inspired drama "Wicked, Wicked Games."

He trained with Leonardo DiCaprio's acting coach and appeared in his first feature film last year.

But it took him seven years to feel comfortable as an actor, he said.

"The trick about acting is not to act, truly," he said. "Just try to be as honest and natural as you can be."

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He returned to school, attending Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

"My personal philosophy is: Go to school, get a degree you can get a job with afterward." It's a contingency plan if acting doesn't work out, he said.

He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Natural Science with an emphasis in Orthopedic Medicine from Loyola Marymount.

For a while, McElwee couldn't break into acting because of a Screen Actors Guild strike. Few jobs were available and it was almost impossible for an unknown to get auditions, he said.

So McElwee moved to Texas and worked as a news producer, reporter and anchor for ABC News.

The news gig springboarded him into acting jobs on television. McElwee used footage of himself anchoring the news to land agents.

McElwee's filmed his first feature film, "Dante's Cove," last year in the Caribbean. Dante's Cove was released in August.

McElwee found out he got a part on "Wicked, Wicked Games" this summer. Rehearsals started in August, and taping for the entire 13-week wrapped up just before the holidays, he said.

McElwee auditioned for a different role on a different show, but is happy playing Edward.

"I got lucky. I basically have the best role in the show," he said.

Edward is a good guy turned bad, McElwee said. "It's great to play the bad guy, you don't have that many rules to follow," he said.

Actors never know when they will have a job, said McElwee. When he has time between acting jobs, McElwee models. He has appeared in Men's Fitness, Men's Health and Elle magazines.

Before flying to Williamsport to spend the holidays with family, McElwee also auditioned for a spot as a guest star on "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation."

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