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Jun 01,2007
TV Close-Up: Matthew Bomer
by Eirik Knutzen

On Sept. 11, 2001, Matthew Bomer was at an audition on the 53rd floor of a high-rise at 23rd Street and Eighth Avenue in New York when he happened to look out the window and see a large passenger jet slam into one of the World Trade Center's twin towers.

 
MATTHEW BOMER - Matthew Bomer stars as Jay Burchell in ABC's 'Traveler.' CNS Photo courtesy of Bob D'Amico. 
A stunned silence preceded total pandemonium in the room, when everyone in the room sobbed hysterically or were frozen in panic.

"I didn't know what was going on and obviously was very upset - the building I was in could be next," Bomer recalled. "All I could think of was to get to the ground floor as soon as possible and get back to my shoddy little apartment in midtown Manhattan.

"I ran the 30 blocks to my place, trying to avoid all the major landmarks along the way," he continued, drawing a deep breath, "passing scores of people with ashes in their hair and all over their clothes. The first thing I did was grab the cell phone and call my family in Spring, Texas, to tell them I was OK.

"My mother answered the phone and immediately burst into tears. Everything changed that day. ... It was weird. ... Nobody in this country had faced a tragedy of this magnitude before. New York became a ghost town for a while after that - I couldn't afford to go anywhere - but everybody came back after a while to rally the city. It was an incredible experience that made me value life a lot more."

Having lost his day job as a bellman at the Hudson Hotel in the wake of the terrorist attack, Bomer was worried about making the next month's rent when the casting director for the daytime soap opera "Guiding Light" called with an offer to portray Ben Reade - hardly the boy next door.

"I stumbled right into a prolific storyline," he said, laughing, "starting out as a trust-fund baby who bet his fraternity brothers that he could deflower the town virgin.

"Of course, he ended up falling in love with another girl, lost his trust fund and pursued his only business opportunity - becoming a male prostitute," Bomer continued, trying not to crack up. "In the end, Ben went crazy, killed three or four people, kidnapped his estranged girlfriend and dragged her to a remote log cabin where he committed suicide in front of her, her father and her new boyfriend."

With a tidy little bankroll from a year of steady employment, Bomer felt it was time to give Los Angeles a serious whirl. Hollywood greeted him enthusiastically and immediately shipped him off to Vancouver, Canada, as a regular, Luc, in the short-lived television series "Tru Calling." He was back in Southern California just in time to punch it out with Brandon Routh for the title role in the motion picture "Superman Returns." The net result of the three-month battle for Supie was that Routh became a movie star and the suits at Warner Bros. finally recognized Bomer when he took lunch at the studio cafeteria during a series of auditions for a pilot that never made it on The CW.

Mini-titans at the ABC network in L.A. also had fond memories of his work when the part of Jay Burchell came up for the midseason replacement action-thriller series "Traveler."

Before ABC shipped him off to his favorite city, New York, last year to shoot the pilot of "Traveler," followed by another seven episodes in his second-favorite city, Vancouver, Bomer managed to sneak in work in the movie sequel "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning."

"I'm just happy we're finally hitting the air," he sighed. "It's been a long, long time."

"Traveler's" wild ride starts when three grad school buddies - Burchell (Bomer), Tyler Fog (Logan Marshall-Green) and Will Traveler (Aaron Stanford) - kick off a last, unencumbered fling in New York with intentions of making a cross-country drive. Unfortunately, the trip of a lifetime is only about 24 hours old when Jay and Tyler are accused of terrorism for blowing up the (nonexistent) Drexler Museum of Art while their supposed pal, Will, points a long finger at them.

Bomer - still single at the ripe old age of 29 - was about 9 years old when his mother took him to see "E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial," Steven Spielberg's spectacular box-office smash. All fired up and his imagination racing, the boy saw limitless opportunities for the strange little bald creature with a really hot finger.

When he asked his mother, Sissi, to find him an agent, she always replied, "No, go to football practice and we'll talk about it later."

She apparently thought that following in her husband's (All-American and Dallas Cowboys center John Bomer) cleats was a more practical idea.

But after countless high school plays and working weekends at Houston's famed Alley Theater, the slim 6-footer was awarded a full scholarship to Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and eventually graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.

"New York was my first stop after school," he explained, chuckling, "because I thought Los Angeles would be too much of culture shock."

© Copley News Service

18257 times read

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TV Close-Up: Julianna Margulies by Eirik_Knutzen posted on Mar 28,2008

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