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With dozens of movie and TV roles to his credit-including Dr. Evil's son in both Austin Powers movies, a werewolf/musician on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and parts in such box-office hits as Can't Hardly Wait, Idle Hands, and Enemy of the State-red-haired, wisecracking Seth Green is one of young Hollywood's most recognizable faces. He's also one of the hottest talents around, bound for a long and awesome acting career. So what's the skinny on Seth? Does he love what he does? How does he spend his free time and who ...
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With dozens of movie and TV roles to his credit-including Dr. Evil's son in both Austin Powers movies, a werewolf/musician on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and parts in such box-office hits as Can't Hardly Wait, Idle Hands, and Enemy of the State-red-haired, wisecracking Seth Green is one of young Hollywood's most recognizable faces. He's also one of the hottest talents around, bound for a long and awesome acting career. So what's the skinny on Seth? Does he love what he does? How does he spend his free time and who does he hang with? Is there a special girl in his life? What kind of girls does he like? Authors Lean and Elina Furman give you all the awesome answers and fun facts about this major up-and-comer!
WEREWOLF IN TRAINING
Although most fans have come to know and love Seth Green in the past four years, the adorable redhead has been making waves in the entertainment industry since the wee age of six. The lessons he learned as a young boy have gone a long way toward making Seth the charismatic and down-to-earth guy that he is today.
Not many actors have the solid foundation that keeps Seth grounded. Having seen and done it all from the time he could walk, Seth Green was fortunate to have come out on top. Unlike the many child stars who have gone on to become fodder for VH-I's Where Are They Now? programs, Seth Green never had any intention of becoming an afterthought. By working hard, staying focused, and constantly striving to improve his craft, Seth Green has shown the world that there is life after early stardom.
KICKING AND SCREAMING
Contrary to popular belief and the rumors proliferating on the Internet, Seth Green's birth was not televised for a national childbirth campaign. Of course, when you consider that Seth has always taken the road less traveled, the idea seems somewhat plausible. According to the man himself, however, his birth was nothing if not ordinary. "My mom says she doesn't know anything about that," Seth defended himself to Jump magazine.
Born on February 8, 1974, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Seth was a veritable bundle of joy to his parents, Herbert and Barbara Green. But the carrot-topped urchin was not the first child to grace the household. His sister, Kaela, had been born just two years prior to Seth's happy homecoming, and the addition of a son made the family feel complete. Seth was everything his doting parents had ever hoped for. He was a fun, playful, and active child. Always ready to smile and gurgle for his indulgent family, little Seth was the picture of a healthy and happy baby boy.
Growing up in Philadelphia's Overbrook Park finished the picture of an idyllic lifestyle. While the family was by no means rich, they were well to do and could afford to house their ever-expanding clan in one of the quaint rowhouses that endowed their upscale neighborhood with so much Old World charm.
His father, Herbert Green, was everything a real, upstanding family man should be. As a math teacher at a public high school, Herb was well-suited to thetask of raising children. He was kind, diplomatic, and, most importantly, patient with Seth and Kaela. Teaching math also afforded Herb the opportunity to spend plenty of time with his family, and, with summers off, the Green family would often take relaxing vacations together.
While Herb was as meticulous and loving a father as one is likely to find, it may seem a little odd that a wildly creative and imaginative person like Seth Green would be the progeny of a math teacher. How could someone so entrenched in order and numbers have produced an off-the-wall character like Seth? His mother, Barbara, deserves most of the credit for the young actor's artistic streak, being that she was a famous and talented artist in her own right.
Born in Philadelphia, Barbara studied art education at the Philadelphia University of the Arts. Upon graduating from the prestigious institution, Barbara took off for Europe, where she traveled and studied art for over two years. It was not much later that she met and fell in love with Herb.
The couple was instantly smitten with one another. Although their chosen professions were as different as night and day, they had many things in common. Indeed, the two were so like-minded that they decided to marry and relocate to the picturesque suburb of Overbrook Park.
While the birth of Kaela provided the Greens with their share of sleepless nights, Seth's birth threw the whole house into a mad tizzy. The Greens had always dreamt of having a girl and a boy, and couldn't believethat they were blessed with both. Their idea of the perfect family had finally come to life.
ON THE PROWL
Herb and Barbara became aware of their son's insatiable curiosity early on. He was always asking his parents questions about the way the world worked. Nothing was exempt from his line of inquiry. The Greens were proud to have a son that was so interested in learning and foresaw a great future for him. But while they believed that Seth could do anything he set his sharp mind to, from becoming a doctor or a lawyer to making a name for himself as an artist, they never expected that he would one day become of Hollywood's most sought-after actors.
Seth still recalls his days as a young boy growing up in Overbrook Park with fondness. Like any boy his age, he enjoyed playing soccer and scouring the local toy stores for the latest in Star Wars action figures and trading cards. Some of his most cherished memories include what he now affectionately refers to as "The Hunt." A seasoned collector, Seth and his friends spent most of their days scouring the local toy shop. In fact, there wasn't anything they wouldn't do, including begging and pleading, to induce their parents to take them out to the stores on the weekends.
"My friend and I have spent countless hours on 'The Hunt,' doing things I never could have guessed we'd do at our age," he described his bygone days as a toy collector to Toyfare magazine. "Like running full speed down the aisle of a toy store, hurdling overslow-moving children, or arguing with a shelf stocker, 'I know you've got a Slave Leia in the back!' Many a holiday morning I found myself in front of stores amidst a throng of dedicated parents, rival store owners, and other admitted or closet geeks, anxiously checking our watches and tightening the laces on our running shoes."
But the race for the best toys didn't end there. Holidays were one of Seth's favorite times. While good cheer and the gathering of family members warmed many a young person's heart, Seth was in it strictly for the loot. The dream of opening up his carefully wrapped presents and finding that one special toy, the one that would make him the envy of every kid on the block, consumed him day in and day out. Nowadays, Seth can look back and evaluate his behavior with some measure of objectivity. "Staggeringly materialistic," he described himself to YM magazine. "But I was a kid—what do you want from me?"
But lest you think that the trouble with Seth began and ended at boyhood greediness, think again. Much of Seth's childhood was devoted to coming up with new ways to get into trouble. And while battling the forces of evil on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, it wasn't too clear which side he was fighting for as a young boy.
Blessed with one of the most precocious minds since the creation of Boris and Natasha, Seth would spend most of his time trying to come up with new ways of wreaking havoc upon an unsuspecting world. No one was safe when the wheels of this young boy's mind began to turn. But for all grief he caused hisplaymates and elders, Seth cannot conceal the sense of inner pride that his troublemaking never failed to inspire.
"Well, I've done things I'm not proud of—nothing cruel or violent or anything—I just pulled off some brilliant scams," he admitted to Jump magazine. "I'll have to plead the Fifth Amendment and not say anything else or I might incriminate myself."
A mischievous young man through and through, Seth learned to get away with minor crimes and grave misdemeanors almost as soon as he learned to walk. Still, there were times when his capers had a way of backfiring on him. Much to their parents' chagrin, Kaela and Seth would routinely chase each other around the house. Playing tag was just a matter of course around the Green home, that is until the day that Seth got a little more than he bargained for.
"I have two scars on my head in the same place," he relayed to the Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Watcher's Guide. "I was five years old and my sister and I were running around our living room. I just dove headfirst into the corner of our coffee table and split my head right open. And then, this is the best part, about two years later I was playing super-jock football with my dad and I go to run out of my room, and I hit my head on the protruding corner of the wall, right in the same place. Split my head right open again."
It's fair to say that Barbara and Herb had their hands full with their rambunctious and playful son. But no matter how much mischief Seth would get into, the Greens would always forgive their son forhis infractions. After all, he, along with his sister Kaela, were their only children, and they loved them dearly.
Seth returned the affection wholeheartedly. His parents and sister were the most important people in his life, and he always made sure that he didn't do anything to hurt their feelings. There wasn't anything Seth wouldn't do for his family. "I've always looked up to my mom," he would later profess online during an Entertainment Asylum chat. "My mom is really cool and super independent. My parents are my role models."
AND SO IT BEGINS
Closeness was all well and good, but when it came time to figuring out what to do in order to keep Seth occupied and out of harm's way, the Greens opted to send him to summer camp. There, Seth was able to run loose and play sports to his heart's content. And while he was sometimes homesick, he was popular enough with the other campers to keep real loneliness at bay.
Camp was the ideal place for a boy like Seth. With so many activities to pursue, he was never idle or restless. If anything, Seth had too much to do and not enough time on his hands. Choosing between volleyball, canoeing, and arts and crafts wasn't easy for the youngster. He was always changing his mind. In fact, he changed his mind so much that it was a wonder how he ever managed to settle on anything.
Despite his somewhat indecisive and flighty nature,Seth excelled in all of the camp's activities. Liked by both his peers and his counselors, he had no trouble finding a merry band of friends to call his own. Still, when Seth decided to audition for the camp's production of Hello, Dolly!, he earned his role based not on preferential treatment, but on his acting talent alone. Actually, the drama coach was impressed with all of Seth's abilities, including singing, dancing, and, of course, acting.
For his part, Seth loved everything about the play. The rehearsals, the costumes, the cast party, and, most importantly, the applause of the audience.
Many of the children had zealous parents who were only too happy to clap their hands raw. But when Seth came out to take his bows, the applause seemed more genuine and enthusiastic than the polite response received by his peers.
Seth couldn't have been happier with the reaction. A natural-born showman, he took the opportunity to ham it up onstage, making all of the parents laugh in the process. The realization that he had what it took to make complete strangers happy was one of the most exciting times in his life. Following this grand debut, the youngster was on cloud nine for weeks, months even. Only after the euphoria had finally worn off did Seth actually begin to campaign on behalf of acting classes. The fact that Kaela had been taking theater and dance lessons since she was seven years old provided Seth with an airtight argument. If she was allowed to take these classes, then why couldn't he? As usual, his parents found it difficult to resist his plaintive entreaties and yielded to Seth's wishes.
But while the summer camp experience pounded the point home, Seth had been interested in show business since he was just a toddler. While some kids watched Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood only for their educational and entertainment value, Seth discovered something different in these shows. Watching the actors play make-believe, he realized that he, too, could do what they were doing. "One of their skits revealed that the woman cleaning the kitchen on TV is not really excited about cleaning—she gets paid for it, she's a spokesperson," Seth conveyed to Entertainment Weekly. "I was like, 'Lying? Seems like an easy way to make a living.'"
His father Herb was not at all surprised to learn that Seth had set his sights on the acting game. He knew that Seth could ham it up with the best of them, and had watched as his son would try to emulate some of his favorite television performers. "I'm very proud of Seth. He's wanted this since the age of two," Herb told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "At two, he was doing shtick. He would see something on TV, then he would do it better. We just wanted him to be a regular kid. We held him back. But by six, it was clear nobody was going to stop him."
Barbara was proud of her son for taking an interest in the arts. As a famous muralist in her own right, she always believed in taking chances and creative risks. In the end, both of Seth's parents became extremely supportive of his new endeavor. Not only would acting provide their son with the fundamentals of self-discipline and hard work, but it would also serve to keep him out of trouble. "Seth was full ofpersonality," recalled his manager, Edie Robb. "Also, I think the family did it to keep him occupied. He wasn't the type that could sit still in school all day."
When Barbara and Herb saw just how serious Seth was about perfecting his skills, they even went out of their way to help him rehearse his scenes and practice his monologues. It was clear from the outset that his parents would always stand behind him, regardless of what path he chose to follow in life.
"I had very good parents," Seth told Bent magazine. "When you're a kid, you are often made to feel like your dreams and goals are impossible either by other kids or unsupportive adults. You need constant affirmation and encouragement no matter what those goals may be. And if someone validates you along the way, it gives you the confidence in yourself."
HOORAY FOR HOLLYWOOD!
Seth was a natural, or at least that's what all of his acting instructors had to say. He had the kind of inborn talent and humor that it takes some people years just to simulate. And there was nothing like a standout personality to help a child actor get ahead in the business. A quick study at that, Seth plowed through his courses with the ease of a seasoned pro. It was clear that it was time for him to move on to bigger and better things.
As luck would have it, the Greens had a show biz connection that would pay off big time. Since his uncle was a local casting director, Seth would not have to wait long for his first shot at the spotlight. Andwhile his parents promised that he would have a chance to try out for. roles in commercials, it was made very clear that Seth's talents, as opposed to his connections, would be the sole determining factor in the casting decisions.
Seth knew that he had his work cut out for him. The fact that his uncle was willing to give him a try was a good beginning, but he would have to prove that he had what it took to make a living as an actor. An industrial commercial for a John Denver record would be his first audition. Although Seth knew very little about the singer, he decided that he would give it his best and see what happened.
Upon arriving at the casting office, Seth was a little perturbed by the amount of competition he would be up against. Dozens upon dozens of young boys had turned out to showcase their skills. Watching one boy after another walk into the screening room was very hard on Seth. It seemed the longer he waited for his turn, the more nervous he became. Finally, when a surly voiced assistant called his name, Seth was ushered behind closed doors and put to the test. What seemed to last hours had actually only taken five minutes. Although he recalls little about that day or the audition, the facts speak for themselves. Seth had won the role in the commercial and was well on his way to becoming a working actor.
"I've been acting since I was seven," he said during an Entertainment Asylum chat. "I don't know if I'm a veteran. I've just been very fortunate. I just pushed and pushed. Sometimes, you just know what you want to do."
With his first career coup behind him, Seth was ready and raring to go on every single audition that called for a boy his age. He sought out the advice of his uncle, who told him that any actor who wants to work consistently needs to have a manager. That's when he recommended a local manager by the name of Edie Robb.
Edie had made quite a name for himself as the leading representative of child actors in the Philadelphia area. He looked at hundreds of young people each day, and would often have to turn the majority of them away. But one look at Seth's fiery red hair, crooked grin, and the mischievous glint in his eyes was all it took for Edie to sign him with the agency. Edie Robb's instincts for new talent were rarely off the mark, and he was certain that Seth had what it took to make an impact in the business.
Seth acquired his manager and was immediately being sent out on one audition after another. Seth was a natural charmer. He loved to pal around with the casting directors, and knew just what to say and how to act in order to get the part. Pretty soon, the young actor had become what Robb affectionately calls a "booking machine." If there was a commercial role suited for a young boy, it would invariably go to Seth. "He got Edie Robb as a manager and booked the first two commercials he auditioned for—the second was with Bill Cosby," Herb Green relayed to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Seth was on a roll, and it didn't seem as if his winning streak would end anytime soon. By the time he was eight years old, Seth was working in nationalcommercials, peddling burgers for Burger King and mugging for the camera in a Kodak ad. He was also made famous by a choice role as the "Ch-Ching" guy in a Rally's fast-food commercial. All told, his many televised appearances made his face so well known that even those fans who've never seen so much as one episode of Buffy, not to mention Idle Hands or Can't Hardly Wait, still come up to him today.
"It's weird. People seem to know me from stuff that I never would expect them to," he explained in The Official Buffy the Vampire Slayer Magazine. "If somebody recognizes me, I'm never quite sure what it's from. More often than not, I get accused of stuff that I just wasn't in, and when I tell them that I wasn't in it, they don't believe me. They just go, 'Dude, you were in that Rogaine ad,' and I say, 'No, I'm an actor, but I wasn't in that commercial.' Then they're like, 'Yes you were, man!'"
Seth's successes, however, would bring their own share of change and turmoil. Although Seth enjoyed hanging out around the set and pulling pranks on the crew, he was forced to miss a lot of school as a result of his busy career. Of course, that didn't mean he could just forget about his schoolwork and have a good time. No, Seth had to pull double-duty by completing his homework assignments on the set of the commercial shoots.
While Barbara urged Seth to study his hardest, she made sure that he never had too much on his kid-sized plate. Unlike many stage mothers, Barbara's top priority was to make sure that Seth was getting his rest and not being overworked. It was due to her effortand intervention that Seth was able to stay grounded and relaxed throughout the many auditions and flights that had by now begun to characterize his childhood.
Seth had never expected to turn into such a hot commodity in the entertainment industry. Sure, he enjoyed doing what he did, but who could have suspected that it would afford him so many opportunities? Slowly but surely, Seth began to favor his new life as a successful actor over the "regular kid" existence at which he'd excelled, and which his parents had always wanted for him. While many of his friends were studying at school or playing Atari, Seth was taking on a role of great responsibility, treated like a VIP, and being handsomely rewarded to boot.
Indeed, for Seth the commercial circuit was nothing if not rewarding. He loved having new characters to work on and being in a new place each day. The whirlwind of activity was well-suited to the restless youth, and it took a long time for him to think about doing anything else.
As with all good things, however, this too would come to an end. Eventually, even this fireball was destined to burn out. Although Seth was still being called in to read for dozens of commercials each week, it seemed that he had finally had enough. No matter how hard he tried, Seth simply could not muster the level of enthusiasm that had once been his trademark. In time, it became evident to all that Seth had grown weary of commercials, and would need a new acting challenge to keep himself afloat.
After talking it over with his manager, Seth came to the decision to only audition for films. Althoughthe prospect of working on movies had always appealed to him, he had been far too busy earning a living and having fun to seriously consider going out on a new limb. All that changed, however, when the idea took hold in his mind. Seth looked forward to a time when he'd get to stay in character for more than one day. Commercials had given him the training he needed to work in films, but they would never provide the same artistic challenges and risks he craved. And if there was anything that set Seth above the competition and made him the star he is today, it was his rare ability to always push himself harder than anyone else.
Copyright © 2000 by Elina and Leah Furman. Cover photograph from Leslie Bohm/CORBIS Outline ©.
Posted September 21, 2000
Posted September 18, 2000