Connecticut College Magazine · Winter 2005

Features:

Carmen Perez Dickson ´78
Principal, Roosevelt School, Bridgeport, Conn.

Scott Lowell ´87
Actor, Showtime´s "Queer As Folk"

Melkon Khosrovian ´91
Philosophy major finds life´s flavor in a new company



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Scott Lowell ´87

Scott Lowell ´87
Scott Lowell ´87

Actor, Showtime´s "Queer As Folk"

by Mary V. Howard


Actor Scott Lowell ’87 admits that it was “dumb luck” that led him to the role of “Ted” in Showtime’s original series “Queer As Folk.” Lowell — an actor with 17 years of experience in theater, film and television — auditioned for the role of Ted, the loveable and nerdy accountant, never thinking that he would get the part. “The character was supposed to be chubby and bald,” says Lowell, who is decidedly neither. “I figured I wasn’t what they were looking for, and that freed me up.”

Lowell also had his doubts about the viability of the show. “I couldn’t believe that it would make it on the air. It blew me away that it was so raw.”

“Queer as Folk,” which first aired in the U.S. in 2001 (a British version has been on the air since 1998), has been praised by fans for its honest and gritty portrayal of the gay community. Lowell says that the script initially scared him. “I saw it as a challenge,” he says. The series received a GLAAD Media award for Best Drama Series.

Born in Denver and raised in Connecticut, Lowell knew he wanted to be an actor since the age of 12. His sister, Suzanne Lowell ’85, now a lighting designer in Boston, attended CC, and when he visited the campus on a “beautiful, sunny day” he knew he had found his home for the next four years.

A theater major, Lowell credits Professor of Theater Linda Herr (his advisor) and the late Morris Carnovsky with giving him the tools he needed to become a successful actor. Of Herr he says, “Linda taught me to never take myself too seriously but to be serious about my work. She is a terrific, amazing person, and the school is lucky to have her.” Lowell says Carnovsky, whom he considers one of America’s greatest actors, helped him bring his “Scott-ness” to each role.

In his junior year, Lowell spent a semester at the National Theater Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. “I loved it. It was the best theatrical experience.” After graduation, Lowell opted not to move to L.A. or New York City and headed to Chicago with Tony Ward ’86 to start the Anathong Ensemble. Being an actor in Chicago gave him opportunities he would not have found in a larger city. “Had I moved to New York City, I would probably still be pushing french fries.”

Lowell landed his first TV role in Chicago on “Early Edition.” Other television credits include appearances on “Frasier,” “Caroline in the City,” and a number of successful commercial campaigns for companies like Nike, Lexus and Budget Rent-a-Car. He has appeared in several feature films, including “Love Bites” (Sundance 1999). And this versatile artist has also tackled theater productions of “Present Laughter,” “Assasins” — “one of my best experiences and a dare to myself,” and Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night.”

What motivates Lowell is knowing he has an effect on his audience. “It is a rush,” he says. Auditioning, however, is not something he enjoys. “It is hellish. It took me a long time to realize that, in the end, it is all so arbitrary.” Lowell was almost turned down for a Lexus commercial because the producers thought he looked “too Sephardic.”

“Acting is one profession where being talented and working hard does not guarantee success,” says Lowell. “But this is what I was put here to do.”

Lowell is now in Toronto filming Season 5 of “Queer as Folk.” (His main residence is in Los Angeles.) Though he and his character Ted have some similarities — “We are both wry and sarcastic and have a genuine concern for our friends” — there are also many differences. “I am a lot jollier than he is and not as suspicious. Plus I have much better hair,” he quips.

In the last three episodes of Season 3, Lowell’s character went from insecure, nice-guy accountant to raging drug addict. Lowell was nominated for a PRISM award for his “accurate depiction” of a drug abuser, but found it challenging being Ted during that season. “It was the ugliest the character has ever been. It was tough to shake off,” he admits.

“It is difficult being someone else for six months. I am stuck feeling like Ted.” Once shooting is over, Lowell “detoxes” by traveling and visiting friends and family.

Despite the challenges of being in a television series, Lowell loves his work. “I never thought I would be part of a TV show that people actually thank me for doing,” says Lowell. As a straight person dealing with issues of the gay world, Lowell sees himself as a liaison between both communities. “Art is supposed to better society somehow, and I believe ‘Queer as Folk’ accomplishes that.”


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