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Noah Wyle

Noah Wyle

The Emmy nominated and Golden Globe winning actor currently stars as "Dr. John Carter" on NBC's medical drama "ER". Wyle has received five Emmy Award nominations, as well as three Golden Globe nominations as Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television. He also won the 2001 TV Guide Award for Supporting Actor in a Drama Series. One of six brothers and sisters, Wyle was born and raised in Hollywood, California. He developed an interest in acting when he participated in a theater arts program at Northwestern University after his junior year of high school. After graduation, he found an apartment on Hollywood Boulevard and began studying with acting teacher Larry Moss. Wyle scored his first professional role in the miniseries “Blind Faith” and followed with his first feature film, “Crooked Hearts.” A role in “A Few Good Men” followed. Wyle’s big break came when he was given the pilot script for “ER.” His other credits include “Enough,” opposite Jennifer Lopez, and an appearance opposite Renee Zellweger in “White Oleander.” Wyle also starred as Steve Jobs in the cable movie “The Pirates of Silicon Valley,” in the independent film “The Myth of Fingerprints” with Roy Scheider and Blythe Danner, and as the President's interpreter in the 2000 live-television production of “Fail Safe.” Wyle recently completed production on the independent film, “The Californians.” In addition, Wyle is the creative producer of his own Los Angeles theater company, the Blank Theater Company, which stages annual young playwrights festival. He also recently acquired Second Stage Theater in Hollywood, where the company has mounted numerous successful productions. Wyle devotes much of his free time to the international non-profit organization Doctors of the World and to his work as a member of the Human Rights Watch Council. He enjoys basketball, traveling, photography and going to the movies. Wyle lives in Los Angeles with his wife, makeup artist Tracy, and their son.

Emmy nominee Noah Wyle remembers the first and last time he donated blood, right up to the moment he blacked out. "I decided to give some blood in high school," he says, "and I recall a woman bending over me who said, 'This is my first time doing this,' and that was all I needed to hear before I passed out. I remember waking up in the back of the bloodmobile."

As a result, Wyle can identify with a patient's fear of needles, especially now that he's playing a first-time doctor who still has much to learn about medicine. "I wouldn't want to be Dr. Carter's patient," says Wyle. "He's extremely well-meaning and eager to do a good job and be noticed for doing a good job, but he's a klutz who is easily overcome by pressure."

Born on June 4, 1971in Hollywood, Calif., Wyle was raised there along with his six brothers and sisters. His father works as an electrical engineer and his mother is an orthopedic head nurse. He developed a genuine interest in acting after his junior year in high school, when he participated in a theater-arts program at Northwestern University. He soon learned that even high school actors could "kiss pretty girls and smoke cigarettes," which was more than enough for him at the time. During this time he acted and directed in a production of Jean-Paul Sartre's No exit. He also attended a theater arts program at Northwestern University which fed the bug even more!!

After graduation, he discovered nobler reasons for acting, found a seedy apartment on Hollywood Boulevard and began studying with acting teacher Larry Moss.

Wyle scored his first professional role in the NBC miniseries "Blind Faith" and followed that with his first feature film, "Crooked Hearts," in which he played a son in a dysfunctional family. In 1990 he worked in another feature, "There Goes My Baby." Considering the ease with which he secured those roles, he assumed he would be acting full-time. He was mistaken -- he remained unemployed for the next year.

After appearing in several local plays in Los Angeles, he was cast in the box-office hit "A Few Good Men," in which he played a Marine jeep driver who testified in court. He also appeared in the feature "Swing Kids" as a leader in the Hitler Youth, and in the upcoming "The Myth of Fingerprints" with Roy Scheier and Blythe Danner. Additionally, he starred as Lancelot opposite Sheryl Lee in the TV movie "Guinevere of Camelot" and he guest-starred as a doctor on NBC's "Friends." However, he is best known for his acting role in ER, as the young naive Dr. Carter.

In his leisure time, Wyle enjoys basketball, traveling, photography and going to the movies as well as collecting baseball cards, antiques and any bric-a-brac pertaining to the biblical Noah's Ark. He lives in Los Angeles.

'ER' spoils Noah's Arc

I can live with the fact Noah Wyle is leaving "ER" at the end of this season. I only wish I hadn't known about it since last April.

But I have. So every time Wyle's Dr. John Carter character gets a phone call from his sweetie in Africa, or pants after the willowy Wendall, or glances at the pill bottles that have seduced him in the past, I wonder if this is Carter's exit door.

It doesn't ruin the show. It just gets in the way of the rolling big-picture "ER" tale that will continue after he's gone.

To be blunt, we know that any Carter story now is a dead end.

Story threads start and end all the time in shows like "ER," of course, and part of the fun is we never know how long they will last. They usually don't go on forever, but on TV as in life, there's always that theoretical possibility. Shucks, I'm still wondering if Marshall Dillon will ever ask Miss Kitty for a date.

More often, the good threads lead to future threads. Therefore, since Carter is history, what's the payoff for viewers to keep investing in his character?

When Jimmy Smits' Bobby Simone on "NYPD Blue" got a small cut on his arm that clearly signaled he was now a dead man walking, many of us who didn't want him to leave "NYPD Blue" dealt with it by choosing full-blown denial.

I didn't want to know Wayne Rogers was leaving "M*A*S*H." I didn't even want to know Rob Lowe was leaving "The West Wing."

The list goes on.

Sure, TV stories end all the time. Characters leave. Shows die. That doesn't mean I have to like it. You're talking to a man who is still annoyed at NBC for canceling "I'll Fly Away."

But when we know in April 2004 that John Carter disappears from "ER" by May 2005, the last year is like taking a ride down a dead-end street - and it shouldn't have to be that way. Let him leave. Just don't tell me about it. I'm not hard to please. All I ask is to be kept ignorant.

Alas, ignorance can be an elusive dream in a media-obsessed age. Noah Wyle's status is news, like a Britney Spears marriage.

As it happens, Wyle has turned Carter into an interesting character over the years despite being frequently whiplashed by his writers.

They'd give him girls, then snatch them away. They'd make him into a mature professional, then stab him and morph him into an annoying pain-pill addict.

He's one of those guys who often seemed to confess his innermost feelings so the gods could laugh at them. In other words, he's been perfect for prime-time TV drama. We'll miss him.

His goodbye would have more impact, though, if we hadn't seen his bags waiting by the door for the last 13 months.

Cinematographer Pays $3.8 Million For Noah Wyle's Spanish Colonial

Actor Noah Wyle has sold his home in the Los Feliz section of Los Angeles for close to its $3.8-million asking price. The buyer was actor Robert Richardson, who won an Oscar in 1991 for best cinematography for "JFK."

The house, once owned by actor Tim Curry, is a restored Spanish colonial estate. It is on about 1.5 acres of lush grounds and has three bedrooms and 31/2 bathrooms in slightly more than 4,000 square feet. The home has hand-carved, hand-stenciled ceilings, a pool, an amphitheater, waterfalls and fountains.

Other features are a basement, breakfast area, library, bonus room and several patios. The house was built in 1922.

Wyle, 33, plays Dr. John Carter on the hit NBC series "ER." He is the only member of the original cast who has been with the show continuously since its premiere in 1994.


Noah Wyle speaks about his life and career

'Unscripted' is a fresh look at the lives of struggling actors.
But hey, it's also old news that mobsters have family issues and that some housewives are desperate enough to seduce the lawn boy. HBO's bittersweet new Hollywood comedy, "Unscripted," is certainly guilty of covering well-trod territory, as it follows three starving actors from cheesy sitcom auditions to pretentious acting classes. But the 10-episode series, which premieres Sunday at 10 p.m., is a surprisingly involving piece of fictional verite. Created by Clooney and Steven Soderbergh, the team behind HBO's disastrous "K Street," it unfolds with a freshness and sly humor that should make it a cult favorite for those who don't mind inside baseball. It has the intimate charm of an indie film -- cynical, slight, and unexpectedly touching.

The show is largely improvised, like "Curb Your Enthusiasm," with episodes that have arcs but no set dialogue from scene to scene. And like Robert Altman's "The Player," it is a fun house of real actors playing themselves, from Noah Wyle and Brad Pitt to Hank Azaria, who hosts a testosterone-fueled poker game in episode 3. This atmosphere of unrehearsed realism extends to the documentary filming style, which has a videocam-like rawness to it. In an interesting decision, though, Soderbergh and Clooney have given the footage a golden hue, which serves as an ironic allusion to the fabled days when producers stumbled upon tomorrow's superstars at Schwab's Drugstore or the Top Hat Caf. No one is stumbling upon today's wannabes, unless they're panhandling on Sunset Boulevard.

The real stars of "Unscripted" are its three unknown lead actors, Krista Allen, Jennifer Hall, and Bryan Greenberg, who all play versions of themselves. Krista, who looks like an American Elizabeth Hurley, is trying to shed her sex queen image, a difficult task after having made "Emmanuelle" movies in the 1990s. Jennifer is a Southern newbie, with a cherubic face that hides her ferocity and grit. And Bryan, who styles himself as an alternative WB heartthrob, is hoping to be the next Johnny Depp after having landed spots on "Third Watch" and "Life With Bonnie."

The three are in a scene-study class together, and it's clear that Jennifer is smitten with Bryan, who's smitten with Krista, who's simply tired of being smitten with. But their romantic longings are quite secondary to the gist of "Unscripted," which is most concerned with what happens to integrity in a town built to steal it and sell it to the masses. While HBO's other Hollywood-com, "Entourage," cheerfully celebrates the decadence of a young star spoiled by instant fame, "Unscripted" is its poor cousin. When single mom Krista talks interestedly about how some women sell their eggs for cash, you realize just how insecure her situation is. The title "Unscripted" refers not only to the style of the show but to the unpredictability of its characters' lives.

As in "Curb," the best comic material doesn't end in punch lines. It's situational, with an occasional laugh-out-loud bit -- when Bryan auditions for a western in biker leather, for instance, or when sweet Jennifer sings a man-hating screed that spooks her date, Mike O'Malley from "Yes, Dear." But the show is equally suffused with heartbreak, particularly once the characters' private dramas emerge after the first two episodes. Like so many promising TV shows, "Unscripted" takes a few hours to find its footing and build into something distinct.

The stability in these three actors' lives is their class and its teacher, Goddard Fulton, who is played with mighty confidence and eye-rolling arrogance by Frank Langella. Goddard plays God during his sessions, as he intimidates his students into richer performances by yelling ultimatums such as, "If you want to be an actor, you have to be dangerous." He watches them with the close intensity of a loving parent, but he's not above sleeping with the pretty ones if it suits him. Like all the power brokers Krista, Jennifer, and Bryan face in show business, he has a price.

Real-Life Librarians Give 'The Librarian' star Noah Wyle Mixed Reviews

Hundreds of librarians and library workers in America sat down with TNT's "The Librarian" on December 7 and, overall, gave Noah Wyle and the cable movie a nod of approval for showing a love of learning and the magic that can occur in a library.

More than 200 library workers wrote the American Library Association (ALA) and gave the movie an average of 2.65 stars out of four for overall enjoyment and 2.65 out of four for an "image makeover" for on-screen librarians.

Bonnie Kunzel, past president of the Young Adult Library Services Association, captures what fans liked best: "I love the image of the 'The Librarian' as hero - standing strong against the forces of evil; using his brains and his knowledge - of the head and of the heart-to get them out of one tight squeeze after another. He's honorable and likeable and he won't stop until he solves the problem."

Topping the complaints were the fact that a master's of library and information studies was not clearly among Flynn Carsen's (Noah Wyle) 22 degrees, that the library didn't have anyone inside using it and that librarians might be considered nerds and "know-it-alls," rather than knowledgeable and helpful.

"Sadly, the portrayal of libraries as hoarders of secret knowledge spoiled a great deal of the overall enjoyment for me," said Brandon Bensley of Greensboro, N.C., who gave the film one star.

Noah Wyle -ness of Noah Wyle

"I'M WORN A LITTLE THIN," Noah Wyle confesses, running a hand through his unkempt hair. He's been up since dawn shooting a grueling episode of ER in which young Dr. Carter single-handedly saves the victims of a chemical-plant explosion. There's a small cut under Wyle's right eye, evidence of a recent trouncing by co-star George Clooney in a heated game of one-on-one. ("Believe me, it kills him," Clooney gloats. "Noah can have the greatest day acting, but if you beat him in basketball, he's depressed all day.") Now, decompressing poolside at a Los Angeles hotel, Wyle orders mint tea. The waiter returns with chamomile, but Wyle says nothing. It's been that kind of week.

"I just finished a particularly difficult scene," the 26-year-old actor says. "Carter runs across the cafeteria and dunks a guy's head in ice water to save his life. When it was over, I kind of looked around for somebody to say, you know, 'Nice Job' or 'Good work.' But it's business as usual on the set. They've got to move on. I'm soaking wet, and I've got a cold coming on, and I had a pan of, like 'Jesus, guys, didn't you see what I did all week? I've been running my ass off! You could say something.'"

Coming from some stars, such a story might sound like your stereotypical Hollywood 'me-me-me' refrain. from Wyle, though, it comes across as self-deprecating, sort of touching, even funny. It captures the Noah Wyle-ness of Noah Wyle: that world-weary but naive, cocky but neurotic, self-absorbed but sweet quality he manages to project both onscreen and in person. It shows an actor who, like the intern he has played for four years, is sure of his talent, if a little unsure of himself and hungry for approval. Says J. P. Manoux, an actor who has been one of Wyle's best friends since high school, ‚Noah may be insecure about some things, hut he's always had people tell him he's good - because he's always been good."

A true child of Hollywood, Wyle, the middle of three kids, saw his parents divorce when he was 6. A year later, his mother, a nurse, married Jim Katz, a film restorer with three children of his own. Having grown up in a home where actors like Mandy Patinkin, Tab Hunter and Divine were frequent guests, Wyle got the thespian bug himself after starring at age 13 as a 65-year-old man in a high-school production of Joe Orton's Loot. Skipping college, he worked as a waiter while scrounging for small movie roles - most notably, as a Marine in A Few Good Men and a teenage Nazi boxer in Swing Kids. In 1994, virtually broke, Wyle grudgingly auditioned for his first TV project, a medical drama called ER. Assuming the show would be canceled after seven episodes, he signed on for five years. "Even well before ER, I think Noah knew his turn would come," says Manoux. "But it was a big decision for him to do television, because he really wanted to be a Johnny Depp or a River Phoenix."

As the show became a phenomenon, Wyle relied on his more experienced co-stars to help him adjust to the onrushing fame. "I think Noah and I had great benefits being very close friends from the beginning," says Clooney. "I could keep him relaxed through the whole first-year run, not let it burn him. And then I could just watch the way he worked and steal things from him, because he's innately the smartest actor I know."

Conventional wisdom might have charted Wyle's smartest route to movie stardom via a middle-of-the-road romantic comedy. But last year, Wyle passed on a slew of such Friends-friendly projects to play a tortured black sheep of an angst-ridden family in the independent film The Myth of Fingerprints. "Noah didn't pick an easy role," says co-star Roy Scheider. "It was a very emotional part, with one crisis after another. He picked something that would stretch him as an actor. I thought his attitude was really healthy."

Though the film barely left fingerprints at the box office, it was an undeniable boon to Wyle's personal life. On the very first day of the shoot, he became smitten ,with the movie's head makeup artist, Tracy Warbin. The two began dating, and when the film wrapped, Warbin, 29, uprooted her New York-based life and moved into Wyle's L.A. home, which they share with four cats and three dogs. "It's not like Noah had these wild years and now he's mellowing out," says Manoux. "But he is settling down. He's very much in love with Tracy, and they've made a nice domestic life that I don't think is about to change any time soon."

Still, while romantically more stable than ever, Wyle will face an uncertain future ,when it comes time to be discharged from ER. (All of the original stars except Clooney have added a year to their contract - though how long they stick around could be influenced by NBC's recent $I3 million-per-episode commitment to its top-rated show.) ,We're all afraid of [leaving ER]," admits Clooney. "Is this the end?' ,Am I going to blow it?' You can't predict anything. But I believe Noah will be a great film star as well as a great TV star. You've got to remember he's 26. Everything for Noah Wyle is still to come."

With two seasons left on your 'ER' contract, do you feel as if you're just running out the clock?
No, it's still fun. It only drags when you feel like you're hitting the same notes over and over again. For four years I've been the comic relief. [In every episode] I usually either fall down or have something spewed forth on me. I love doing that stuff, but if the jokes get derivative, you feel it. I think Carter's going into new territory this year as be stops looking for so much approbation at work and enters perhaps into a relationship with [Maria Bello's Dr. Del Amico]. I'm curious to see how he's going to unfold. I know what kind of boy he was. I'm not quite sure what kind of man he's going to be.

Can you identify with that?
Sure. I'm straddling the same fence at the moment. I know what kind of boy I was, and I know what kind of adolescent I was. Now I'm very curious to see what kind of man I'm going to turn out to be.

Choosing 'The Myth of Fingerprints' as your first major film role was a big decision. Careerwise, did it accomplish what you hoped it would?
Hopefully, it's too early to tell. [Laughs] I think it's a good movie. It's got flaws and holes all over the place, but I'm proud of it. I don't know how it advanced my career. But I met my girlfriend on it, so in a lot of ways I reaped the benefits before it even came out.

We'll come back to her. First, what was it about ,The Myth of Fingerprints' that you related to?
When there was a problem, my family didn't get loud; it got quiet. So I understood that kind of silent tension. The thing I really hooked into with [my character] was that something bad led him into this state of emotional paralysis, and he couldn't get his life back on track.

When have you felt that way?
There have been several times. None have paralyzed me to that extent. Bot there are definitely things I cling to, and I don't move forward. I'm worried now that when ER ends, I won't know what to du with myself. If I cling to enjoying the success, the money and the prestige, then I'm settling myself up for that kind of paralysis. ER has been so all encompassing, I have only a vague recollection of what my life was like before. It's been a while since I did three auditions a day, throwing every script I didn't get in the back of my car. And that's what I'm going back to after the show runs its course.

You don't seriously think you'll be waiting tables again?
I hope not. But nobody stays up forever. We're all just beginning to realize that ER is never going to happen to any of us again. I appreciate it for what it is, and I'm grateful. But the show dies, and I've got to figure out what I'm going to do after that.

As long as you don't do a spinoff.
Yeah, Touched by an Intern. That's going to be my new series [Laughs]

As you watch this parade of young actors - Skeet Ulrich, Vince Vaughn, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck - being crowned the next big movie star, is there a part of you that thinks, that could have been me?
I think my time is going to come. I'm still young. When I started acting in high school, one of the first jobs I was ever even considered for was Dead Poets Society. That movie turned out a whole generation of guys, like Robert Sean Leonard and Ethan Hawke. And you know, they get replaced, with Leonardo DiCaprio and Skeet and the new set of guys. Then there'll be a whole new crop. The trick is keeping one foot in the game and doing your own thing. [Pause] I think. I don't know. That's what I'm trying to figure out.

Have you ever considered writing a script for yourself à la 'Swingers' or ‚Good Will Hunting'?
You know, I knew those Swingers guys back in the day.

Were you the ,Swingers' type?
I'd get to tired to do that s---, man. Come 10 o'clock, when Vince [Vaughn] ,would say, ,,Let's go to Vegas," I'd say, ,,You go to Vegas. I'm going to bed." But, yeah, I think about writing. I thought Matt Damon and Ben Affleck did a hell of a good job on Good Will Hunting. I need to work a little harder on my writing before it's up to that level.

Are you judgmental of other actors' work?
You get very critical of the people who get the jobs you don't get. I met with [director] Curtis Hanson several times about doing the role Guy Pearce did in L.A. Confidential. I really, really wanted it, thought that it was a beautiful script. But when I saw what he did with that part, I thought, jeez, thank God I wasn't in it. I would have turned that movie into a disaster. [Laughs]

Let's rewind. Your parents divorced when you were in the second grade. What do you remember from that time?
I went through all the textbook feelings: It was my fault; if I'd been better; this, that and the other. I saw a kiddie shrink for a while.

What did you talk about?
At that age, you don't really get into deep, Freudian stuff. We'd play games like Sorry and Candy Land. I think he was gauging whether the fallout from the divorce was manifesting itself in aggression. Poor Dr. Lulow. I used to make up all sorts of stories, dreams I never really had. It was the first indication to me that I try to tell people what I think they want to hear. [Laughs]

I get the impression you were a shy, sensitive kid.
I was shy, but I wasn't redusive. [Pause] well, maybe I was. I remember Michael Ehrlich and I used to stay inside at recess and draw Vikings instead of playing. I guess that's redusive behavior. [Laughs] For some reason, I've always felt more comfortable with adults than peers. I was the bane of all my friends' existence, because I'd go over to their house and I'd clear the table and start doing the dishes, and the mother would always say [to my friend] ,,Why can't you be more like Noah?"

You lost your virginity at age 13 with an 18-year-old woman at a party.
[Uncomfortably] Yeah, leave it at that. That's about as memorable as it gets.

I can't believe it wasn't memorable.
It wasn't really memorable, believe me. It was over and done with, and I went in the bathroom, made a muscle, thought I was a man and hid from women for the next five years.

So it did more harm than good?
Probably. I've often wished it had been more monumental. But it was a fluke. It should never have happened. I still thought I was going to make the NBA. I was still collecting Star Wars figures and all that s---.

After high school, you spent five years as a struggling actor, until 'ER' came along. What was your daily life like at that point?
Initially, I was living on Hollywood Boulevard with my best friend in this dive apartment with orange-mustard shag carpeting. Two 1 8-year-olds, never even done their own laundry before. In auditions you'd walk into a room, piss broke, just reeking of "Please, please give me the job." I used to listen at the door afterward to see if I could hear what they said about me. I stopped doing that after I heard some unkind things.

What did you hear?
Just a lot of laughter. [Laughs] But those were the carefree days. Those were the days I had zero responsibility. I'm sure I was absolutely miserable every step of the way. I'm sure I was looking at every actor who was working and hating them for it. I'm sure I was as selfish and self-centered as I could ever imagine myself to be. But looking back now, it doesn't seem so bad, because I know how it all ended up.

Over the years, how has your family responded to your fame?
Boy, oh, boy, people get jaded fast. [Laughs] I got nominated for an Emmy. That was a big deal in my family - everybody called. I gut nominated for my second Emmy - half the people called. First Golden Globe - a couple of people called. Second Golden Globe - nobody called. It just gets blasé after a while.

You've said you knew almost from the moment you met your girlfriend Tracy that she was the one. What convinced you?
Just a bunch of silly little stuff. She got my jokes. I looked out the window and saw she had a 1964 Pontiac Catalina, which is an almost identical body type to my 1960 Oldsmobile Convertible. I thought that was kismet in and of itself. [Pause] It's the best thing in my life right now, my relationship with Tracy. And every time I talk about it I feel like I'm endangering it in some way. Does that make any sense?

Well, it's safe to say that people are rooting for you to be happy.
Rest assured, America, I'm happy. She's the most patient and nurturing person I've ever met. As a makeup artist it's her job, besides applying makeup, to apply some self-confidence. I can get pretty moody at times; and maybe because of what she does for a living she takes it all in stride. Tracy has gotten excellent at second-guessing my moods and helping me corral them.

I want to read you a quote from USA Weekend, March I0, I996: "I believe that people are perfect for each other for a finite period of time. The notion of there being a yin to your yang or a perfect soul mate is a bit of a romantic ideal."
[Aghast] Jesus, I'm a pretentious son of a bitch! Poor USA Weekend. Well, I won't reverse my opinion. When I said that, I just hadn't found it yet, and I assumed that must mean that it's not meant to work out. But I've learned since then that when there are those lulls, it's not a sign you've got to run. It's a sign that maybe you've got to work a little harder.

Any thought of getting engaged?
Well, everybody I know is getting married these days. Rings are being thrown all over the place. I figure, if I did it now, it would be like getting my second Golden Globe nomination. I wouldn't get very many calls. [Laughs] So I'm waiting until it means something. [Suddenly mortified] Boy, what a f---ing actor I am - relating getting engaged to being nominated for an award.

Do you ever think the sort of happiness and stability you have now can be dangerous for an actor?
I vacillate on that all the time. I've had moments of unbelievable instability in my life and done great work. And I've had moments when I've felt incredible happiness - I didn't have to worry about money, I didn't have to worry about falling in love - and done great work that way too. I don't know what the answer is. I think now that a normal, happy life is the best thing you could possibly bring to your work. I'm really, really, really hoping that I'm right.

You've managed to avoid the notorious young actor pitfalls: drug abuse, biting...
I've still got time, man. Don't write me off yet. [Laughs ruefully]

Do you see how it happens?
Absolutely. When you're talking about insecurity and constant rejection and putting it all under a microscope for the world to see, you're talking about a recipe fur disaster. I have nothing but sympathy fur those guys.

Do you just not have those bad-boy urges?
Define 'bad-buy urges.' Have I ever wanted to hit somebody? Absolutely. Have I ever wanted to take drugs? Yeah. Have I ever been in a situation where I didn't feel like I was exercising the best judgment? Sure. I'm not putting myself above any of that behavior. Circumstances may have played out differently. I'm still in the upswing of my cycle. When I come down, who knows how it's going to affect me?

Looking ahead at your career, what's your deepest fear?
[Long pause] I'm worried about how this will sound, but I'm going to say it anyway. Did you watch the Golden Globes? There were two incredibly sad moments that night for me, and they both came in the form of acceptance speeches: one from Burt Reynolds and one from Peter Fonda. Both of them got up and said how wonderful it was to be back, how nice it was to see all these people they hadn't seen for a long time. Something about that struck a wrong chord with me. The thought that I'd ever feel that way - like, if I'm not in the loop, then I'm out of the loop - that's no way to live your life. I'm the biggest Burt Reynolds fan, and if I saw him, I'd sit him down and go [fervently] "What the f-- were you saying that night? You've made great movies. You've got nothing to apologize for. If those people didn't call you, screw 'em. You're Burt Reynolds." [Pause] Whatever career I have, whatever this unfolds into, I hope I'm fine with it.

You once said, "I probably won't measure up as a person to people who see me on 'ER'". Why do you think that?
Carter has a strong moral backbone and is sweet, romantic, funny and self-effacing. I'm sure a lot of people think, "What an ideal guy. Love to find a guy like that." Noah Wyle ain't him. He's trying. But he's just a different guy. At the end of the day, John Carter is going to be in the television archives and Noah Wyle is still going to be walking around the earth. And I hope when that day comes, I'm ready to be me.

''ER'' Star Noah Wyle Has A Big Heart

Everyone in the restaurant is staring. And smiling. This is more than an "Omigod, there's a celebrity sitting over there" moment. This is the look people give an old friend. On America's number one television show, ER, Noah Wyle plays Dr. John Carter, a surgical resident with a soul, who has shown us that he can be smart, vulnerable, and sexy. We have watched Carter wrestle with his demons (Should he turn in another resident for lying?), seduce his boss's boss (the intelligent and much older Abby Keaton), and even turn his back on a friend at the worst possible moment (intern Dennis Gant, who dejectedly left the hospital and committed suicide). None of it made us love Carter even a tiny bit less.

In the drama The Myth of Fingerprints, in theaters this month, Wyle plays Warren, who could be Dr. Carter's longlost brother. Thoughthe 27-year-old actor describes his character as "emotionally stunted because he's never dealt with his demanding and cold father," he's also caring and sweet. As one of four adult children who returns home for a tense Thanksgiving weekend, Warren has an experience that changes his life.

Wyle will always have a special place in his heart for Fingerprints because that's where he met his girlfriend, makeup artist Tracy Warbin, who includes Sling Blade among her credits. The first day on location in Maine last summer, Wyle saw a woman "across the room" and was literally swept away. "It was one of those moments when you're conscious of having your breath just taken away," he says, his face getting a little red. "It probably only happens to you a couple of times in your life ... if you're lucky. I saw her, and just like a teenage girl, I ran over to the director and asked, `Who's that?' She had to do my makeup that day, so I was sitting in her chair, talking and getting to know her. Within the first couple of hours, we discovered we had a tremendous amount in common: She has a 1964 Pontiac that is very similar to my 1960 Oldsmobile -- they're both boats. We have the same taste in music, and we're both big Bob Dylan fans. The similarities started racking up. I met her on a Monday, and the following Friday I had to fly back to Chicago to shoot -- ironically enough -- my breakup scene with Christine Elise (who played intern Harper Tracy on ER). It was the Thursday night before I left when I kissed Tracy for the first time."
Wyle and Warbin have been living together in his Mediterranean house in Los Angeles ever since. They share a love of travel (they just got back from a two-week trip to Bora Bora), horseback riding (his grandfather owns a ranch near Yosemite, and they often go up there to ride), and animals (they have four cats, two mutts, and some fish). Wyle says that his family and friends adore Warbin and that he can see them being together for a long, long time.

"She's perfect for me," he says, staring lovingly at a silver ring, a recent present from his beloved. "We know how to make each other happy."

Although they have no plans yet to have children, Wyle can imagine that too. "I don't know if anyone is ever really ready," he says. "I know a lot of people who plan for years to get to a certain place when they can start their family. I hope that it happens when we're in a good place, but if it happened tomorrow, it would be okay."

Wyle himself has an extended family. Born in Los Angeles to an engineer father and orthopedic-nurse mother, he has an older sister and a younger brother. His parents divorced when he was very young. His mother is remarried restorer who has three children of his own. His father also remarried and another child. As Wyle says, "I've shared a bathroom with them all at one point in my life; in my mind, that makes you family."

Wyle has been interested in acting since he was 14 years old, when he went away to boarding school in Ojai, California, about an hour and a half north of Los Angeles. Although the school ran the gamut from "sucky to fabulous," the theater department was pretty much left to its own devices. "That meant lots of freedom for us."

Wyle halfheartedly applied to college but never went, choosing to return to Los Angeles and begin working. He did theater and had small parts in the films A Few Good Men (1992) and Swing Kids (1993) before landing his careermaking role on ER. His family, of course, seems thrilled by his success, although his 12-year-old sister "can't figure out why her friends and their parents act so goofy around me."

For the last three years, the ER set has been Wyle's second home. He's there 14 hours a day, five days a week, nine months a year. Not surprisingly, he's bonded with his castmates and considers some of them his closest friends. "I visit Tony [Anthony Edwards, who plays Dr. Mark Greene] and his wife when I need a dose of what parenting is like. [The Edwards hive two young children.] Their house is a blast. Me and Eriq [La Salle, who plays Dr. Benton] shoot pool together and are as thick as thieves. I think he's so talented. And George, [Clooney, who plays Dr. Ross, as well as the new Batman] and I shoot hoops at the studio and at his house. He's like an old-time movie star - like Cary Grant or Spencer Tracy."
Clooney and Wyle bonded during the show's first season. "We were out one night, a warm night, and George had a Porsche convertible: a beautiful car, a limited-edition Speedster. It's a two-seater, and we were driving around, and I said, `You know how lucky you are to have a convertible in this weather? I've always wanted a convertible.' I was just shooting my mouth off. The next day, he didn't have to work, and I did. He shows up on the set and says, `I got a present for you, buddy.' And he dangles these keys in front of me. He takes me outside, and there's this two-tone 1960 Oldsmobile convertible: powder blue on the bottom and white on top. He says, `I bought this car 10 years ago when I was your age and doing a sitcom. It's been nothing but lucky for me, and it's only fitting that you should have it.' I still have that car. I love it!"

This year, the season premiere of ER will be shot live - something that has never been done before in a medical drama. The idea came about when the cast was sitting around talking about the classic Requiem for a Heavyweight, which had originally been shot live for television's Playhouse 90 in 1956. "George thought it would be cool to do ER live," Wyle recalls. "And it just grew from there. It's going to test all of us. Some parts of the show are filmed on the back lot at Warner Brothers, others are shot on the set halfway across the lot. I guess they'll be shuttling us around in golf carts to get us back in time. It's going to be a wild night, but I think we'll all be fine. We've been playing these characters for three years now, and we know them inside out. Plus, lots of us come from theater backgrounds, so we know how to cover if we screw up. But trust me on this -- it will not be me who screws up. I would rather die than make a fool of myself in front of 38 million viewers." He actually knocks wood.

While has been approached by some of those viewers with the idea that their daughter would be just perfect for Carter. "I don't understand it," he admits with a shake of his head. "Carter spends all his time at the hospital, and none of the relationships he's had has worked out. I don't see him as marriage material, but what do I know?"

In fact, Wyle has created a whole history for Carter. "They told me his father was a doctor, but I decided his father and grandfather were surgeons. That's why my decision to leave surgery is so weighted. And I know that Carter used to wrestle in college, because I once had to say to a patient, `Oh, you went to Penn State? I wrestled there.' It was so embarrassing, because I had to throw my chest out and pretend that I had a wrestler's body."

He's also baffled by the fact that people often ask him for medical advice. "But I like to pretend. When a friend cuts their finger, I'll say, `Let me see that, hold it under the light. Okay, run cold water on it and rinse it out. Does that feel like a pin-prick, or is it more of a throbbing pain? Let me see if it needs stitches.' And they're like, `Noah, it's just a cut.' Tony and I are thinking about opening a little clinic in his garage," he kids.

"It's crazy. I have a good friend who's a shoulder specialist. He's dying to take me along when he does rounds, just to see who the patients feel more comfortable with. I have a feeling, as scary as it may sound, that more patients would respond to my bedside manner than his!"

Could Wyle do stitches if the need arose? He starts to nod like crazy. "I think so, I really do! Because I'm the guy on the show who is always practicing, so I've done a lot of sutures. I can't promise that it would be excellent workmanship, but it would be functional."

ON THE FAME GAME For Wyle, stardom fits as comfortably as a set of scrubs. He smiles at everyone in the restaurant and makes this fame thing seem as routine as an appendectomy. "It's funny," he says, sipping a cup of coffee and fiddling with his ring, "some days I don't even notice it. Most of the time, people are complimentary. And I'm an actor who loves compliments, so I find it very gratifying. And then there are days when you just don't wanna be the guy on the TV show. You just want to hide.

"It's like there's three waves of people: There're the people that are big fans and would love to have your autograph. And that's great. If they're nice, I'll do anything. Then there's the second wave, who saw the person ask for your autograph, and they were gonna ask, but they were a little shy. But since that person asked, they'll ask too.

"And that's okay. Then there's the third wave: the people who really had no intention of getting your autograph; they don't really care who you are, but everybody else is getting it, so they might as well get one too. And those are the people who are the worst.

"They ask, 'What show are you on?' as if they're just waiting for you to dazzle them."

Wyle certainly seems to be taking it all in stride. "Red Buttons was on the show last year. He told me, `Go out and enjoy your life, don't be one of the schmucks who hides in your house and is afraid to do this and afraid to do that. Because when you get to be my age, all you have is a hatful of memories, and if you haven't collected enough of them, you'll know,'" Wyle says. "And I knew as soon as he said it that he was right."

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