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Everyone dreams of going to California and getting into TV or movies. Some people actually do. Tim DeKay grew up in Lansing, and is now pursuing a successful career in acting. He's been seen on many popular television shows over the past ten years. Recently he's been seen on CSI and Without a Trace, and you'll be able to see him on two episodes of My Name is Earl on January 26 and March 2 (Thursdays at 9pm on TW Cable channel 3).

DeKay says, "I had a great childhood in Lansing." He fondly recalls growing up in a small town where he and his brother could "head out the back door and play for hours with many friends throughout the neighborhood." A highlight was playing Fagin in the Lansing High School production of Oliver. "It was a thrill to be Fagin in Oliver, and be on stage with my girlfriend, buddies and my brother, James, and also have several friends in the orchestra."

ImageAfter Lansing he got a degree in Business Administration from Le Moyne College, then took some theater classes at Syracuse University while his day job was at a Marcellus Casket Company. Soon he was off to Rutgers to get his MFA in theater. While at Rutgers he also met actress Elisa Taylor, who would become his wife in 1991.

This led to several stage roles in regional theater, then a national tour of A Lion in Winter and then Broadway. He went to California in 1995 to premier a play called Arcadia, and soon began appearing on television. His first role was on Sea Quest, followed by a Danielle Steele TV movie that was filmed in Prague.

Many parts followed, including recurring roles on Everwood and Party of Five, as well as Kevin, Elaine's "Bizarro Jerry" friend on Seinfeld. Kevin was like Jerry in the show, except that he was considerate and reliable. His friends even resembled Jerry's friends.

Recent roles include Clayton "Jonsey" Jones on the HBO depression era series, Carnivale, which ran for two years. The first season is still available on DVD, with the second season DVD due to be released. He filmed a pilot for another HBO series that he hopes the network will be picking up.

DeKay's mother, Jill Vaughn still lives in Lansing, but she has visited her son on location several times. "The most interesting was the one for HBO's series Carnivale set in the 30's," she says. "It was about the lives of struggling Carnies who move from town to town in the dust bowl. It was about forty-five minutes outside Los Angeles in the hills where M*A*S*H and Little House on the Prairie were filmed. They created a huge carnival complete with an antique ferris wheel and period vehicles."

Ms. Vaughn says she has never offered advice as a stage mother. "However," she reports, "when I learned that someone was hired to keep the set free of snakes, I did ask Tim to check each golf cart before he got in it (sometimes they moved the actors around the set in carts)."

Although he has lived in California for the past ten years he still misses the seasons in Lansing. He says, "Although a native Californian would argue that there ARE seasons out there, I miss the distinctive beauty of 'back East' seasons." He gets home once a year to visit family. He coaches son Jamis's Little League team and will soon coach daughter Danna's soccer team. He says he would like to live back East and raise his children in this area.

Meanwhile, DeKay has completed a new film, Peaceful Warrior, in which he appears with Nick Nolte. The movie, about a college student who is training for the Olympics and meets a mysterious mentor, is due for release in April by Lions Gate Films. He continues to enjoy acting, and likes to do stage work when he can. And he misses small town life. "I liked running into someone who said 'I played ball with your grandfather' or 'Your grandma was my teacher,'" he says.


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