Worked With:

Levar Burton

Jimmy Kimmel

Conan O'Brien

Seth MacFarlane

Seth Green

Rob Lowe

Rashida Jones

Jason Lewis

Hank Azaria

Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Mariska Hargitay

Eric McCormack Biography

Home > Actors > M > McCormack, Eric > Biography

Birth Name: Eric McCormack
Born: 04/18/1963
Birth Place: Toronto, Ontario, CA

Born April 18, 1963 in Toronto, Canada to Keith and Doris McCormack, the dark-haired actor was raised in the eastern part of Toronto known as Scarborough, where he attended Stephen Leacock Collegiate Institute High School. Performing in high school productions of "Godspell" and "Pippin," the young man decided to pursue a career in acting. Studying his craft at Ryerson University's School of Theatre in Toronto, McCormack went on to work in Canadian theater productions and performed with the famed Stratford Shakespeare Festival for five seasons, starting in 1985. He appeared in performances of "A Midsummer Night's Dream," "Henry V," "Murder in the Cathedral" and "Three Sisters." McCormack later performed with the Manitoba Theatre Centre in a production of "Burn This" as well as with Toronto's Royal Alexandra Theatre in "Biloxi Blues."

McCormack made his Canadian television debut in the 1986 movie, "The Boys from Syracuse" and his American television debut in a 1991 episode of the CBS series "Top Cops" (CBS, 1990-93). Landing a recurring role as a detective on the syndicated series "Street Justice" (1991-93), McCormack's career began to pick up speed. He appeared in the 1992 remake of "The Lost World" opposite Jonathan Rhys-Davies, as well as its sequel "The Return to the Lost World" (1992). In 1994, McCormack landed the role of Colonel Clay Mosby on the syndicated "Lonesome Dove" spin-off series, "Lonesome Dove: The Series" (CTV, 1994-95). After playing the dashing colonel for two years, he went on to portray a selfish businessman who learns to love in "Borrowed Hearts: A Holiday Romance" (CBS, 1997) and a cheating husband mixed-up in a blackmail plot in the HBO film "Exception to the Rule" (1997). Next, the versatile actor tapped his comedic side in episodes of "Townies" (ABC, 1996), "Veronica's Closet" (NBC, 1997-2000) and "Ally McBeal" (Fox, 1997-2002). In 1998, McCormack appeared in the stinker feature film "Holy Man" with Eddie Murphy and Jeff Goldblum, as well as starred in the independent feature and now cult classic, "Free Enterprise." The film, about two filmmakers obsessed with William Shatner and "Star Trek," struck a chord with Trekkie geeks around the world. The fact that the filmmakers were able to talk Shatner into appearing as himself in a not-so-positive light, was even more amazing.

Although McCormack was originally scheduled to appear as a regular on Jenny McCarthy's ill-fated 1997 NBC sitcom, "Jenny," he was replaced after the pilot was shot. Having impressed NBC executives, however, he was offered the part of Will Truman, an unlucky-in-love New York attorney who happens to be gay, in the pilot for "Will & Grace" (NBC, 1998-2006). Directed and executive produced by "Friends" (NBC, 1994-2004) and "Frasier" (NBC, 1993-2004) veteran and TV legend James Burrows, the show centered on Will and his straight, Jewish best friend Grace Adler, as they struggled to find love while maintaining their own co-dependent relationship. Though McCormack had initial reservations about committing to a new series, to say nothing of playing a gay man, the sitcom became an instant hit, earning McCormack, as well as the rest of the cast and crew, multiple Emmy nominations. In November of 2001, McCormack won the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for his role on the show. Playing the flawed but charming Will as an unaffected everyman, McCormack helped squash gay stereotypes and introduced many Americans to their first openly homosexual man. Though some were displeased with the series' gay focus, the critical and commercial success of the show spoke volumes. With its growing popularity, long list of famous guest stars, and award-winning status, the series ran for eight seasons until May of 2006.

With all of his success, McCormack was offered many other roles while on the series. McCormack made his Broadway debut in 2001 starring as Harold Hill in "The Music Man." He appeared in "The Audrey Hepburn Story" (Fox, 2000) opposite Jennifer Love Hewitt, hosted "Saturday Night Live" (NBC, 1975- ) in 2002, and appeared in a recurring role as Ray Summers on Showtime's "Dead Like Me" (2003-04). In 2004, he teamed up with Michael Forman to form the production company Big Cattle Productions. With projects in development at NBC, UPN and USA, 2006 marked McCormack's first executive producing credit with the Lifetime improv comedy series "Lovespring International" (2006- ) on which he also guest-starred. Also in 2006, McCormack landed a starring role in the American premiere of the Neil Labute off-Broadway comedy "Some Girls" with Fran Drescher and Maura Tierney.

Back on television, McCormack appeared as a journalist investigating a government cover-up in the remake of Michael Crichton's science-fiction classic "The Andromeda Strain" (A&E, 2008), a two-part miniseries produced by Ridley and Tony Scott. Working on another genre project with an almost exponentially smaller budget, he joined the cast of the kitschy cult movie "Alien Trespass" (2009), an homage to sci-fi pictures of the 1950s. That same year, McCormack joined an ensemble cast that included Renée Zellweger and Kevin Bacon for "My One and Only" (2009), a road trip movie loosely based on the early life of actor George Hamilton. Playing a sort of heterosexual version of Will, he co-starred with Tom Cavanaugh in "Trust Me" (TNT, 2009), a short-lived series about two friends working at a high-profile ad agency. McCormack garnered favorable notices as the star of the crime biopic "Who Is Clark Rockefeller?" (Lifetime, 2010) as the eponymous German con man/impersonator. Also that year, he took on a recurring role as the title character's therapist/love interest during the final season of Julia Louis-Dreyfus' sitcom "The New Adventures of Old Christine" (CBS, 2006-2010) and lent his voice to the children's animated series "Pound Puppies" (The Hub, 2010- ).