Actor David Walton was never quite sure what he did for a living. After all, he’d starred in several sitcoms and was viewed in Hollywood as a “romantic leading man,” but for a while he couldn’t get arrested if he panhandled on Sunset Boulevard.

“I started my part-timing right after I got ‘Cracking Up’ and that was hard because there’s this ego thing,” says Walton in the lobby lounge of a hotel here in Pasadena, California. “’I’m an actor now. I don’t need another job.’ People go, ‘What do you do for a living?’ ‘I’m an actor, a real actor. I don’t have to wait tables.’

“You say that enough because in that phase everyone says that. But what is the definition of an actor? … It was really a struggle to make a living as an actor. But I think that struggle oddly is what life’s all about, and the striving and all that stuff is important to experience, I think.”

While living in an 800 sq-ft apartment with a roommate in New York, he sold knives, catered parties and waited tables.

But the striving finally paid off 10 years later as Walton is starring in one of NBC’s brighter comedies, About a Boy, in which he plays the laidback neighbour of an uptight single mother. The comedy rolls when he begins to mentor her precocious son against her wishes — a modern take on the odd couple.

But when he was 25 Walton almost quit. “Right before 100 Questions I was training to make cold calls,” he nods.

“Before I got Heist I was looking up all my friends and I had investment banking avenues open for me. I was like, ‘What’s the point? You gave it a shot.’ I said. ‘I think I’m just going to be a banker.’

“My friend said, ‘You’ve been on two network shows, what are you thinking?’ ‘Yeah, but I’m not making a living.’ I remember saying, ‘I don’t want to be 30 going in for, like, CW guest stars.’”

Walton had already inhaled the sweet smell of success, and it intoxicated him. But following his first show, he didn’t work for a year and a half. “I was so cocky. I started off so cocky because I was in New York, sort of bumbling around. All of a sudden I had this pilot, this holding deal and all this stuff,” he recalls.

“And I was like, ‘Oh, wow. I did it.’ And I just kind of coasted. I didn’t take auditions seriously. I thought, ‘Everyone gets me, I don’t have to know the lines, they’ll just get me.’ It’s not true. I think that experience of crashing back to Earth has helped me not take anything for granted and be a lot more appreciable of where I am now.”

Walton credits his wife of three years, actress Majandra Delfino (“Roswell”), with setting him straight. “I don’t think there’s any coincidence that my career started to go like this (he swings his arm above his head) the minute I started dating her.

“She’s a very good actress, so it’s everything from working on auditions with her and having her give insight. She’s incredibly perceptive, and she knows me better than I almost know myself. And she kind of sat me down and said, ‘Here are your strengths which you don’t realise. You can pretend to be this douchy whatever, but you’re the sweetest guy I’ve ever met. And stop hiding that.’ I know how much she loves me so there’s never any doubt of that, which is where I think you start getting into trouble, when you’re not feeling the love from that person and they’re being critical,” he says.

They are the parents of a daughter, 2, and a son, 5 months. Walton says it was the birth of his second child that taught him the true meaning of fatherhood. “In some weird way my first child felt like my wife’s — those first six months constantly breast feeding. When we had the second, I felt I was able to pick up the dad reins and take care of my oldest, the 1-year-old, while my wife tended to the newborn.

“It was like, ‘Whoa!’ That was when my life really changed as far as free time — all these things — but there’s a certain realisation all that difficulty and sacrifice — on the other side of that there’s this really rich and rewarding feeling. I would say it was only when I had two kids that I felt I had a real family. I think it’s made me gentler. I’m learning how to be patient.”

Source: Gulf Times

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