One of the top television series of the summer of 2013 has a Harford County native among its cast members, an actor who has spent nearly 25 years working with some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry.
"I just thought I really wanted to do that with my life," Edgewood native Johnathon Schaech (pronounced "sheck") said in a telephone interview Friday, recalling his first taste of acting as a student at UMBC in the late 1980s.
"I was at the age where I thought I could do anything," he continued.
Schaech, 43, spoke from his hotel room in New Orleans, where he is working on production of the series "Star-Crossed," which is scheduled to premiere in the middle of the 2013-2014 television season on the CW network.
The series is about a group of teenagers from another planet who are being integrated into a local high school. Schaech plays the group's adult leader.
He said the series takes the theme of school integration during the 1960s "to a whole different level."
The 1987 Edgewood High School graduate and son of Joseph and Joanne Schaech, of the greater Bel Air area, can also be seen on the Showtime premium cable series "Ray Donovan." The first season is airing and can be seen Sundays at 10 p.m.
Johnathon Schaech plays the character Sean Walker, a Hollywood star who is indebted to the title character, played by film and Tony Award-winning stage actor Liev Schreiber.
Ray Donovan is a South Boston native who has moved to Los Angeles with his wife and children and works as a "fixer," getting the rich and famous out of career-killing situations.
Donovan must also protect his family from his father, Mickey, who is played by veteran Oscar-winning film actor, Jon Voight. Mickey Donovan was recently released from prison and shows up in L.A. during the premiere episode, which aired June 30.
Schaech said he had three scenes in a recent episode with Voight, when he delivered "the best lines I've ever had in my life."
"Ray Donovan" debuted with 1.4 million viewers, "the premium cable network's best-ever ratings for an original series premiere," according to the Los Angeles Times.
The series continues to post strong ratings, and Showtime ordered a second season, according to TV Guide's website. The series was created by Ann Biderman, writer for the long-running hit ABC series "NYPD Blue," and creator of the TNT police drama "Southland."
"She's a sweet woman who just knows hard core crime drama," Schaech said of Biderman.
He based his performance as Sean Walker on a viewing of now-megastar Tom Cruise while in college.
"He's got everything in the world that he wants, except his sanity," Schaech said of his character Walker.
Among the heavy hitters
Actors and writers such as Biderman, Schreiber and Voight are, however, far from the first people at the top of the Hollywood food chain whom Schaech has worked with.
He studied economics at UMBC, but discovered his passion after taking an acting course.
"I've always been a dreamer," he said.