Whitefish Bay's Sam Page is best known for his role as Trey on the soap "All My Children," on ABC. He was recently named one of People magazine's Hottest Bachelors.
You can add captain of his high school football and baseball teams at Whitefish Bay High School to his resume. His stellar good looks would make Tom Cruise yearn for younger days.
His story is quite unique. After completing his degree at Princeton University in a brain wrenching-curriculum, Page decided he would become an actor. Keep in mind, he hadn't even acted in a single high school play before heading to the West Coast. Page was resigned to the fact that the journey might take two weeks, or two decades, but the resolve was there.
We caught up with him on a recent visit to Milwaukee.
OMC:When did you know you wanted to be an actor?
SP: It was during my senior year at Princeton. I came home and told my mom and dad I was moving to Hollywood to become an actor. I don't think the mystique of the "struggling actor" was the allure for me. When I arrived in California, I knew I had a lot to learn as an actor, as opposed to someone who had already made acting an art for him or herself. You see pretty quickly there are some guys that have it and some that do not.
OMC: What were your first impressions of Hollywood?
SP: One thing I found out after being in Hollywood for four years is that success doesn't just "happen" to anybody. It's good copy in magazines to say this guy was picked up off the street or he drove his friend to an audition and he ended up getting the part. But that doesn't happen.
OMC: What were your early dreams?
SP: Like a lot of young men, in high school, I wanted to play professional baseball. After witnessing first hand that baseball turns more into a business at each level of play, I sort of became disenchanted with it. I still love the game and what players are able to do.
OMC: Has fame been a bitch?
SP: I'm not recognized that often. My friends aren't made to feel uncomfortable in public. People are nice and say congratulations, but they don't make me or the people I'm with feel awkward.
OMC: How has your family reacted to your success?
SP: When I was a kid, my sisters made me watch "Days of Our Lives." They give me a lot of guff all the time, they watch the show. They give me some heat about my character's name, and concoct last names for "Trey," not always flattering names.
OMC: What helped prepare you for your grueling television schedule?
SP: At one point in college, I took a summer semester of organic chemistry at Marquette that met twice a week and four hours at a time. Later the same day I'd work on the landscaping crew at Marquette for several hours, then I'd go to Brew City where I worked as a bar-back A regime like that prepared me for just about anything.
OMC: Are you an easy going person?
SP: I was the type of kid where my parents would have to tell me after we lost a soccer game or a baseball game, "calm down, it's not that big of a deal." I've set such high standards for myself throughout my life. If there was an instance where I didn't do as well as I knew I could have, it would bother me.
OMC:What was your major at Princeton?
SP: Ecology and evolutionary biology.
OMC: Do you think of Milwaukee when you're away?
SP: When I come back it's almost a re-centering. You tend to remember what motivated you to go forward with your dreams in the first place, where those thoughts originated. When you're back here, you get to slough off that coating you're almost required to wear in New York or Hollywood. You find yourself back with your family dog, sleeping in your own bed, going out to lunch with old friends. Milwaukee seems to have gone back and focused on its heritage. I see that in the resurrection of the Third Ward and the downtown area. As an actor, it's great to see Milwaukee investing in its artistic community.
OMC: Do you have some advice for those considering acting as a profession?
SP: Learn to let loose, not have a plan, to give over complete control to acting. I'm grateful for my success and I embrace it. I don't want to say all of it has been good luck because I think luck is only good if you take advantage of it. For me, it's never been about money or fame, I truly love what I'm doing, but I always want to be learning. I know which actors are doing which project; I read the trade papers. I know who the up and coming actors and directors are, which independent films are being made.