Less than an hour after the Los Angeles Times e-mailed an interview request to an actor's manager, the telephone rang.
It wasn't a publicist demanding to know the parameters of the interview, where the story would be placed or how big the photos would be. It was the actor himself, and in his unassuming way, he agreed to meet with a reporter.
This is not how it usually goes in Hollywood, but T.R. Knight doesn't seem interested in most things Hollywood. Before Grey's Anatomy transformed his life, he was a Minnesotan who passed up college to become a N.Y. City theater actor.
But then he signed on to what has become a TV phenomenon, and T.R. Knight's personal and professional life took some twists and turns he could have never foreseen when he was toiling in "Noises Off" or "Tartuffe" on Broadway.
How could a struggling actor ever figure on landing a leading gig on one of TV's biggest shows only to be impelled to come out as a gay man when tabloid coverage of an on-set fight made his sexuality an unexpected target?
In person, T.R. Knight, 34, is polite and is a slow and cautious speaker who becomes a lot more animated when he is not talking about himself.
His decision to forgo the publicity machine followed a remarkable season for Grey's Anatomy, which undoubtedly will go down as one of the most important, if not most difficult, years in his life.
"You know, when you get [to L.A.], people say you should do this, and this is what you have to do," Knight said. "And I just think that sometimes it takes a little bit for you to figure it out yourself and see where your comfort is. This is just a more low-key approach. It's not like you've got hundreds of people a day trying to get at you. That's someone else. That's not me. Flying under the radar is preferable many times. I like this for now. I do."
The very popular Grey's Anatomy won the Golden Globe Award for best drama in January and has been nominated for five of the top Emmy categories, including best drama and best supporting actor for Knight.
He has received the honor for his turn as the lovable, bumbling underdog George O'Malley, who must start over as an intern in Season Four after failing his exam.
But instead of reveling in the sweet times, the Grey's Anatomy cast had its third season marred by the ugly behind-the-scenes controversy that began with Isaiah Washington's on-set homophobic slur in October and ignited when he repeated it at the Golden Globes in front of an international press.
The end of the season should have brought much-needed relief, but after Isaiah Washington was not offered a new contract in June, he embarked on a tell-all publicity tour that has yet to make its final stop.
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