Before Eric McCormack landed the hit role of Will Truman on Will & Grace, he struggled with nailing auditions. The beloved actor opened up about the time his manager suggested he lose weight to snag more roles in the late ’90s.
Eric, 57, explained that in 1997, he tried out for a spot on Jenny McCarthy’s shortlived series, Jenny. At the time, the Hollywood star said he was approached by his former manager, Joan Hyler, and was told he had to do something about his heavier appearance.
“It’s very easy in a Calgary winter — when you have a beard and several layers of clothing — to disguise what beer will do to a man,” the Canada native jokingly shared with 92Y on Friday, April 24. “And when the beard came off — Wow! I was not going to be on Melrose Place the next day, let’s put it that way. And I was in denial about it.”
“I’d gone in and I’d done really well and it looked like it was going to go my way,” Eric continued. “The next audition — the final audition — wasn’t for two weeks. My manager at the time … God bless her, she said, ‘You’ve got two weeks … get your face back.’”
Although Eric said he was taken aback by his then-manager’s disheartening suggestion, he said the feedback was a “very big turning point” in his career. Ultimately, the Travelers actor seized the role of Jason Slade on Jenny.
“By the time I got to the pilot … I had discovered the new unbearded me,” Eric hilariously added.
Following his one-episode run on the former comedy show, Eric landed his biggest role on the iconic sitcom Will & Grace. He starred on the hit series alongside Debra Messing, Megan Mullally and Sean Hayes from 1998 to 2006. However, the TV show returned with a revival in 2017.
At the time the spinoff aired, Eric exclusively opened up to Closer Weekly about the “completely surreal” feeling he had being back on the set.
“I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that almost all of the faces are the same,” he gushed at the time. “If [director] James Burrows, or if someone had changed their appearance entirely, if we lost key players, it wouldn’t work, but it feels like yesterday. That is still unsettling for us, in a great way, but it’s completely bananas.”
We can always count on Eric to keep it real!