Memories From the Set

Memories from the Set: Eric McCormack Talks Roles on Ally McBeal, Outer Limits, Will & Grace and More

Eric McCormack Perception Memories From the Set

A recurring feature in which we ask your favorite stars to reminisce about past gigs

In his nearly 30 years on television, Perception star Eric McCormack has played a spaceman, a Confederate colonel, a handful of lawyers and a dog, among other characters. But the through line that led to his best-known role started quite early, on an ABC dramedy not known for its edginess.

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Upon arriving in Vancouver in 1992, the first job he landed was on The Commish, “playing a bartender in a gay bar. It was a premonition of things to come.”

McCormack’s next gig “was a Canadian show called Neon Rider, in which I played a guy that sits in an office. A woman thought I was coming onto her and sexually harassing her, and finally I have [to say], ‘Uh, Diane? I’m gay.’ So the theme was starting.”

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The Canadian actor later would become a Must See TV staple as Will Truman, the gay best friend of Debra Messing’s character, on the NBC hit comedy Will & Grace. That role, which won him an Emmy in 2001, was a joy — but also a departure from his previous work, he tells TVLine.

“All of my focus at theater school in my 20s was drama, bad guys, troubled heroes,” he says. “It wasn’t really until Seinfeld and Friends that I went, ‘Wow, I’d like to do that.'”

McCormack returned to drama for his current job, portraying schizophrenic genius Daniel Pierce on the TNT drama (Tuesdays, 10/9c). At TVLine’s request, he gave us a behind-the-scenes look at some of his more memorable roles.

Browse the gallery  below to hear what the Will & Grace alum recalls about Ally McBealLonesome Dove: The SeriesThe Outer Limits and more.


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  1. enri says:

    I enjoy watching Perception. I hope it gets renewed for another season.

  2. N says:

    I loved WIll & Grace !

  3. bonniew88 says:

    One of my favorite Christmas movies is Borrowed Hearts. I watch it every year.

  4. herman1959 says:

    I hadn’t heard about Perception, but it sounds worth checking out. I can’t get TNT; is it on Hulu Plus or Netflix?

  5. Steven says:

    I love these segments. As much as I enjoy Ally McBeal I can see why it may not be a lot of fun for guest stars.

  6. Ame says:

    I freaking LOVED the show Trust Me, with Tom Cavanaugh. It raised my blood pressure since I worked in Advertising as well, at the time, but I LOVED it. A lot of people panned it as not realistic, but it was almost verbatim some of the events in the agency I worked in. So similar it was sometimes chill-inducing.

    • Emma says:

      I used to watch that show, too! I’m surprised they didn’t mention it at all in this article, since he was one of the two leads and a lot of the other parts they mentioned were much smaller and seem less significant. Weird.

  7. phredd says:

    No mention of his stint on “…Old Christine”? He and Julia made and odd couple, but they were quite funny!

  8. Michael says:

    great feature, Kim