A Work in Progress

Warehouse 13 star Eddie McClintock reflects on his days at Wright State, his acting career, and becoming the man he is today

When Eddie McClintock was a student at Wright State University in the late ’80s and early ’90s, becoming a successful Hollywood actor was about the furthest thing from his mind.

“I was not a great student. I didn’t know what I was going to do with my life,” McClintock recalled.

The native of North Canton, Ohio, enjoyed spending most of his time on the wrestling mat or hitting the social scene while being less attentive to his classwork.

After wrestling for three years, McClintock began hanging out with some of the theatre majors. When he auditioned for a role in a student film, he realized that maybe he could try being an actor.

McClintock’s greatest life lesson at Wright State came from his communication professor, Lew Shupe. For his senior communication project, McClintock gave a presentation on the male anatomy, complete with visual aids. “I basically did a 15-minute standup,” he recalled.

Later, in an elevator with Shupe, McClintock had a conversation that helped change the course of his future.

“That was quite a presentation,” Shupe told McClintock. “I’m going to pass you, but I just want you to know that I have your number.”

For McClintock, it was one of those great aha moments in life. “I had gotten through life with the attitude that if you can’t dazzle them with your brilliance, baffle them with your bull.” Shupe had seen through McClintock’s bull and knew he could be more.

When McClintock graduated from Wright State in 1991 with a degree in communication studies, he was still trying to find his way and partying too much.

He moved to Los Angeles to sell corporate insurance for his uncle. That job only lasted a few months—it just wasn’t his thing. McClintock relocated to Hollywood, where he worked as a production assistant for a few years, sweeping cigarette butts, getting coffee, and delivering film.

When an actor in a Pringles commercial told McClintock “you should be doing what I’m doing,” he decided it was time to give acting a try.

“At my core, I knew I could do more than what I was doing,” he explained. “I just wasn’t allowing myself. I could not get out of my own way.”

McClintock addresses a group of theatre, motion pictures, and communication students during a recent visit to campus.

McClintock got sober and began taking acting classes with the renowned Ivana Chubbuck. Academy Award–winning actress Charlize Theron was one of McClintock’s classmates. The two became friends and would run lines together for auditions.

McClintock studied, worked hard, and went to class almost every night. “I wanted to learn,” he said. “I didn’t want to go into auditions and not be able to say that I had done my part. I wanted to walk the walk and talk the talk.”

Another friend from acting class, who had a bit part in the movie The Usual Suspects, referred McClintock to agent Ric Beddingfield.

Beddingfield, who has represented Ellen DeGeneres, Josh Hutcherson, and all of the Baldwin brothers, had a good feeling about McClintock and took him on as a client.

“He has been my closest friend, my closest work partner for 18 years,” says McClintock of Beddingfield, who also hails from Ohio. “He’s just an insanely good human being.”

After signing with Beddingfield, McClintock began a slew of guest appearances on such well-known shows as Friends, Bones, and Desperate Housewives. McClintock also made pilots for nine different TV series. The 10th TV pilot would turn out to be the charm.

Warehouse 13 became the most successful show in the history of the Syfy Channel, thanks in large part to the sense of humor that McClintock brought to the lead character, Secret Service agent Pete Lattimer.

“I always try to find something that allows me to be funny,” explained McClintock. “If it’s not out of place, I try to fit it in.” After Joanne Kelly, who played Myka, flubbed a line at the audition, McClintock’s comic timing helped land the lead roles for both actors.

When an executive producer of Warehouse 13 asked McClintock for input on his character, McClintock requested that Lattimer be a former U.S. Marine. “I think it’s important for us to support our men and women who sacrifice everything to give us what we have in this country,” he explained. He also wanted Lattimer to be a recovering alcoholic because “that’s who I am.”

McClintock even paid homage to his alma mater by sporting a Wright State Raiders T-shirt on the show.

Warehouse 13 ended in 2014 after five seasons and 64 episodes. Even though he has been acting for 18 years, McClintock is still fearful of when the next job is going to come along. As he was quick to point out, “You’re only as good as your last job.”

Coming Home

In October 2014, McClintock returned to Wright State to serve as master of ceremonies for the public launch of Rise. Shine. The Campaign for Wright State University. 

McClintock and Rowdy Raider at the Rise. Shine. launch

A lot had changed, both on campus and in McClintock himself. Today, McClintock is 14 years sober, happily married to his wife Lynn, and the proud father of two boys, Jack and Max.

“I’m proud of where I come from. Wright State University is part of that,” he said. “To be able to come back and speak to the students and give back to the school is a big deal for me.”

Addressing a group of theatre, motion pictures, and communication students, McClintock charmed each one of them with his wit, warmth, honesty, and self-deprecating sense of humor. “I’m still a work in progress,” he told them. “The more you get to know me, despite whatever flaws you find, you’ll see me as just a human being.”

Following the class, McClintock took the time to speak to each student, giving advice on how to get into the business followed by a heartfelt hug. Whether he’s visiting his alma mater or making an appearance at Comic Con, McClintock displays the same kindness and generosity to all of his fans.

“Eddie talks to each one of these people for a number of minutes and gets to know them,” said Beddingfield. “He’s really the most amazing, giving person. I don’t know anybody else who takes the time to do that.”

“I consider myself so lucky,” said McClintock. “I’m so lucky to have a wife, two babies, indoor plumbing, and a house. As an actor, to be doing what I love to do, to meet fans, to meet people that actually made it possible for me to send my kids to a proper school…I feel like the mayor of Sci-Fi Town.”

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