Christian Slater is one of my favorite actors. How did he get started?
—Betty Ostrovsky, Boise, Idaho
For Slater, 42, becoming an actor was mostly a matter of joining the family business. His father, Michael Hawkins, is an actor, and his mother, Mary Jo Slater, is a casting director and producer. The native New Yorker was 12 when he landed his first role in the 1981 film The Postman Always Rings Twice. “I have been acting now for 34 years,” he says. “I started in theater. My dad was the original Frank Ryan on Ryan’s Hope. I used to follow him around backstage and watch him from the wings. I think that had a great effect on me, a great deal of influence on the types of characters that I like to play, and the type of actor that I am.”