Did Mehcad Brooks from “Necessary Roughness” play football before becoming an actor?
—Alicia Perez, Topeka, Kan.
Brooks, 32, was an athlete and played a bit of football (his father is former NFL wide receiver Bobby Brooks), but that wasn’t his main sport. Growing up in Austin, Texas, he attended L.C. Anderson High School, where he was an all-state basketball player. In his senior year, he was offered a basketball scholarship to Yale, but he turned it down in order to attend the University of Southern California’s School of Cinema-Television.
Of his background, he says, “It fits into TK [Terence King, his character on ‘Necessary Roughness’] pretty obviously in the fact that like basketball, football takes a lot of coordination, dedication and practice, and you hate to lose. [It also takes] a competitive nature and striving to be better every day, but that’s what sports is about.”
Brooks says he applies that same commitment and enthusiasm to his acting career, pointing out that for every role, there are hundreds of actors going after it, making acting a difficult career choice.
“‘I’m from Central Texas and had no background in the arts,” he says. “My family is all academia. For me, coming off the plane in ’99, it was like, ‘Okay. What do I do?’ The only thing I could do was apply what I had learned in sports and academia and be competitive, but mainly, compete against myself. Compete against the person I was yesterday and try to be better than that.”
Brooks also modeled during his high school and college years, landing a prestigious job as an underwear model for Calvin Klein. His first acting break came with guest-starring roles on “Malcolm in the Middle,” “Boston Public,” “One on One,” “Cold Case,” “Alcatraz” and “Law & Order: SVU.” He also starred in the Disney TV movie “Tiger Cruise,” “The Deep End,” “The Game,” “My Generation” and the second seasons of “True Blood” and “Desperate Housewives.”
His film roles include “Fencewalker,” “Just Wright,” “Creature,” “In the Valley of Elah” and “Glory Road.”
“The biggest life lesson I learned is probably also the biggest career lesson that I learned, and it’s that no matter what it is, and no matter what you’re doing, and no matter how you may feel day-to-day, never take something that you love for granted,” he says. “I love being on ‘Necessary Roughness.’ But when you’re in the thick of things sometimes with 14-hour days and so on and so forth, you can start taking it for granted.”