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WMU grad lands role on 'Desperate Housewives'

Oct. 31, 2005

KALAMAZOO--A graduate from the Western Michigan University Department of Theatre with a penchant for Shakespeare and high tolerance for hard work has won a role on the hit television series Desperate Housewives.

Page Kennedy, 28, a Detroit native and 2000 graduate of WMU, was revealed Oct. 24 to be "Caleb," a fugitive from justice locked in a Wisteria Lane basement and held in secret by neighborhood newcomer Betty Applewhite (Alfre Woodard). Until Sunday, Kennedy had remained a barely glimpsed mystery figure on the show.

Kennedy's role is evolving over time, but it is believed he will have a recurring role on the show. Since emerging from the shadows, he has been careful not to say much about his new part.

"I do know that he's sweet, but he can be very dangerous," Kennedy told The Associated Press.

Those who know Kennedy at WMU are not surprised by his rise to fame.

"He's naturally gifted," says Dr. Joan Herrington, department chair, who directed Kennedy in Richard III. "But he's also maybe the most hard-working student actor we've ever had in the department. He's just incredibly focused and does everything he can to succeed."

Since graduating, Kennedy has been no stranger to his alma mater, where he fell in love with Shakespeare. He has returned several times to talk to students about what it takes to succeed in acting.

"He's been truly inspiring to them in the kind of focus and dedication needed to succeed in the business," Herrington says. "He's naturally talented, but he has attained success because he's worked so hard. So he's been an inspiration to students who think they'll just go out and be a star."

Herrington says it's always exciting when one of the department's alums goes on to bigger and better things. Kennedy, she says, has made his breaks through plain hard work.

"He's made himself incredibly knowledgeable about the business," she says. "When he auditions, he knows exactly what they're looking for, and that's no accident."

Kennedy moved to Los Angeles five years ago and since then has worked steadily, appearing as a football player who dies of a heat stroke in the HBO series "Six Feet Under" and making his film debut in "S.W.A.T." in 2003. He's also in the upcoming film "In the Mix," opening on Nov. 23, his birthday, and has appeared on Showtime's "Barber Shop."

Herrington says Kennedy, who has family in Detroit and Grand Rapids, always likes to come back to Michigan and has maintained very close ties to WMU, often spending two days at a time sitting down and talking to theatre classes.

"There's a humility and wonder that he has for his own success," Herrington says. "He'll say things like, 'Can you believe I'm on TV?' To him, its like a fairy godmother has come down and given this to him. But luck has nothing to do with it. He's earned it."

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, (269) 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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