A Likable Character in Hollywood? Neal McDonough’s Faith, Fidelity Has Cost Him

For more than a year Hollywood has been working on the role of a lifetime, playing an idealistic, naive industry suddenly shocked -- shocked! -- to learn it’s full of pervs and casting couch horndogs. The performance, including tears, almost believable surprise and deft use of hashtag props has mostly earned rave reviews from critics who call it a “brave” performance.

So it’s a genuinely pleasant surprise to come across actor Neal McDonough, whose life -- on and off camera -- contrasts so sharply with his freak-show contemporaries. A self-described “devout Catholic,” McDonough has been happily married to model Ruvé Robertson since 2003 and he takes his vows so seriously he won’t film love scenes. According to Closer Weekly, he “won’t kiss any other woman because these lips are meant for one woman.”

Wow, that’s almost Mike Pence weird. McDonough (Band of Brothers, Flags of Our Fathers, Desperate Housewives, Justified) admits that his devotion has taken a toll on his career. He was fired from the show Scoundrels in 2010 because of it, “and I couldn’t get a job because everybody thought I was this religious zealot. I am very religious. I put God and family first, and me second.”

But McDonough says, “I go to church every day and say thank you to God for everything he’s given me … most importantly, thank you for giving me Ruvé.” And not every show insisted he compromise:

When [creator] Marc Cherry signed me, I said, “I’m sure you know, but I won’t kiss anybody.” He was like, “But this is Desperate Housewives!” I said, “I know.” He paused for about five seconds and said, “All right, I’m just going to have to write better.” And we had a great time.

“Write better?” In Hollywood? Crazy talk.

Oh, something else that makes McDonough a little different in Hollywood: he’s a patriot. His character on the new show Project Blue Book:

He totally believes the U.S. is the greatest country ever, as do I. My dad came over from Ireland and walked straight into the Army office and said, “Make me an American,” and they shipped him overseas for five years. That’s deeply in my blood, so when I get to play guys like I did in Band of Brothers or Flags of Our Fathers who bleed red, white and blue, it’s great for me.”

And for us. Here’s hoping we see McDonough in plenty more of those roles. Hollywood desperately needs more likable characters.

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