Search Mark Moses’ name on IMDB and you will find quite the impressive acting résumé. A former quarterback for the Evanston Township High School WildKits, Moses has slowly yet surely built a career as a character actor with an extraordinary amount of range. We caught up with the actor, best known for his roles on the hits Desperate Housewives and Mad Men, to get the inside scoop on what really happens on set and how he caught the acting bug.
Which cast was more fun to work with—Desperate Housewives or Mad Men?
The first season on both shows with both casts was absolutely fantastic. Both were huge hits and everyone had an incredible time. Starting up a show is always the most exciting time for all actors, and, on both these shows, it was no different.
You’ve had numerous roles both on film and TV. Do you have a favorite role or character?
I would say that “Duck Phillips” was one of my favorites because he’s so complicated. “Paul Young” was fun because he had so many secrets, and playing “Lt. Wolfe” in Platoon, my first film, will always be memorable. But roles I have played on the stage—from Shakespeare to contemporary plays—have also been extremely challenging.
You were the quarterback on the football team at ETHS. How did you go from being a jock to an actor?
My parents moved from Evanston to St. Louis my junior year in high school, and I ended up living with my best friend’s family. It was a very emotional year, and I had trouble with authority figures at the time, one being my basketball coach. I was tossed off the team, and with nothing to do that winter, friends encouraged me to join a YMCA Brillianteen production of Li’l Abner. I had no interest in acting, so I signed up to build the sets. As always, there was a shortage of guys, and I ended up a dancer in the production. It was fun. I caught the “bug.”
Your brother, Burke, is an actor as well. Where did the two of you study?
I studied at Ithaca College, then NYU; my brother ended up at Carnegie Mellon. My brother is an exceptional musical talent. I can carry a tune, but I’m not in his musical league.
Do you get back to the North Shore at all? What are some of your favorite places to visit?
Right now, my favorite place to visit is the baseball field at Northwestern University, because my older son, Walker, is playing for the Wildcats. I also enjoy seeing friends, two of whom own restaurants, so I’m often at the Union [Pizzeria] or Davis Street Fish Market.
Did you rub shoulders with any of the Cusacks or Pivens while at ETHS?
Since graduating and getting into show biz, I’ve played a husband to both Joan and Ann Cusack in different movies on television—both of them are great. I have not worked with John or Jeremy, and our paths never crossed at ETHS because I was a jock and they were into acting.
You’ve appeared in a number of Oliver Stone films. What is he like to work with?
Very interesting man, and a very good filmmaker. A little crazy, but who isn’t?
Did you and co-star (Wilmette native) Joel Murray ever get a chance to reminisce about the North Shore while on the Mad Men set?
Oh, yeah—often over cocktails at Mad Men events. We also did a musical Mad Men revue in Las Vegas, where Joel was the MC and I sang a Dean Martin song, “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head.” Tom Jones opened for us! We had a blast.
What’s your favorite 1950s cocktail?
What is one thing someone wouldn’t expect to know about you?
Some people say I have a good sense of humor. Of course, it’s all a matter of taste. In my case, bad taste.
Describe your perfect day.
Watching one of my boys play baseball, going out to dinner with my wife and friends, taking in a good play, movie, or music.
Any predictions as to what Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner has in store for the upcoming sixth season?
None. And if I did know and I told you—I’d have to kill you.