Some people get into acting for the attention or the money or the chance to be someone else. But John C. McGinley joined to tell stories.
The McGinley home was a gathering place for neighborhood kids who would often join him and his four siblings for dinner. If you went back for seconds, his mother insisted on two rules: You had to clean your plate and you had to tell a story.
He’s been telling stories ever since.
“I thought journalism or sports journalism was going to be the entry into that storytelling capacity, but journalism led me to be an actor,” said McGinley, who co-starred as the taskmaster Dr. Cox for 9 1/2 years on “Scrubs.”
It was at New York University that McGinley’s passion for storytelling was reinforced. “I treated NYU like actor boot camp and they loved it … I was there at the exact right time in the exact right mind-frame.”
With 70 films — including “Platoon,” “Office Space” and “Get Carter” — and 200 episodes of “Scrubs” under his belt, the last thing he longed to do was another TV show. But on Nov. 14, McGinley returns in TBS’s new comedy, “Ground Floor.”
He plays a self-made and bombastic boss overseeing a pack of ambitious young money managers in this workplace comedy.
While series work is often more convenient than working in film for actors, McGinley said, “I was doing something even better than a series for a guy who has a life, I was just having my life because ‘Scrubs’ had afforded me that luxury.
The executive producer of both “Scrubs” and “Ground Floor” convinced him to re-up.
McGinley and his first wife have a son, 16, who was born with Down syndrome. He’s the father of two girls, 5 and 3, with his second wife, Nicole, to whom he’s been married seven years.
Family has always served as a beacon in his life. He understood that when his brother, Mark, was trapped on the 63rd floor of the second World Trade Center tower on 9/11.
“He made it out and is fine,” McGinley said. “It made me realize how desperately fragile this whole thing is, and that people can go away in a second. Three thousand people went away that day.”
The birth of his son, he says, taught him life’s biggest lesson. “I had no idea what love was until I met Max,” he said.