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Scott Wolf Opens Up New Personal As Well As Professional Chapter

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Scott Wolf opens up a new chapter in his professional life with his role in "Perception," beginning with the TNT show's second season premiere June 25. The series marks a new chapter in his personal life as well.

For a few years, the actor, who rose to fame as "Party of Five" heartthrob Bailey Salinger, and his wife Kelley and their son Jackson were living in Park City, Utah. Now they're back in the Los Aangeles environs.

"I think hiding out in the mountains had its time, and we loved our life out there. We still do; we still have a home there. But I was definitely wanting to be busier," he tells us. "Busy, if we were living there, would have meant a lot of time in hotel rooms and airplanes, and we were about to have our second child," he adds, speaking of son Miller, now six months old. "I knew I didn't want to be cheated out of a moment in the house with the family. So, it just made sense for us to be around town."

Wolf points out, "You never know — the next show could take you to North Carolina or Toronto or anyplace. The fact it arrived just three miles down the road was just a gift that keeps on giving."

In "Perception," he plays Donnie, the assistant U.S. attorney who is soon to be the ex-husband of Rachael Leigh Cook's character — which instantly sets up a triangle with Eric McCormack's neuroscientist-university professor. Wolf is relishing the part, which is different from any of his other roles, including "Everwood's" Dr. Jake Hartman and "V's" Chad Decker.

"The cherry on top of the sundae in this 'Perception' experience has been working with Ken Biller, the show runner — and Eric and Rachael and the rest of the cast are really, really great people making a great show. They've restored my faith a little bit. This is how I think it's supposed to be," gushes the nice-guy actor.

He's interested in work life beyond "Perception" as well.

"I went through a period of years where building my family was the priority for me and so — not that I wasn't interested in working. But I just feel like I'm in a place now where I'm ready to work in a way I haven't been in a while. We're still in production on 'Perception.' It's good to be back in town. Obviously this is where everything begins, and the process of snooping around finding other [roles] has me very excited."

Wolf already has two independent features in the offing. "One is called 'The Volunteer,' that I did late last summer. That's finding its way through festivals now. And I'm working on one called 'Such Good People' now — a little independent film that's shot here in LA that's really fun. If 'The Volunteer' was more dramatic, this one is more comedic," he says, speaking of the movie about a couple that finds a secret room full of cash while housesitting for rich friends.

He is certainly finding time for family as well. The Wolfs had a bake sale right out on their street recently — four-year-old Jackson's idea — to raise money for Malaria No More. Scott and Kelley met while working on behalf of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, and he proudly talks about his wife inculcating a philanthropic worldview into their children.

"A lot of the credit goes to my wife for that," he says of the bake sale. "But it was something to have a four-year-old sort of suggest it. It was pretty cool."

Could a child so young really understand what it was all about?

"It seems like it," answers Scott. "There was a brief moment afterward where we said, 'Now we send the money to this place,' and he was like, 'Hang on.'" He laughs. "But we explained to him that there are other kids who aren't as lucky who need his help, and he was all for it. You know, at some point in his life we know we'll be traveling to places and putting them a little more in contact with people that they're helping, doing things like that. And it will be a part of their lives. It was definitely a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon and it was pretty cool to see our kid already thinking that way."

Indeed.

When Wolf says that he has no complaints these days, and he smiles that smile, it's not hard to believe.

COPYRIGHT 2013 MARILYN BECK AND STACY JENEL SMITH

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