Getting a Clue in Tinseltown

Actor, Eric Close of the television series 'Without A Trace', decided that he no longer wanted to go it alone.

Eric Close

Three years ago Entertainment Weekly called Eric Close one of the "Top Ten Stars to Watch." But his TV show Now and Again was cancelled after only one season, despite critical acclaim. Now Close is back in a new hit drama series Without a Trace (CBS, Thursdays, 10 p.m., eastern). He plays Martin Fitzgerald, the newest member of an FBI missing-persons unit that pieces together a variety of clues to locate the missing. "This show is something contemporary and deals with real issues," says Close.

Without a Trace is actually the sixth series the actor has starred in over the last decade. Each one promised to be Close's big break, but none of them lasted long. But the actor says his faith has kept him focused throughout the dry spells. Married with two children, Close, 35, is a founding member of Dreammakers, an L.A.-based non-profit group that takes disadvantaged youths on adventure trips.

The New York native knows the importance of reaching young people early. He found faith in God as a student at a Christian school when he was just 13. "I think that age is naturally a time when you are searching, asking a lot of questions," says Close.

Close confesses that in the decade following his time at that Christian school, "I made this decision to go my own way and not follow [God]". After he graduated from USC, he became yet another struggling actor in L.A., looking for a big break. That's when he reevaluated his life. "I was thinking about my future, and I was feeling empty. Then I started thinking back to when I had accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior. So I sat there alone in my apartment and prayed. I said I've done everything my own way, but if You'll come back into my life, I'll give you everything.' That's when I really made a commitment to follow him." Close laughs, "It's been an amazing adventure. There have been times when I have been discouraged, but it helps to know God is always with me."

Whether Without a Trace remains a ratings hit or becomes another miss, Close seems more concerned about the impact his life might have on the people he works with on the set. "I feel like God has me here [on the show] for a reason. I pray that he would give me the courage and wisdom to share my faith in a loving way."

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