After many months of a nationwide search Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother) was cast at age 16 as the infamous Doogie Howser, MD by show creator Steven Bochco ( NYPD Blues, LA Law, Raising the Bar).
Before starting production, Steven took Neil and his parents to dinner and gave him this advice:
“A career in acting is like surfing. You paddle out and paddle out and get wet and hit by the waves. When you finally get out where you’re supposed to be you have to sit on a surfboard for a long, long time, just waiting. If you’re really lucky, you’ll catch a wave, and it’ll be the most amazing feeling. But the key is that that wave will inevitably crash to the sand. Then what you have to do is paddle back out and get hit by a bunch of waves again. But trust that in the long term there will always be waves to catch.”
Thinking back on this advice, Neil Patrick Harris said, “It turns out (to be) absolutely accurate.”
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