Most of us know actor Greg Grunberg from his roles on tv hits such as Heroes and Alias, but it turns out that acting isn’t his only passion. The doting dad-of-three is also an aspiring rock star (he plays the drums for Band From TV, a group of tv stars who play for charity), the founder of the very cool site TalkAboutIt.org that promotes epilepsy education, and the creator of the Yowza iPhone coupon app. Greg recently took time out to talk to Parade magazine about his busy schedule and happy home life with his wife Elizabeth and their boys Jake, Ben and Sam.
On his involvement with epilepsy awareness and education: “It’s interesting because I approach it from the father of a child who has epilepsy [son Jake, 13]. I’m incredibly passionate about it. It’s made me relate to anybody. Everybody’s got something they’re dealing with. I mean, I’ve got cholesterol that I have to watch. This is what we teach our son, don’t let it define you, but at the same time deal with it, don’t hide it or be ashamed of it.”
On being a very proud papa: “My kids are the ones who see another child or person in a wheelchair and walk up to them and go, ‘Hey what’s the matter? What happened?’ It’s not like they look out of the corner of their eye and they’re scared. They deal with this every day. Like a kid in class who might be autistic, they end up being their best friend. And Jake leads a walk in D.C. with 15,000 people behind him. He’s got his arms in the air and he’s leading this walk on the Mall and I’m really proud.”
On the inspiration behind TalkAboutIt.org: “I was getting ready for a speech on epilepsy and I was thinking, ‘If I’m going to make an impact, what does this community really need?’ From talking to all the top docs and people in the community, I kept hearing the same phrase in the back of my head, ‘If we could just get people to talk about this.’ If everyone knew about it, it wouldn’t be so scary. I thought, ‘Oh my God, that’s the answer!'”
On Yowza: “I have three kids and I’m always forgetting my Bed Bath and Beyond coupon, and I said, ‘Can’t somebody create something?’ And 10 months later, Yowza went live. It’s funny, my character on Felicity was always looking for the next big thing. J.J. Abrams, who created Felicity with Matt Reeves, is my best friend in the world. I’ve known him since I was three and when they were creating that character they went, ‘Dude, we don’t have to create anything, this is you!’ I’m always thinking about the next business idea. Yowza is my little way of adding to the stimulus package for Main Street. If I’m known eventually for this more than acting, I’d be the happiest guy in the world. I’m helping people in the epilepsy community and helping people save money. It’s great. I love it.”
On having inherited his thriftiness:: “There’s a story that my mom hates me telling, but I’m going to tell it anyway. When I was a kid, instead of buying the Izod shirt with the little alligator on it that was so expensive, my mom would buy a cheap, plain shirt and she would buy the Izod socks and take the logos off and sew them on the shirt. So I’ve got ‘cheapy cheapy’ in my blood. It’s just smart to do.”
On his favorite way to spend his downtime: “I just play with my kids. It’s everything. That’s my whole life. And I love playing with the band. That’s a tremendous outlet. Music is so important to me especially since I always have a beat going in my head. But playing with the kids and spending time with them is great. It keeps me in that child mindset. Without my kids and my family, I’ve got nothing.”