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Kevin G. Schmidt, a Natural in 'Unnatural History'

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Think the Cartoon Network only shows cartoons? Think again. This Sunday, the network known for airing exclusively animated fare is launching its first live-action series, "Unnatural History." Momlogic got to chat with the star of the show, Kevin G. Schmidt (from "Cheaper by the Dozen"), to find out how he got his start in acting and how he made the leap from chubby sidekick to leading man.

Kevin G. Schmidt
momlogic: Tell us about "Unnatural History." What's it all about?

Kevin G. Schmidt: It's a live-action show on a cartoon network ...go figure. It's created by Mike Werb, the guy who did "Mask," "Curious George" and "Tomb Raider." I play Henry Griffith, a kid who has lived all over the world because of his anthropologist parents. He ends up with these amazing skills. They send me to live with my uncle in Washington, D.C., and I spend my time unraveling mysteries at the national museum, which also happens to be on the grounds of my new high-school campus. Each week we investigate a new mystery.

ml: What age group will enjoy the show?

KGS: First, we thought it would be for very bright 10-year-olds. But as each episode has grown into a mini movie ... each one has historical facts woven into the story. It could be enjoyed by any age. One episode is about John Dillinger's past; in another, you might learn about Houdini.

ml: Sounds educational!

KGS: It is! When the show is over, the goal is for viewers to log on to the Cartoon Network to learn what the mysteries were based on.

ml: You have quite a long résumé, including the "Cheaper by the Dozen" series and "The Young and the Restless." How did you get started in show biz?

KGS: I started when I was 10 years old ... I'm from Kansas originally. My brother was already in the business. My mom got him an agent in New York. Then one time they went to L.A. and they enticed me to come with because of the weather and beaches. I went on an audition and got it. It was called "Mind Rage," with Tippi Hedren. In one of the scenes, she shoots a gun. When the blank went off, she just went over and ate a bagel at the craft-services table. I thought to myself, "This is the greatest job!"

ml: You've made quite a transformation in the past few years. You started out your career as the chubby sidekick, and now you're playing leading roles. Has it been a difficult transition?

KGS: Not really. Growing up, I had no perspective of what my life was like ... [how] unhealthy I was. It wasn't that I ate bad; I had a problem with my hormones. The second I finished the "Cheaper by the Dozen" sequel, I took fitness and health into my own hands. Got on a consistent regimen. I don't regret the way I was. Being a chubby kid and playing the comedic relief is something I can now apply to being a leading man.

"Unnatural History" airs Sunday, June 13, at 8 PM E/P.

next: In Godparents We Trust -- But Should We?
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