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How Shemar Moore was discovered for ‘Young & the Restless’

Larry King NowDec 12 '16

Shemar Moore retraces the serendipitous set of events that led to his first big role as Malcolm Winters on ‘The Young and the Restless.’

Larry King: “Young and the Restless.” You were a model, and that’s how they discovered you?

Shemar Moore: I finished college at Santa Clara and then I wanted to do anything I could to avoid wearing a suit and tie for a living, nothing against people who do, I just watched my mother go to a cubicle, she worked at Hewlitt Packard, I wasn’t going to sit in that little cubicle if I didn’t have to. So I went to New York City, I was doing a little catalogue stuff in San Francisco while I was in college. Then I went to New York City because that was like the fashion capital of the world and I thought, ‘okay, I’ll go out there and somebody will take my picture and I can get in an underwear campaign like Mark Wahlberg,’ or something like that. A Coors light billboard, I didn’t know, I was 22 years old. And so I lived in New York City, broke as a joke. I worked at a very famous place called The Coffee Shop at 14th in Union Square just to make a couple bucks. I think I made like 220 bucks a week, you know I’d take the subway one way, walk the other way, run around hoping someone would take my picture and try to go get jobs. And there was another model, his name was Jason Olive, who was kind of the big deal at the time. And he turned down a job, and somebody said ‘there’s a kid at the coffee shop who looks like Jason Olive.’ So I got this GQ editorial and that came out in the magazine. And then my future agent, he had a subscription to GQ, happened to see the picture, knew that “The Young and the Restless” the soap opera was looking for a younger brother of an existing character. He saw the picture and said, ‘who is he? Where is he? Can he act?’ He said, ‘I don’t know, I’ll find him.’ He tracked down the modeling agency, they called me, and they said, ‘are you interested in acting?’ I said, ‘well I took a few classes in college but I need some help.’ I drove down on April Fool’s Day 1994, I paid $1100 to an acting coach Saturday and Sunday – so that’s the 2nd and 3rd – on the 4th I auditioned for the casting director. She said, ‘you’re a little green, come back in two days and you’ll have the callbacks.’ Came back on April 6th, did my thing again with the five finalists, at 2pm I can still show you the payphone on Fairfax Blvd where I called my agent and said, ‘they said they made a decision. They said they made a decision but I know they didn’t pick me. But they said they made a decision.’ He said, ‘calm down.’ I said, ‘I can’t calm down. He said they made a decision. I shouldn’t be here. I’m gonna go back to San Francisco, I’m going to New York.’ He said ‘they called.’ ‘What do you mean they called? What did they say?’ ‘Well, they simply stated the fact you got the part son.’ And I lost it. I was going ‘no,’ all these four letter words came to mind, and then there was a truck double parked, there was a guy in there, and I ran to this random truck and I did like this, ‘roll down your window.’ And he was like, ‘what is going on?’ And I said ‘look man I know you don’t know me but you’re gonna be the first one I tell, I’m gonna be on TV.’ And that was April 6th, 1994.

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