Julian McMahon

by Eirik Knutzen | Jul 31, 2001
Julian McMahon The ordinary became extraordinary and the mundane turned into a series of cataclysmic events since Julian McMahon became a father to exquisitely beautiful baby girl Madison just one year ago.

"Parenthood is an experience you can only experience through experience," says McMahon, 33, "Charmed`s" (Thursdays, 9 p.m. EDT, the WB) tall, dark and devilishly handsome Cole Turner/Balthazor from way down under who is seriously in love with the lovely witch Phoebe Halliwell (Alyssa Milano).

He doggedly shares all parental responsibilities with his stunning wife, former "Baywatch" babe Brooke Burns.

"A child changes you life in so many ways it`s ridiculous," says the actor, very spiffy in a tan suit with a deep blue silk shirt and smiling through his four-day, black beard stubble. "Taking care of a baby is quite an amazing thing involving love, dedication and life. It`s very exciting, but there are enormous pressures involved, because you are 100 percent responsible for somebody else`s life."

To a new parent, every day brings a momentous occasion that we have long forgotten, according to McMahon.

"One of the most incredible - and scariest - events of my life was when I walked into Madison`s room about three months ago and found her standing up in her crib. It was so extraordinary to me because I had gotten used to the idea that she was a tiny little thing hardly able to move."

But as far as McMahon is concerned, the most wonderful thing about fatherhood is sharing sheer, unadulterated joy with your child.

"When you wake up in the morning and walk into your baby`s room and see her jumping up and down with a big grin on her face because she`s simply excited to see you, you fully understand what love is. It cannot be duplicated; you cannot describe the sensation in words."

Sharing responsibility for raising a small child can also bring a couple closer than they thought humanly possible.

"Your lives are suddenly dedicated to the welfare of this tiny human being," says McMahon, "and you try to share the work 50/50 as much as you can. Obviously, Brooke and I are in a business that doesn`t have regular hours every week, and everything depends on who is working the hardest at the time. If my wife is on the set 18 hours a day, I feed Madison and change her diapers. If I`m out of town on a shoot, Brooke does it all."

To provide food and shelter beyond the norm for his expanding family, McMahon works like the devil. He has one more year left on his two-year contract on "Charmed" and always searches for work when the series is out of production during the spring and summer months. But he got lucky with the USA cable network telefilm, "Another Day" (Premiere Oct. 2) - it was dumped in his lap by former colleague Shannen Doherty, who stars in and co-executive produces the project.

"Shannen came up to me on the set of `Charmed` earlier this year and asked me to read the `Another Day` script if I wasn`t busy over the summer," he recalls. "I connected with the script as her best friend and accepted. I guess she just thought I was right for the part, because we didn`t really know each other. We had done a few scenes together, but most of my work was with the guest cast and Alyssa (Milano). We basically said hello and goodbye to each other."

A couple of weeks later - after acting in and directing the season finale of "Charmed" - Doherty asked for and received her release from The WB and Spelling Television Inc. contracts. The motive for Doherty`s departure from "Charmed" is shrouded in mystery, with reports from series production insiders ranging from claims that she was bored with series work to angry disputes with Alyssa Milano.

Ever a diplomat, the strapping Australian lad claims to know less than nothing about Doherty`s recent contractual maneuvers or her brush with the law for suspicion of drunk driving last December. She eventually pleaded "no contest" to the charges and was sentenced to community service, lecturing on the evils of alcoholism to youngsters.

"I wasn`t privy to some of the publicity she has had over the years," says McMahon, straight-faced. "I just saw an extremely professional, dedicated and talented person."

"Another Day" was shot in Winnipeg, Manitoba, during four weeks in May.

"Besides the usual murders and mayhem on the set, we were attacked by millions of worms," he whispers conspiratorially. "They are in fact furry caterpillars, but the Canadians call them worms. They literally fall out of the sky, litter the ground to the point where it gets sticky and turn into nasty-looking gray moths. A restaurant by the river had a huge sign outside reading "CLOSED BECAUSE OF WORMS."

Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, sandwiched between two sisters, he is the only son of Lady Sonia McMahon and the distinguished Sir William McMahon - Australia`s Liberal prime minister in 1971-72.

"My parents tried to make our childhood as normal as possible, with my mother trying to divide her time as much as possible between her husband and her children.

"We stayed in Sydney most of the time; once in a while we visited my father in Canberra," he continues, "but I don`t remember much about it, because I was only 3 or 4 years old at the time."

He vaguely recollects playing games with huge armed men, who were assigned to his security detail.

"I made them get on boxes and slide down the hill, but it didn`t seem out of the ordinary. I just felt like a little kid with lots of grown-ups around."

At 17, while watching one of his sisters help organize a parade, he was spotted in the bleachers by a talent agent who thought he could make it as a model. Though he fancied himself a rough, tough rower and rugby player, McMahon was lured by the scent of money to make a round of auditions. During the first week, he landed a national TV commercial for Pepsi and launched a print modeling career that took him to New Zealand, Japan, Thailand, Italy, France and the U.S.

McMahon spent a year at he University of Sydney with hazy intentions of studying law, then dropped out to focus on acting in the Australian series "The Power and the Passion" and "Home and Away." He pulled up stakes in 1992 and headed for Los Angeles; two weeks later, he was co-staring in the the New York-based daytime soap opera "Another World." In 1994, he headed back to Los Angeles for a couple of "terrible independent movies" before being cast as Detective John Grant on the prime time series "Profiler" (1996-2000).

"I came to California because it`s the mecca of show business and I wanted to know if I could crack it," he explains with a shrug. "I`m still here."

(c) Copley News Service

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Author: Eirik Knutzen


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