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^Actor Ken Howard returns to school 30 years later
KENT, Ohio (AP) Acting jobs keep getting in the way of Ken Howard's attempts to get a master of fine arts degree.
Thirty years ago, the actor was taking classes at Yale School of Drama when he was offered a part in the Broadway production of a Neil Simon play, ``Promises, Promises.'' His friends at Yale, who did not like commercial theater, told him that he was making a mistake and it would ruin his career.
But while still appearing in the play, Howard was cast as Thomas Jefferson in the Broadway musical ``1776.'' Movie director Otto Preminger was in the audience for the March 1969 opening night of the play and cast Howard opposite Liza Minnelli in the movie ``Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon.''
Howard also won a Tony award in 1970 for his performance in ``Child's Play,'' and his career took off.
Now the actor known for starring in ``The White Shadow,'' the acclaimed TV series about a basketball coach at an inner city Los Angeles high school is pursuing the master's degree again at Kent State University. His goal is to receive the degree by the spring of 1999.
But once again, an acting job almost got in the way. The 54-year-old actor was all set to start classes when he was cast in the pilot for ``The Game,'' a drama that ABC is considering for its fall schedule. He plays the head of a sports agency.
``But this time I was determined to make things work out,'' Howard told The Akron Beacon Journal for a story Tuesday. ``When we had to reshoot some stuff, it meant I'd be late getting to Kent, but I kept stressing how hugely important this is to me.''
Howard is now in the middle of a five-week stay at KSU and remain until the end of the semester. He is teaching two classes while he pursues his degree.

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