Rob Lowe's television career has taken him from teenager in a family drama, to deaf-mute in a Stephen King-based miniseries to policy wonk in a popular series about the White House.
In his latest role, Lowe is Dr. Billy Grant, an in-house physician at a high-end Vegas hotel and casino. The show, "Dr. Vegas," debuts Friday night at 10 p.m. ET on CBS.
"We shot the first episode entirely in Las Vegas and it was great until the crew began losing half of their paycheck and disappearing for other work to support their problem. We've now built an entire casino over three stages," says Lowe.
Lowe's character has a gambling addiction. "He's got some issues which makes it very fun," says Lowe. "It was nice dichotomy to play a bit of a bad boy who has a very serious job at hand."
Joe Pantoliano, who won an Emmy for his tough-guy role on HBO's "The Sopranos," plays the casino's general manager.
"You have to love him, but I haven't taken to him wearing berets," says Lowe.
Lowe also is the star of "Perfect Strangers," a CBS TV movie airing on Oct. 17.
Lowe works with the Lymphoma Coalition, a network of patient groups from around the world that aims to help people recognize lymphoma symptoms, which are often mistaken for less serious conditions such as the flu, tuberculosis or fatigue.
Lowe's father was diagnosed with the most common form of lymphoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, in 1990.
"My father is 11 years cancer-free, and we had the worldwide lymphoma awareness day. The first one was last week to help people realize it's a very treatable cancer, but treatable only when caught early," says Lowe.
He says his father "is doing well and still beating me at tennis."
Facts About Rob Lowe:
- Born Robert Helper Lowe in Charlottesville, Va., on March 17, 1964.
- After moving with his mother to Los Angeles, he started his acting career at age 8 in an after-school TV drama.
- Attended Santa Monica High School with, among other high-profile pupils, Charlie Sheen and Sean Penn.
- Got his first big- screen job in Francis Ford Coppola's "The Outsiders" (1983).
- Appeared in "St. Elmo's Fire" with other members of the so-called Hollywood "Brat Pack."
- Nominated for a goloden Globe for his role in the 1986 movie "Square Dance."
- Was charged in connection with a 1988 sexually explicit videotape involving a minor, did 20 hours of community service and subsequently sought help for drug and alcohol problems.
- Married makeup artist Sheryl Berkoff in 1991. They have two sons, Edward Matthew, 11, and John Owen, 8.
- Made his Broadway debut in "A Little Hotel on the Side" in 1992.
- Played a sleazy TV mogul in 1992's "Wayne's World."
- In 2001, earned an Emmy nomination for his work on the TV series "The West Wing."
- Left the popular TV drama in a dispute over pay.
- Had a starring role in a short-lived TV show, "Lyon's Den."
- Starred in another TV series, "Dr. Vegas."