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Mike Rowe Shares Laughs with Neal McDonough Over Childhood Stories

Screen shot from Mike Rowe’s YouTube channel

Mike Rowe Shares Laughs with Neal McDonough Over Childhood Stories

By Movieguide® Contributor

DIRTY JOBS host Mike Rowe recently interviewed “Hollywood’s favorite villain, Neal McDonough, who turns out, ironically, to be one of the nicest guys in the business.”

“We grew up in a motel…My parents owned a motel in Hyannis, Massachusetts. A small little mom-and-pop motel that six kids grew up in,” McDonough began.

Not only did the actor live in the motel, but he worked there, too, even as a toddler.

“Basically we were cheap slave labor,” THE SHIFT actor said. “I remember my first business lesson as a kid. I was probably three, and my dad would give me the job of picking up cigarette butts in the parking lot,” he said. “And as soon as I was done, he’d give me a quarter.”

“I would take that quarter every single time—‘cause you had to earn it—to the coke machine and buy myself an ice cream cone,” he said. “And it wasn’t until years later, it was like, oh, what a genius business transaction for my dad. He would charge somebody else two dollars; he’d charge me a quarter, then got the quarter back ‘cause I bought something that he had for sale.”

Rowe, who once said, “Hard work is an essential ingredient in any recipe for success,” pointed out that the work and reward task encouraged work ethic.

“Charles Koch told me once that one of his first jobs was cutting the lawns, sometimes like with a pocket knife,” the DIRTY JOBS star said. “’Cause his dad just really wanted him to understand the mix of the delayed gratification and the futility and the honor and the dignity of doing a small task over and over again really well.”

“Right.” McDonough quipped, “I fold laundry with the best of them…Give me towels, buddy boy, I’m done right through it.”

After a few laughs, McDonough told Rowe about another motel story, about 15 years after McDonough was picking up cigarette butts.

“My dad, at my prom, here he comes in—I paid for it. I paid for my tux with the tails and the hat, and the whole thing—and the limo pulls up, my date is getting into the car. As I’m about to put my butt into the car, my dad says, ‘Wait a minute. 219 needs a ‘fridgerator,’” McDonough said, mimicking his father’s voice.

Rowe chuckled heartily: “You’re killing me.”

McDonough could hardly believe his father told him to hold up his prom date to bring a guest a fridge, and the request didn’t thrill his mother either.

“There’s my mom with the exact same expression,” the YELLOWSTONE actor continued, pointing at Rowe. “She’s like, ‘Honey, he’s going to the prom.’ And I go, and I bring the little portable ‘fridgerator in my tux, put it in. Now I’m schvitzing, and I get in the car, ‘Bye mom, bye dad.’”


Movieguide® recently reported on McDonough’s career:

McDonough was blacklisted by Hollywood because he wasn’t willing to blindly do everything production asked of him. He had a foundation in Christ that came before his career, and the entertainment industry didn’t respect that.

“I am very religious. I put God and family first, and me second. That’s what I live by. It was hard for a few years,” he said.

Years later, he was given an opportunity to return, and after proving his talent was too good to pass up, McDonough began to see roles again. However, he was often cast as a villain because they don’t typically have the sex or kissing scenes that McDonough wasn’t willing to perform.

The actor’s latest role is in Angel Studios’ book-based HOMESTEAD movie and TV series about a family’s survival in a post-apocalyptic world.

Angel Studios said, “McDonough lends the expertise he’s gained over a rich career to Homestead, contributing to the gritty and compelling drama based on the novel by Jayson Orvis.”

The HOMESTEAD movie will be released at an unspecified date in 2024, with a show to follow.


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