Peter Berg Really Loves to Act, but He Has Trouble Accounting for It

If Peter Berg had listened to his parents, he probably would've ended up performing in a courtroom instead of on-screen. "They wanted me to go to an Ivy League school and get a law degree," says the 29-year-old Berg, who turned down their advice and now stars in the films "Crooked Hearts" and the upcoming "Late for Dinner."

Instead of Harvard or Yale, the Westchester County, N.Y., native headed for the Midwest and enrolled at Minnesota's Macalester College, where he studied drama. Though he spent most of his time involved in theater, he decided, after graduating in 1984, to consider another line of work. "Acting was all right during school," he says, "but I knew eventually I was going to have to start thinking about a real job."

With his acting career on the back burner, Berg arrived in Los Angeles, where he landed a job with a television production company. Had he been a little more careful with money, he still might be working behind the camera instead of in front of it. Berg was given $10,000 and sent off to Florida to produce a sports show. "I didn't keep any financial records," he confesses. "When I got back to Los Angeles, I turned in a giant ball of receipts and a wad of cash and they fired me."

Realizing he wasn't cut out for that kind of work, Berg returned to his first love: acting. He enrolled in an acting class and was soon cast in a production at L.A.'s Odyssey Theatre. It wasn't long before he had an agent and his first professional role on TV's "21 Jump Street." And now that he's a working actor, how do his parents feel about his choice of career? Says Berg: "As long as I'm not asking them for money, they're happy."

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