"We have a wonderful life here" said Matt McCoy, calling from Los Angeles. "Living in a big city, we have a small town life here."

Yet each summer, the successful actor brings his family to the truly small town of Walkersville to visit his parents Ed and Margaret "Juan" McCoy.

"My mom and dad moved out to Walkersville nine years ago," he recalled. His father is in marketing and advertising, and owner of the Frederick Business Clinic.

"We grew up in a lot of places," he admitted, "but I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio." When he was 13, his parents settled in Kensington. The 42-year-old McCoy graduated from Walter Johnson High School, where he realized he was interested in acting.

He attended the University of Maryland for a "very short time," dropping out when he realized that college would not get him where he wanted to be acting professionally.

"My parents, they've always been very supportive," said McCoy.

"We are really happy for him," said his father. "You have to be happy in what you do."

McCoy worked for a couple years at the the Harlequin Dinner Theater in Rockville, which also operated a theater in Atlanta. "We would travel back and forth," he recalled.

"I lived in New York for eight years," he said, taking classes and graduating from the Neighborhood Playhouse School of Drama in 1979.

In 1983, he left New York and headed to the West Coast to star in the television sitcom "We Got It Made," about two bachelors and a gorgeous blonde maid. "It ran for about a year," he said. But he stayed in Los Angeles, and continued to get work acting in television and independent films.

His first break starring in a major motion picture came when he replaced Steve Guttenberg in "Police Academy 5." "It was my first studio picture," he explained. He also starred in "Police Academy 6."

"They were great fun," he recalled. However, he passed on "Police Academy 7."

From there he went on to star as the male lead in "The Hand That Rocks the Cradle," with Rebecca de Mornay. He played the husband and father.

That was not so much a stretch for McCoy, who has three children: Reilly, 5; Molly, 8; and Casey, 10.

His parents sometimes fly out to L.A. to watch the children when his wife joins him on a location shoot. He's enjoyed film locations in Italy, and last year he traveled to India to work in a film.

For his role as Brett Chase in the Oscar-nominated film "L.A. Confidential," McCoy did not have to travel so far.

More recently, he traveled to Calgary, Canada, to star in a movie with Patricia Wettig of "thirtysomething" fame. "Nightmare in Big Sky Country" will premiere on the cable network Lifetime Channel on Monday, Aug. 17. He also recently wrapped a television movie for the Fox Network, co-starring with Connie Selleca in a made-for-television movie titled "Salvation Falls." That movie is included in the new fall programming and scheduled to air early 1999.

McCoy starred in another movie, "Samurai Cowboy," about five years ago. "That was a Western that went straight to video," he noted.

"Things have been terrific," he added. "I'm working . . . I can feed my children," he laughed.

He's been in Los Angeles 15 years.

"We love it here."

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