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Former Hays man gets part in TV series




When he was in the first grade, William Brown knew he wanted to do "that."

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When he was in the first grade, William Brown knew he wanted to do "that."

"That" was be an actor. William Brown has moved from the stage at Thomas More Prep-Marian High School to a part-time career as a professional actor.

Brown will be in Tuesday's episode of the series "Swamp Murders" on Investigation Discovery channel. The show airs at 9 p.m. Repeats will be shown at 1 a.m. Wednesday; 7 p.m. Sunday; and 2 a.m. July 1.

When Brown was in the first grade at Roosevelt Elementary School, his class went to Hays High School on a field trip to see the production "No, No, Nanette."

"I had never seen anything like it," Brown said. "I remember sitting there in that audience and watching them on stage and saying, 'I want to do that some day.' "

After lead roles in high school productions at TMP, where he graduated in 1986, Brown went off to college at the University of Kansas with a full scholarship, studying pre-med. But he came home for Christmas and told his parents he wanted to be an actor.

"God bless them, they said OK," Brown said.

Brown transferred to Northwestern University in Chicago to study acting.

"Had to give up a scholarship, go to a much more expensive school, move far away," Brown said.

After college, Brown was a stay-at-home dad with his first child while his wife was climbing the corporate ladder. During their moves across the country, Brown would take small acting roles part-time.

"I'm a local celebrity at lots of little places," Brown said. "I just kind of kept it alive the whole time. Once I moved to Atlanta, which was about six years ago, I started to do a little more. I got an agent for the first time."

Brown also went to graduate school in Atlanta, earning his master's degree. He now works as a therapist in Atlanta, helping people suffering from depression and anxiety.

But Brown still acts. His agent submitted his head shot to the production company that was going to film "Swamp Murders."

The show has re-enactors playing the parts of the people involved with the case in real life. In Brown's case, he bore a resemblance to the lead investigator in Tuesday's episode, entitled "A Run for the Money." The case involves a bank being robbed of $71,000 followed by the disappearance of the bank president.

The swamp scenes were filmed near Augusta, Ga., but Brown didn't have to climb into the murky waters.

"The best part is, because I'm the lead investigator, in the swamp scenes I didn't have to actually get in the swamp," Brown said with a laugh.

Brown said he enjoyed filming the episode of the new series, where his acting skills were put to the test.

"There's very little actual written dialogue," Brown said. "Most of the scenes I am in are just improvised."

Brown, who turned 45 Friday, wants to continue his acting career part-time. His dream is to return to the stage -- his first love -- and to do what inspired him all those years ago.

"I'm hoping to get back into live theater," he said. "I enjoy that most."