The Multitalented Scott Grimes
Grimes Returns to the Merrimack Valley in Support of Local Arts and Community.
All was dark behind the stage at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium on Aug. 25, 2012. It was the ideal setting for setting up a few lights and snapping photos of locally-born celebrity Scott Grimes before he took his guitar onstage and joined fellow musician Bob Guiney in support of the Dracut Perform-ing Arts Boosters’ fundraiser. Grimes, a Merrimack Valley native and former Dracut resident, found time in his busy schedule as an actor, musician and voice-over artist to help the cause.
During the photo shoot, the houselights alerted the audience that the show was about to begin. The crowd applauded as Grimes was announced as part of the evening’s agenda. And when he poked out his head from backstage to give the audience a playful wave, the applause swelled to a roar.
“Still a kid at heart,” the announcer quipped.
Being a kid is exactly what Grimes thinks about when he is back home in the Merrimack Valley.
Scott Richard Grimes was born in Lowell on July 9, 1971, to Pamela and Richard Grimes. He lived in Dracut until the age of 12, when his family moved to New York City so that he could pursue a ca-reer in acting and singing. His sister, Heather Grimes, also dabbled in acting, and her daughter, Camryn Grimes, is also in the business. Camryn Grimes is best known for her former role as Cassie Newman on “The Young and the Restless.”
Scott Grimes has two adult children, Madison and Jackson, from his first marriage. In December 2011, he married Emmy-nominated makeup artist, Megan Moore, whom he met on the set of “ER,” but the couple divorced in 2017.
Although Grimes only lived in the area for 12 years, it made a significant impact on him. He’s made it a priority to return and give back to the community.
“There is something about Dracut,” Grimes says. “In the grand scheme of life, 12 years in a place isn’t a long time, so it adds to the mystique and the power of it. I know it sounds like I am drama-tizing it, but over these last 30 years I have had this weird, ‘I need to get back to Dracut feeling.’ So two years ago I decided to do this golf tournament for Mark Morowski and the Dracut Food Pantry. … It was like a waterfall of memories and emotions. I want to go back every year now, because for some reason that town, it has some place inside me — the whole area [does], actually.”
Contributing to causes is something that Grimes is passionate about. In addition to playing in the Dracut Food Pantry golf tournament for the past two years, and performing for the Dracut Perform-ing Arts Boosters this year, he plays guitar in a charity group called the “Band From TV” that fea-tures other celebrities, including James Denton from “Desperate Housewives,” Greg Grunberg from “Heroes” and Guiney from “The Bachelor.” All proceeds from their performances go to charity.
The opportunity to return to his hometown for philanthropic purposes is rewarding for Grimes. But he is also excited about the rise of “Hollywood East,” as Greater Boston is often called because of the increasing number of movies and television shows being filmed here, and the development of New England Studios in Devens, which officially opened its doors on September 16, 2013. Now Grimes can come home for work as well as pleasure.
“I live way outside of Hollywood because I truly believe that I am trying to find Dracut somewhere out there, Grimes says. “I think that Hollywood is going downhill because it has become this kind of ‘TMZ’ [celebrity gossip website TMZ.com] world of who’s wearing what. As you get older, you just don’t care anymore about that kind of stuff. So the fact that other places are stepping up [in the entertainment industry] is unbelievable.”
Grimes transitioned from being a child actor in the 1980s (“Who’s the Boss?” with Alyssa Milano, and in the “Critters” film series) to playing Will Scarlet in “Robin Hood” (2010) with Russell Crowe. Grimes appeared on NBC’s “ER” as Dr. Archie Morris, and on HBO’s “Band of Brothers” as TSgt. Don-ald Malarkey. He currently plays the voice of Steve Smith in the FOX animated television series “American Dad” and Lt. Gordon Malloy on the FOX adventure series “The Orville” with Seth MacFarlane, where Grimes met his most recent wife, actress Adrianne Palicki. The couple recently divorced two months after their wedding in May 2019.
Grimes’ break in the business came when he and his family decided to take an impromptu week-end trip to New York City in 1982. On their way to lunch, they passed by an open casting call for the Broadway musical “Nine.” On a whim, Grimes decided to test his vocal skills, and he landed a part. Rehearsals began the next day, so Grimes didn’t return to Dracut for the next month and a half.
Dave Maynard, the now-deceased host of the long-running Boston TV show “Community Auditions,” had discovered Grimes as a vocalist in 1980, but it wasn’t until he moved to New York that Grimes took a serious look at acting.
Most Broadway performers in 1980s New York would fill their days with TV commercial work. While doing so himself, Grimes uncovered his acting ability.
“The acting thing kind of happened by accident,” he says. “Because you’d go in and your red hair would kind of sell it when you are 12 …”
Many children would find it unsettling to live in a hotel and perform in New York City after being uprooted from their hometown, but for Grimes, it was just a part of life and who he was. “Kids are up for anything — a bathroom is a bathroom, a restaurant is a restaurant,” he says. “I loved it.”
Despite Grimes’ positive experience growing up in the business, he prefers that his own children wait until they are older before exploring the entertainment industry. He believes it is a much different industry today than when he was young, and attributes the evolution to the Internet’s abil-ity to turn young stars into global sensations overnight.
“My best friends growing up were Alyssa Milano, Kirk Cameron, Corey Haim and Corey Feldman, and they were huge, on every magazine cover,” Grimes says. “But if you’d gone to England and asked who Alyssa Milano was, they probably wouldn’t know … today it’s like everybody’s the Beat-les.”
At 14, after moving to the West Coast, Grimes and his celebrity friends would spend time at Alphy’s Soda Pop Club, a private Hollywood nightclub for underage actors, where they would dance and drink soda. Today, Grimes worries that his 13-year-old daughter would be exposed to much more. “We just didn’t have [as many temptations] then,” he says. “It was just simple and kind of clean.”
Yet as he got older Grimes saw the other side of Hollywood. “This is the industry that I have made money in and had an amazing time,” Grimes says. “But it is darker than it is light. It is not some-thing that I ever want my kids to do until they are old enough to make adult decisions. I could talk all day about this because it is something I feel strongly about — you need to have thick skin.”
Grimes took part in the standard tutoring that was required of young actors at the time, but it wasn’t the same as the traditional education his peers were getting back home in Dracut. “My edu-cation went by the wayside because everything was happening,” says Grimes, who earned a high school diploma when he was 19.
In retrospect, Grimes thinks he was a “shitty” actor at 13, and even these days doesn’t like to think of himself as “any kind of celebrity.”
“I see 13-year-old kids now who are winning Academy Awards,” he says. “The level of talent has gotten so huge now; the competition is so much greater. Back then, I walked into an audition, and if they wanted a red-headed kid, I got the part.”
After playing many great characters, Grimes is particularly proud of his work in “Band of Brothers” because of the impact it had on viewers due to the timing of its premiere, one week before 9/11.
Grimes was part of the “ER” cast for six years, and says he’s never had more fun or been more com-fortable in his life. “I am a big stickler for routine. I love the routine of [working on] a TV show,” he says. “We were the closest cast. We are still all best friends.”
He considers his role as Steve Smith’s voice on “American Dad” to be a gift that keeps on giving. “You don’t have to look good; it’s something that I think my whole career prepared me for,” he jokes. “Any humor that you have in your life you put into that. Any ludicrousness or exaggeration, you just throw it all into that.”
Grimes’ career has flowed well, moving from one gig to another exciting opportunity. As “Party of Five” ended, “Band of Brothers” came up. And when “ER” wrapped, “Robin Hood” began.
Fans of Grimes can continue to look forward to enjoying his many talents both on screen and off. He is currently trying his hand at screenwriting with a feature film called “War of the Woods.” This fictional script will take a look at the post-Vietnam War lives of a mother and son in a small subur-ban town — Dracut to be exact. Grimes’ experiences in the woods at the end of his street while growing up in Dracut were his inspiration.
[Editor’s note: Since this article was originally published, Grimes went on to appear in multiple TV and film roles, most notably as Lieutenant Gordon Malloy on “The Orville,” season three of which debuts later this year on Hulu.]