Catching Up with Award-Winning Actor John C. McGinley

Award-winning actor John C. McGinley expounds on his hit TV show “Ground Floor,” working with Oliver Stone, being an international spokesperson for the Global Down Syndrome Foundation, and his most important role – being a dad to Max, who happens to have Down syndrome. McGinley is also a Global board member and a recipient of Global’s Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Award. McGinley is truly a Global hero. Learn more by watching his Global Tribute Video.

1. You play the tycoon Remington Stewart Mansfield on the new hit comedy Ground Floor, which is getting ready to return for its second season on TBS. Tell us what people love about this prickly hilarious character.

John C. McGinley in Ground Floor

My favorite part about playing R. Stewart Mansfield is that his world is entirely about “integrity” and “mental toughness”! And those two qualities are the cornerstone of how he chooses to approach and resolve every single conflict that may arise each business day. Of course, anytime someone is so dogmatic (with anything) high jinks will ensue! Guaranteed.

2. What is it like working with Skylar Astin (Brody), Briga Heelan (Jennifer) and the rest of the talented cast on Ground Floor? Are you ever forced to break into song?

Working with young studs like Skylar and Briga is heaven! They are both so skilled and capable and available and fresh and prepared and completely fearless. I love them both very much. And I am overwhelmed by how talented they truly are. As far as breaking into a song? Yes. I did do a little tune from “Willy Wonka” last season. I decided to add a touch of a soft-shoe, shuffle step, to the number. And it worked out like a charm!

3. You have an illustrious film career, including starring in seven Oliver Stone films (Platoon, Wall Street, Any Given Sunday, World Trade Center, Nixon, Born on the Fourth of July, Talk Radio). What was it like working with such a legendary director on such important films?

Working with Oliver is just about as good as it gets. He is one of the greatest filmmakers of his generation. And anytime an actor has an opportunity to be part of telling a story with such an astonishing visualist like Oliver? Well, those are the sets that I want to be on!
John C. McGinley in Scrubs


4. For 10 years, you starred as the acerbic and loveable Dr. Perry Cox on the Emmy Award-winning Scrubs. What is your favorite memory from the Scrubs set?

My favorite memory from Scrubs was at the Christmas Party or at the Year End Wrap Party, seeing the children of the cast and crew growing up right before my eyes. In other words, some of those little boys and girls who started out in elementary school back in our first season. By the time we were through with the run of the show 10 years later, they had matured into young men and women who were graduating from high school! Kinda blew my mind.

5. In addition to your award-winning acting career, you are a dedicated husband and father. What’s your secret to balancing work and home life?

I have always tried to treat the people in my family and the people at my job the same way. And that is: with dignity and respect. I try to make inclusion a priority, in how I approach both environments. And I have never shied away from giving tons of love to my “extended” family in the workplace.
John C. McGinley and family

6. Your son Max turns 17 this month. He happens to have Down syndrome. How has that influenced you as a father and as a person?

Max is the one who actually introduced me to love. Prior to Max’s arrival, I thought that I had a pretty fair handle on what love meant. But it turns out, I really didn’t have a clue! And then Max showed up and acquainted me with just exactly what it means to love and be loved.

7. You are a board member and International Spokesperson for the Global Down Syndrome Foundation. Why should people support Global and the work they do?

The Global Down Syndrome Foundation is an organization that aggressively advocates for people born with Down syndrome. But even more than that, the Global Down Syndrome Foundation is a research-driven, clinically based, hospital-equipped, lobbyist-armed, grant-awarding, uniquely visioned, action-oriented association of dedicated doctors and special-needs advocates who will not rest until all people born with this challenge are living full and unlimited lives.
John C. McGinley at the Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show

8. You are a regular at Global’s award-winning event, the Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show. What is so special about this event?

We have all been to our fair share of fundraisers, right? The immeasurable difference between the Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show and all the other events of this ilk is: love. Honest to God. The love in that room is tangible. The audience leaves that event elevated. There is no other evening where those asked to “give” are truly reciprocated with love and exclusion. The audience becomes something that is much bigger, much grander, than their individual selves. And we are better off having attended the Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show. Fact!

9. In addition to your work with Global, you are a Global Ambassador for Special Olympics and have been an integral part of the “Spread the Word to End the Word” campaign. (Read John’s commentary on the issue from The Huffington Post.) What are your hopes for this campaign’s future and its impact?

We hope that people will refrain from using the words “retard” and “retarded,” and instead choose to sprinkle 10 milligrams of “compassion” and “love” into their language. And perhaps come up with an even better way of expressing those same sentiments, only using different, less offensive words.

10. What is the best advice you were ever given that you would like to pass on?

“Keep movin’!”

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