Family & Companions
Throughout the history of show business, many a heterosexual actor has hesitated to play homosexual characters on television or in films for fear of being typecast. In many ways ahead of his time - certainly in the pre-"Will and Grace" era - amicable pizza delivery boy-turned-actor Doug Savant made a substantial sociological contribution in the early 1990s by portraying gay social worker Matt Fielding for a five year run on the Aaron Spelling sudser "Melrose Place" (Fox, 1992-99). Worried he would be typecast at that tender time, he need not have worried, as he enjoyed a career resurgence in 2004 by portraying the somewhat needled husband of harried career woman-turned-stay-at-home-mom, Lynette Scavo (Felicity Huffman) on the monster TV hit series, "Desperate Housewives (ABC, 2004-12).
Savant was born in Burbank, CA on June 21, 1964. He excelled in sports while growing up, playing quarterback for his high school football team. Acting won out over athletics (and academics), however, culminating in his quitting his studies at UCLA in order to pursue a career as a professional performer.
He soon found acting work in episodic television, first as a teen rape victim on "Cagney & Lacey" (CBS, 1982-88), and then landed a recurring role as a young Mack Mackenzie on "Knots Landing" (CBS, 1979-1993), playing scenes opposite future "Desperate Housewives" co-star, Nicollette Sheridan, who was at that time, the resident vixen on the primetime soap. Savant continued to work regularly in prime time on such series as "In The Heat of the Night" (NBC, 1988-94), "China Beach" (ABC, 1988-1991) and "Jake and the Fatman" (CBS, 1987-1992). Like many a struggling actor, Savant helped pay the bills by delivering pizzas.
The handsome, blonde actor received his big break came when he was cast as on producer Aaron Spelling's semi-"Beverly Hills, 90210" spin-off, "Melrose Place," as Matt Fielding, one of the few gay characters on network television at that time. While Fielding was often denied the type of romantic sex scenes (and even simple kisses) that were afforded his heterosexual peers, Savant's sensitive and friendly portrayal of Matt helped pave the way for future gay characters on TV. The show was not without its benefits, however. Following the conclusion of her relationship with their co-star Grant Show, "Melrose" co-star Laura Leighton (Sydney Mancini) began dating Savant during the show's run, making her his wife in May of 1998.
Somewhat disenchanted, both with the direction of his almost forgotten character and the camp factor of the show itself, the actor left "Melrose Place" in 1997. While Matt was dealt a tragic fate (he was killed off camera in a car accident), Savant continued to thrive both personally and professionally, landing parts on the big screen "Godzilla" (1998) and guest appearances on the TV series, "According to Jim" (ABC, 2001-09), "24" (Fox, 2001-10) and "Nip/Tuck" (FX, 2003-10).
Always worried about being typecast as the "gay guy," enough time had gone by, by the time creator Marc Cherry was casting his soon-to-be-hit, "Desperate Housewives." Cast as Tom Scavo, the traveling businessman husband of Felicity Huffman's Lynette, Savant played a minor part during the show's female-focused first season. By the show's second season, however, Tom was able to roll up his sleeves as house-husband, sending his wife back to work. Even though Savant was listed as a guest star, he appeared regularly and was bumped up to series regular status for season two.
In between his time spent on the Universal lot shooting one of television's most popular TV series of the new millennium, Savant remained active in several charities, including hosting the live auction portion at "Evening with the Stars," a gathering of fans and soap opera stars sponsored by The Desi Geestman Foundation in 2005. He also fathered two children with Leighton, including son Jack and daughter Lucy.
Cast (Feature Film)
First supporting role in a film "Teen Wolf"
Feature film debut in bit part in "Secret Admirer"
TV debut in guest appearance on "Hotel"
TV-movie debut, a busted pilot, "The Knife and Gun Club"
Cast as Matt Fielding on Aaron Spelling's ensemble series "Melrose Place" (Fox)
Played a stalker in TV-movie "Fight for Justice: The Nancy Conn Story" (NBC)