Before Ken Wahl continued acting on Hollywood, he considered joining the Marines in the late 1970s.
"My concern, then, in helping humanity was my own family, because my whole family was struggling financially," said the 62-year-old man. Closer weekly on Monday. "From the day I was born, that was all I could remember. We weren't indigent enough to worry about the next meal, but our next meal after that was in question. So we were really the poor who lived on paycheck." salary, and it's a horrible way to live. "
"We were very proud that we would never receive any government leaflets," Wahl continued. "My parents, God bless them, have never taken a dime out of the public voucher, and I'm very proud of it. But on the other hand, they essentially worked to death. Both. And I wanted to do something different."
But the road to Hollywood was unexpected. The Chicago native, who also dreamed of becoming a baseball player, told the broadcaster that an accident on his friend's minicycle resulted in "popping my knees very well, so that I could no longer run. This ended my career" in baseball.
Ken Wahl in a publicity portrait of the movie "The Wanderers", 1979.
(Orion Pictures / Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images)
Wahl remembered watching movies and television shows, realizing that he could probably face this challenge.
"(I thought to myself):" That doesn't look so hard, "he said. & # 39; I think I could do that. And they get paid when they do it? & # 39; I wasn't the least bit intimidated by this idea … As a job, it's wonderful. But as an occupation, it's kind of silly to me. I mean, you're just pretending to be someone else. I'm not saying there is something wrong with that. But I think the great thing they do about it is really excessive. So I was very pragmatic and just approached as a job. "
Wahl shared his acting debut in 1979 with "The Wanderers". The following year he appeared in "Running Scared." So in 1981, he worked alongside Paul Newman in "Fort Apache, The Bronx".
"Did I work with Paul Newman when I was 21?" Said Wahl. “It was a thriller, so I was your partner and we were sitting in the car while they set up the cameras, and we talked… He was a wonderful guy; I really loved him. And he said, "You're just getting started and everything, but I need to tell you that being famous is 98% bad." I said, 'Really? Well what are the 2% that are good? & # 39; He said: & # 39; You can always get the best table in a restaurant. But that's it. Everything else is terrible. "
Paul Newman in 1967.
"(I told him):" Fortunately, I never had this desire to be famous, "said Wahl. "I just want to be able to work, have a decent life and enjoy my life as much as I can." Then he said, "That's good. You have a good head on your shoulders, boy. We get along wonderfully, and I really loved the guy."
Over the years, Wahl has been busy appearing in several movies. His most recognizable role was on the TV series "Wiseguy", which aired between 1987 and 1990. The channel shared Wahl enjoyed great success acting up to a 1992 accident that resulted in him being "forcibly retired" due to his injuries. .
That was when he discovered a new purpose in life.
"I was perfectly happy to live my simple and quiet private life, but one day in 2010 I was watching the news," said Wahl. “There was a guy in a uniform and I heard him talking about veteran suicides. I was drinking a cup of coffee and when he mentioned the number of suicides, I took a sip, so I didn't hear him correctly. Or thought I didn't hear him correctly. But I actually did. He said there were 22 veteran suicides a day on average.
CBS Television advertising appeared in the September 30, 1989, issue of TV Guide magazine. An announcement of Wednesday night's drama, Wiseguy (starring Ken Wahl as Vinnie Terranova).
(CBS via Getty Images)
"I thought, 'That couldn't be right.' So I turned to the TV and listened very carefully. And during the conversation he was having with the interviewer, he repeated the number 22. I said: "I don't believe that! One per century is too much; how can we have 22 veteran suicides a day?"
"This number of 22 a day is comprehensive," Wahl continued. “It means going back to the guys in the 80s and 90s now, who fought in Korea and World War II. To me it was simply unfair. So I was going around in circles saying, ‘What do I do? I don't know what to do. I don't know where to start, but I need to do something. So I started twittering and talking to anyone who would listen, and I was impressed with the answer. I have been doing this ever since and this has become my calling and my goal in life. "
Today, Wahl is a veteran lawyer who emphasizes the importance of helping those suffering from PTSD. Closer Weekly shared that he supports Florida organization K9s for warriors, which provides service canines hoping to train veterans.
"My added goal of helping military personnel with PTSD, which causes them a deep depression and then a possible suicide, was to connect them to the animals," Wahl explained. “After I was injured, the animals were a great comfort to me because I went through a very long and dark period where I felt completely worthless and worthless because I really couldn't do anything after my injury. And I just hated that feeling. But animals, for me, were a great comfort and a great comfort. So I thought: So if they comfort me, they may be comforting these poor souls suffering from PTSD. "
Actor Ken Wahl poses for a portrait around 1997.
(Barbi Twins / Getty Images)
Wahl is currently determined to raise awareness about The Paws Act, which was presented by Congressman John Rutherford. Its goal is to associate service dogs with veterans suffering from PTSD, encouraging them to return to civilian life with dignity.
Wahl said his passion for the cause has become more important than anything he has ever accomplished on the big screen.
“… When I hear that 22 commit suicide a day – and remember that it's those who are absolutely killing themselves, committing suicide, and you need to find out if there are 22 killing each other, how many are out there? Are you in the depths of despair that haven't killed you yet or are you thinking about it? ”Said Wahl. "Obviously, these are the ones I want to reach. But the goal is to try to prevent that number from increasing and, if possible, to reduce it. In the last 10 years, there must be hundreds if not thousands of people. And the gratitude I received for it exceeds everything I've ever done in my life by orders of magnitude. ”