«They've found my ditch, they just haven't found my nitch.»

 Daytime digest, 1988

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Chip Mayer (T.J.) grew up in Ridgewood, New Jersey, the eldest of seven children. He graduated from Colgate University with a degree in business. After a year of the business world in New York, he decided to give acting a shot. Right away he got some spots on commercials and he has been working steadily since.

Have you invented a past for T.J. to explain some of his actions ?

Yeah, I play with the fact that the guy just had a really rough background. He has an emotional attachment with women. He probably had a lousy relationship with his mother. I've made them (his parents) alcoholics. They split up when he was really young. He has been on his own and on the street since he was a kid.

Do you draw anything from yourself to play T.J. ?

To a certain extent. But you know I grew up in a family that was full of love. (There was a) lot of interplay and it was a very positive thing. Some people have had a lot of stress in their childhood and they're better off dealing with the ups and downs in life. They're not caught by surprise when they get into their twenties and find out there's pain in life. (My attitude is,) "If you're going to screw me, there's nowhere to run, there's nowhere to hide." (T.J.) is trying to look for the shortest distance between two points. He was looking for someone that he could settle down with and it's avoiding him now. He says : "Screw all of the good stuff and the white picket fence and screw It's a Wonderful Life." I think everyone tries to be Jimmy Stewart and you can get frustrated and angry by the fact that you can't find it. So you might give in and put on the dark cloak and horns.

Are you satisfied with what you're doing on the show ?

Not really, but I guess things are going to start picking up. They've found my ditch, but they really haven't found my nitch. I mean it's a two-edged sword. The life of an actor is not very stratified. But the positive side of the sword is that you get to spend a lot of time with different avenues of your personal life. I spend a lot of time with the woman I love, Shauna Sullivan and also with Ashley (Chip's 6-year-old daughter). I spend a lot of time with her, more than coming in at 6 o'clock and patting her on the head and bringing a briefcase back. Sometimes you go nuts because you wish you had more to do and other times you're thankful for all of the time you have to spend with the people that you love.

Has Ashley expressed any interest in acting ?

Somewhat, but I'm totally against it. It's psycho enough out here in LA. I want her to be a curator at the Whitney Museum or something.