One of Illinois State University's most famous alums now has an honorary PhD from his alma mater. Actor/producer Sean Hayes, who gained fame portraying the outrageous Jack McFarland a decade ago on TV's "Will and Grace" says he's very honored and touched by the degree bestowed upon him at Founder's Day activities. Hayes, from Glen Ellyn, told students during ceremonies on campus he would advise against entering the entertainment industry...but then he qualified the statement.
"Don't do it. It's hard. It will suck the life out of you. It takes forever. It has the ability to crush your spirit. But after hearing all that, if you still want to do it you will because you can't not do it. And you'll probably be very successful because you need to do things that are from your heart and the rewards will follow."
Hayes says he enjoys coming back to ISU and revisiting some of his old haunts, such as Watterson Towers where he spent his early student days. He says he and some friends loved to prowl through Downtown Normal and he says they often hung out at a nearby vacated railroad depot. Hayes, who starred in last year's film "The Three Stooges" as Larry Fine, produces the hit cable TV series "Hot in Cleveland" and is about to launch a pilot for NBC called Monster's University, where he voices an animated character, Terri.
Though he's not comfortable talking about it in public, Hayes says he's glad Illinois is on the verge of legalizing same-sex marriage. He says having gay marriage makes the state "smarter."
"I'm glad that society, like this town, is finally coming up to 2013 and finally becoming smarter, less ignorant and more tolerant."
The state senate passed a same-sex marriage measure last week and now faces the democratically-controlled house. Governor Quinn says he'll sign the proposal if it reaches him. Hayes character on Will and Grace was gay and the actor came out a few years ago.
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