Gabriel Macht's parents hoped their son would be a doctor or a lawyer. They got their wish, sort of: He's played both on TV.
From the time he was 8, Gabriel, the son of actor Stephen Macht, knew reciting lines and hitting his mark would be his destiny.
"At an early age, I watched movies and was able to recite some lines, and my father was an actor, and he had a bunch of his actor friends around. They'd always come over to the house, and there was a lot of hanging out and having coffee and all this stuff," Gabriel Macht says. "And I'd come in ... jump on the table and do a song and dance. And they'd start cracking up and laughing. Some say, why'd you become an actor? One of the reasons is because (somebody) clapped."
Macht didn't have to pass the bar for his role as pragmatic lawyer Harvey Specter on the USA series "Suits," now into its fourth season. But he faced a trial anyway. Another actor had been cast by the time he read the script.
"I had been doing film for 15 years, and saw a lot of the better writing was in television," he says. "I asked my representation about it, and they said they were going with another guy. And they did. ... And he turned it down.
"Then I said, 'Can I get in?' I sat down with Aaron Korsh, the creator, and the producers, and coming out of that meeting, they said, 'This is our guy. We need to see him read, but this is our guy.' ... I did the work and came prepared, and did the audition. They all believed in me, which allowed me to believe more and more in the character.
Macht didn't have to learn organic chemistry for his role as Dr. Mark Gabriel in Steven Spielberg's sci-fi series "The Others," either. But that was a different situation. Macht didn't want to do television when that part came along.
"I was making $210 a week doing a play," Macht says. "I was told to go out for pilot season, (but) I didn't want to do television. I was told there was one show that Steven Spielberg was doing. I thought, 'OK, I'll just show my face. I won't even prepare for it. He's never going to hire me, but I'd love for him to just see my face and think of me for a movie he's doing, whatever.'
"I had a rehearsal (for the play) from 11 to 2, and was able to do the audition at 2:30, and came back to prepare for the night's performance. I found out five minutes before ... the performance that I got the series, where I would be making a lot more than $200 a week."
Right after college at Carnegie Mellon, Macht studied acting for two years with coach Harold Guskin while working intermittent jobs. But watching his father's career had prepared him for downtime. He says, "Seeing the ups and downs of a career in Hollywood helped me in many ways. It's like the stock market. There are times when you're successful, and there is tons of failure. To see that (while) growing up was really the best sort of model. I knew there would be times I'd work a lot and times not."
Besides acting, Macht loves being a father. He has been married to actress Jacinda Barrett for nearly 10 years. They have a 6-year-old daughter.
"I'm so appreciative of the opportunity I've had to work and the people I've been able to work with, but I think family trumps everything," says Macht, 32, "to produce a ... little being who's ... exploring everything and is kind and is motivated and strong and stubborn -- all these things. I hate to label her because she's a billion things more than that. But to produce a child that's going to be good for humanity -- that's what I'm more proud of -- and becoming a father was enormous."