Chris Grabher – Catching up with the Senior Superlatives! Where are they now?

Noah Schwartz

The next subject of  “Catching up with the Senior Superlatives! Where are they now?” came to me about 13 years ago while renovating my family’s house. During this renovation, we found countless playing cards stuck behind the radiators and baseboards. These mysterious playing cards were discovered to be the product of the past owner’s son, Chris Grabher, practicing magic and card throwing. At that time, all I knew about him was that he liked magic, performing, circus, and was working some in movies. Where is he now?

Mr. Grabher graduated Harwood in 1999 with the senior superlative of “Class Clown,” a title he most certainly earned. In a recent interview over the phone from Los Angeles, CA, Grabher said “Coming into Harwood, I was sort of a young clown. Not in a red nose, or anything, per se….I was sort of a physical comedian. I would do pratfalls [a staged tumble, often onto your buttocks, for comedic effect – NYTimes] and I would juggle things at lunch.”

He was in every play and musical that ran during his time at Harwood.  “Show business was always sort of my thing. I was involved heavily with the Drama Club, and I did all the school plays and the musicals. My world centered around those events that took place at Harwood (…)If there was a skit to be performed, I was probably the first one to raise my hand.” said Grabher. He was also known for unicycling in front of the HU marching band while juggling beanbags in HU’s black and gold colors. As for academics, Mr. Grabher described himself as an average student and his favorite class was creative writing. This class was his favorite simply because storytelling was one of his many outlets.

After Mr. Grabher graduated from Harwood, he went to New York City and studied theater at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, completing a three year drama program. “I joined the Union, the Actors Equity Association, and started working professionally as an actor in New York City, doing theater, and some regional touring shows.” During this time, to support himself, Grabher “would go to Central Park and juggle and hopefully someone would put a tip in my hat. I would do a little show in Central Park. I was a 20 year old kid, just making cash for the weekend.” After studying theater, Grabher worked as an actor in New York City. “I was just doing theater and no real circus stuff. At that point. I was sort of kind of transitioning away from that [circus] a little bit.”

Grabher moved to Los Angeles in 2006 to pursue movies and television. “My very first job [In LA] that I got was as a mime in a national McDonald’s commercial, so here I was using my skills that I had sort of gained through my upbringing, appearing on national television in this big McDonald’s campaign as a mime.” These acting gigs continued, but did not quite always pay the bills. He held catering and other odd jobs as well. In time, Mr. Grabher’s acting career started to grow. “I’d say about five years into my time in LA is when things started to really pick up for me. I was in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland where I was juggling top hats. I was in the Greatest Showmen juggling fire. The movie Water for Elephants had come out and I had worked six weeks on that movie set as a clown. I found myself using all of these skills and booking all of these sort of mainstream roles.” This was a time of transition for Grabher, who was moving from roles as an “extra” to more substantial acting roles. Grabher credits his relatively quick rise in LA to his earlier experiences in theater and Circus Smirkus, where he performed in the Big Top Circus Tour for 10 years.

Mr. Grabher says that he has “started to slow down with the let’s call it clowning per se. For a few years now, I’ve been transitioning to more dramatic roles, on television, such as Grey’s Anatomy…I also have had half a dozen other television shows as some sort of a whimsical actor. I’ve done many different parts, I guess, here and there wearing a variety of hats- comedy and drama.” Mr. Grabher just recently returned from Virginia shooting his latest dramatic role in the film Raymond and Ray, where he co-starred with Ewan McGregor and Ethan Hawke as their half brother. The movie will be on Apple TV+ in about 9 months.

Reflecting on his career, Grabher says “It’s my full time living. I got a house and a couple kids and a wife and I can’t see myself doing anything else.” “My ambition or my wants and desires have sort of stayed on course, since being that class clown.” To end, here is Chris Grabher advice for everyone, “Keep it classy and be kind to everyone, please.”

 

Stay tuned for more editions of “Catching up with the Senior Superlatives! Where are they now?”