When Donald Faison isn’t trying his patients’ patience as newbie medical intern Chris Turk on NBC’s hit Scrubs, he’s at home playing a dinosaur for his kids. At a recent birthday party, “everyone thought he was a hired clown,” says his wife, Lisa, 26. Mostly, “he’s just a big kid himself.”
One who has had to grow up in recent years. After a role in the 1995 hit film Clueless and the subsequent TV spinoff, “I spent money on stupid things,” Faison, 27, says. “A motorcycle, a big-screen TV.” Soon, “I was broke.” Along came Lisa Askey, then a nursing student, whom he began dating in 1997 and wed last year. “I was lazy and she straightened me out,” says Faison, who went on to hire a business manager to help him pay his debts.
Faison can trace his showbiz aspirations to his parents, who worked as actors at Harlem’s National Black Theatre. Shirley, 48 and a talent agent, and Donald, 51, a building manager, split in 1992, when the oldest of their three sons graduated from Manhattan’s Professional Children’s School. After his Clueless stints, Faison landed a part on Felicity in 1999 before bubbling up on Scrubs.
For Faison, downtime is playtime with twins Kaya and Dade, 3, and son Kobe, 8 months (son Sean, 5, from a previous relationship, lives in Brooklyn). “It’s awesome,” says Faison, “to hear them scream, ‘Daddy!’ when I open the door.”