Fear not: If Kurt’s dad on Glee doesn’t come out of a coma, Mike O’Malley will still be employed.
The actor who plays blue-collar Burt Hummel is coy about this week’s cliffhanger that left his character in a hospital bed on the brink of death, but in real life O’Malley is doing just fine.
He has another project as a writer/producer on Shameless, a Showtime series set to air in January starring William H. Macy, and keeps busy as a playwright and coach to his son’s baseball, basketball and soccer team.
O’Malley caught up with PEOPLE to dish on the emotional episode that had everyone talking:
1. No Burt Ghost
“There’s been some conversation about whether or not at the end of that episode, I did indeed move my finger,” O’Malley says. “I did move my finger. But it doesn’t necessarily mean – Okay, I’ll put it this way – I’m not dead at the end of last week’s episode.” He won’t elaborate on what viewers can expect next week, but says, “I doubt very much that there’s going to be a ghost character.”
2. Method Acting as a Near-Corpse
“They told me, ‘You know what, Mike? You don’t need any makeup. You’re fine as is,’ ” he says. “I thought they were going to try to make me look somewhat deathly. I was like, ‘Don’t you need to add anything to this?’ So, I’m walking around in my normal life, looking like I just had a heart-attack. That’s what that notion is telling you when they tell you that you don’t need any makeup.”
3. A Big Post-Coma Number?
“I think it would be awesome if Burt lives, if part of his moment is him picking up the guitar,” O’Malley says. “There doesn’t seem to be any clamor for a song from Burt, but I would love if it happens. Is there an actor who wouldn’t want to sing on one of the top-rated shows in the country? Of course I want to sing!”
4. His Family Didn’t Watch
“My kids are 3, 5, and 7, so they don’t have any notion of me as an actor, really,” O’Malley says. “The kids don’t really watch Glee. We try to follow the TV ratings guidelines, and I think Glee is 12-plus, and it deals with some of the cruelty that people in high school perpetuate on one another. My kids have plenty of time before they have to be introduced to the cruelty of the world.”