Fred Savage Reveals How He Avoided the 'Trappings' of Hollywood as a Teen: 'I Had a Regular Life'

"My friends and social life were not show business people," recalls Fred Savage, who was a child actor on The Wonder Years

Fred Savage may have been an Emmy-nominated actor for The Wonder Years by age 13, but he says he was never a Hollywood kid.

"I had really supportive parents and my friends and social life were not show business people," Savage, 45, who is currently producing and directing The Wonder Years reboot (premiering Sept. 22 on ABC), tells PEOPLE. "I had a regular life."

Continues Savage: "The being famous part was never really part of my experience. I was insulated from it. I got to go to the Emmys and be the grand marshal of the Mardi Gras parade and have all these cool experiences, but whether I was famous or not never really registered for me, and I think that was better in the long-term."

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the wonder years
The Wonder Years. ABC Archives/Getty

And by the time The Wonder Years finished its six-season run in 1993, Savage was still not drawn to the darker side of the entertainment industry, instead choosing to complete high school and then attend Stanford University where he majored in English.

"Hollywood nightlife and the trappings of Hollywood weren't really part of my experience," he says. "I wasn't friends with a lot of Hollywood people. I was friendly with them, but that wasn't my life. I'd be lying if I didn't say at the time that I thought I wanted it to be! But I had a really full life with great friends."

Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU/Getty

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Now, as the reboot of his beloved series is primed for debut, Savage says he's reminiscing fondly about his life thus far — and especially how The Wonder Years helped form his career, and change his life.

"People work their whole careers in show business to be part of something that endures and means something to people," he says. "The fact that I was able to do that at a young age is really special to me. And I look back on it with an incredible amount of gratitude."

The Wonder Years reboot premieres Sept. 22 on ABC.

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