Transformers tough guy Josh Duhamel has no problems poking fun at himself but is serious when it comes to helping people in need.
We can understand why some guys might be jealous of actor Josh Duhamel. The 63", 198-pounder is a handsome dude with a thriving acting career and a rock-star wife. (He’s married to former Black Eyed Peas singer Fergie.) But it turns out he’s a tough person to dislike—he works his ass off to stay in shape, has clawed his way up the ranks in Hollywood, doesn’t have a swollen ego, and involves himself in multiple charities in an attempt to raise awareness for deserving groups.
Duhamel’s athletic build is the product of years of training like an athlete, including playing both football and basketball at Minot State University in his home state of North Dakota.
“I thought I could have done something on the football field,” he said. “Then I realized I was nuts.”
These days, his training style relies mostly on circuits to remain lean and defined.
“I do circuit training with heavy cardio at least three times a week— heavy lifting if I’m looking to bulk up and keep muscle on—and interval 100-yard sprints uphill every day,” he says.
He’s also into yoga. “I’m 43, man... I need the flexibility...and it kicks my ass!”
Duhamel’s career in showbiz got started in 1999—about 20 minutes after he moved to Los Angeles. His first role? An extra in Donna Summer’s I Will Go with You music video. His next acting gig? An extra in Christina Aguilera’s video for Genie in a Bottle.
“I told everybody I was coming out to California to go to dental school, but that was a load of crap,” he admits. “I knew I wanted to be an actor, but I didn’t have a clue of how to do it. It was like sticking your toe in the water, and somehow I managed to get all the way in...and look at me now—I’m still treading water!”
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Through the early 2000s he held a steady job on the daytime soap All My Children, departing in ’03 to join film legend James Caan in the prime-time NBC series Las Vegas. The show ran five seasons, with Duhamel staying on for the duration. (Caan left after Season 4.)
Duhamel’s big break on the silver screen came in 2007, when he played Captain William Lennox in Michael Bay’s explosion fest Transformers; he has since appeared in the three Transformers sequels and will reprise his character again in 2017’s Transformers: The Last Knight.
Earlier this year, Duhamel earned praise for his role as an ass-kicking heel in 11.22.63, the J.J. Abrams-produced Hulu miniseries starring James Franco. In Spaceman, in theaters now, Duhamel plays trippy 1970s MLB pitcher Bill “Spaceman” Lee. Lee, the former Red Sox and Montreal Expos’ lefty, is best known for hating the Yankees, his free-spirit approach to the game, and his famous quote about the quality of artificial turf: “I don’t know, I never smoked it.”
Bill Lee taught Duhamel how to throw the infamous eephus pitch, a very slow junk ball used to fool batters.
“It’s a challenge to embody somebody like that,” Duhamel reveals. “He is so charismatic and incredibly smart, and I’m neither of those things. So I had to do my best acting work of my [career].”
Off-camera, Duhamel keeps a full schedule. Along with his role as husband and that of a father to his 3-year-old son, Axl, he’s busy helping people. Most recently he participated in a GMC-sponsored program called Building for America’s Bravest to raise money to erect handicap-accessible homes for wounded veterans.
“It’s something they deserve and sacrificed a lot for,” he says of the vets. “The least we can do is help them live comfortably and with dignity and independence.”
Other causes Duhamel advocates for include the Trevor Project, which raises money for LGBT kids, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation, for terminally ill children. He even worked with the Red Cross to organize a charity run to help Japanese earthquake victims build new homes.
Of course, instead of bragging about his charitable work, he jokes, “Hey! I’m an actor. I’ve got free time!”
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