Although she has it all — grace, intellect, talent and an international pedigree — theater and television actor Meg Wolf says she finds balance and happiness in being normal.
Born in New Jersey to a father who worked internationally, Wolf — now an Idyllwild resident — spent her fifth birthday in Saudi Arabia, and fifth and sixth grades in Belgium. Returning to the U.S., Wolf attended school in Lake Forest, Illinois, just outside Chicago. She attended prestigious Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, graduating Phi Beta Kappa. While at Carleton she studied abroad and was classically trained in theater in London. “Classical training is incomparable,” she said. “And theater is so accessible in London.” She described how she and her classmates at the British American Drama Academy in Oxford could attend London theater on discounted student tickets. “I went to the theater five times a week and saw all the shows in London,” she said. “Living in England [where live theater performances are so ubiquitous] taught me that you could be a normal person and still be an actor.”
Wolf contrasted her experience there with that of actors in the U.S. where live professional theater is only available in major cities and where actors, to survive economically, must seek out more rarified careers in television and film.
Told by a trusted theater mentor at Carleton that she had the chops to make it professionally, Wolf went to New York after graduation, interning both at the Manhattan Theatre Club and the Williamstown Theatre Festival, and meeting theater and film luminaries Joanne Woodward, Paul Newman, Michael Ritchie, Christopher Reeve and James Naughton. “Through these experiences, including backstage work, I got to be around people as passionate about all aspects of theater as I was about acting.”
While in a play in Minneapolis, Wolf was seen by a casting agent and subsequently was booked in a lot of television commercial work. “Target and Best Buy were headquartered there and I had a ton of work,” she said. And even though classically trained, her first lines in a big paying job were part of a Target employee training video — “A lot of people ask if our hot dogs are all beef and I say, ‘No, but they are all meat.’”
Wolf laughed because that is the way it is for actors in the U.S. — commercials, television and film pay. She is a SAG actor, is regularly featured in many national commercials and has appeared in TV dramas such as “American Horror Story,” “The Mentalist” and “Private Practice.”
“Acting is what I do. I’m singularly untalented in any other ways,” she said smiling. “It’s an amazing way to be a grown-up child, to pretend and have others pretend with you.” And in Wolf’s case, it is also her way to be normal, refreshingly normal.
Onstage, Wolf is known as a “giving” actor, delighting in being part of the ensemble and supporting her fellow actors in their work. “My job as a theater actor is to make everyone around me look good,” she said. “I was trained when you get your script not to highlight your lines but to spend more time looking at the lines of the other actors. That is how you learn who you are as a character.”
Wolf is happily married, touts her newest production as her beautiful toddler daughter Eloise Audrey Wolf, and is currently gracing the Stratford Players’ stage in “Engaging Shaw.”