Neil Flynn was kicking around show business for 20 years when his big break came from what was supposed to be a nothing, one-time role on " Scrubs."
He was the janitor.
"There was no promise that he would ever appear again after the pilot," Flynn tells Zap2it. "And then Bill Lawrence, who created the show -- [who] I owe an eternal debt to -- he just wrote me into every show for eight years."
Flynn now plays Mike Heck, the dad on ABC's " The Middle."
"Mike and Frankie ( Patricia Heaton) balance each other well as characters," Flynn says. "And they are believable."
The comedy, which often flies under the radar, "is relatable," he says. "It is pretty grounded."
This show has also been wonderful for him, he says. "The producers of 'The Middle' were looking forward for me to audition," Flynn says. "And that is the only time anyone has ever anticipated my arrival at an audition! That they would give me that part, that is actually flattering me."
Show creators DeAnn Heline and Eileen Heisler -- who both are mothers and wives -- and the writing staff cull from their real lives, he says, which is why it feels so real to those struggling to make ends meet and coping with the often amusing aspects of parenting.
It's a far cry from Flynn's real life.
"I grew up pretty happily, with two parents and a lot of brothers and sisters," he says, though he's never wed or had kids. "For some reason that wasn't enough evidence for me. I never married. I was too much doing what I want, when I want, and that is the opposite of having a family."
Being an actor "is a dream job for someone like me who doesn't want to follow rules," Flynn says. "I know how lucky I am to have this job."
Hometown: Waukegan, Ill.
Always in refrigerator: Beer
Exercise: Push-ups. "I used to play sports, and that has been replaced by playing fantasy sports," Flynn says.
Pets: "I used to have a cat, but he died," Flynn says. "I found a cat at 'Scrubs,' but then something got him, and that inspired a storyline in an episode earlier this year where my character had a cat at work, and my family had never heard of it."
Other jobs: Furniture mover, waiter, substitute teacher
Favorite books: " ' The Catcher in the Rye.' The Rabbit series by John Updike. [ James] Thurber."
Favorite music: "Eighty percent of what I listen to is from the '70s, the '60s. A lot of your singer/songwriters: James Taylor, Paul Simon, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. A person with a guitar that wrote the song they are playing. Other stuff has gotten in there over the years. I liked Nirvana and Green Day."
Photo/Video credit: NewsCom