Joseph Lawrence, the 27-year-old artist formerly known as Joey on Gimme a Break! and Blossom, is getting back to his sitcom roots this fall with the WB's Run of the House. He plays Kurt, the eldest of four sibs who is left in charge when mom and dad fly south for the winter. It's a character the real-life older brother to 23-year-old Matt and 15-year-old Andy can relate to.
"I always felt with Matt that I was more of a surrogate-like father/uncle type than I was an actual bro who would throw down and party with him," explains Lawrence, whose recurring role on American Dreams will come to an end this fall. "So I think that [my character], Kurt, feels that way, too, and throws the responsibility onto his shoulders. I identify with that."
With House, Lawrence sees his career coming full circle. "I was always the zany kid with the catch phrase, or whatever," he says. "Now, it's kind of cool to come back and... find the humor in the reality of situations, and let the humor come out of an angry situation or a hostile situation."
Speaking of humorous situations, what's the real reason the actor changed his first name from Joey to Joseph? "For me, honestly, my name was never Joey," he insists. "I always said that when I do [acting] for real, and this is my livelihood, and I have to support my family and my children one day, that... my card would say 'Joseph Lawrence,' because that's the name I was born with. You can call me whatever you want, but Joseph is what I want to see up there [on screen]."