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From a Hit TV Show to Hitting Books at Harvard

FAST TRACK: Up and Comers in Arts and Entertainment * One in a Series

November 09, 1994|N.F. MENDOZA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Scott Weinger is grabbing for the brass ring. With gusto, even.

"I made the leap," says Weinger, 19. After two years as D.J.'s boyfriend, Steve, on ABC's hit sitcom "Full House," he left for his current role as a freshman at Harvard.

Even though he's heard some criticism--"Some people can't believe I'd leave a hit TV show"--he's convinced he made the right decision.

"It's not like Hollywood is going to go anywhere while I'm away at school," the Florida native says confidently. "Going to Harvard is as much a goal and a dream of mine as being an actor."

Despite his new Boston address and pride in his frosh status, Weinger isn't exactly staying away from show business, which he's been in since he was 8. He's kept the job he got in March--as official "youth correspondent" for ABC's "Good Morning America"--and stars in the "ABC Family Movie" remake of "The Shaggy Dog," set to air Saturday. The producers of "Full House" told him they'll write him in on occasion when he's here on vacation.

And, oh yeah, that's Weinger's princely voice you can hear six days a week as TV's Aladdin. He's been the genie-owning boy's speaking voice in Disney's movie "Aladdin," in the video "The Return of Jafar" and in this fall's "Aladdin: The Series." (Brad Kane does the singing for Aladdin.)

For two years, Weinger attended high school classes, worked days on "Full House" and evenings voicing "Aladdin" (including 78 TV episodes for the first season). So going to college while continuing to work for "Good Morning America" is only a matter of shifting balance.

"The exciting thing is, I can still just hop on a plane to do a story, wherever they want me to go," he explains. "I can come back to school later that night or the next day and get right back into academia."

He says he writes all his segments for the morning show. He'll also be doing lots of writing as an English literature major.

"We have amazing teachers here," Weinger says. "I sat in on a class when I was just visiting, before I actually started, and I learned more in one class than I did in four years of high school English."

He finds time to phone or e-mail girlfriend Kellie Martin, whom he met when each was 13. "She got accepted at Yale," he says proudly. "But she had to defer a year because she's doing (CBS') 'Christy' in Tennessee right now."

When he feels more settled into the collegiate world, his next pursuit will either be theater or journalism. "They put on 60 productions a year here," he says. "Maybe I can do something there. But I also might want to write for one of the papers. But academics have the top priority."

Eventually, he'll return to show business and Los Angeles. "I'm interested in every aspect of the industry, and in the work I've done, I've gotten a taste of just about every job in Hollywood, except maybe masseuse," he says with a laugh.

Actually, he could return sooner rather than later. "I've got people out there looking for something interesting," he says. "My general feeling is, if something really tempting came along while I'm here, I'll go for it. After all, Harvard's been here 400 years and isn't going anywhere. If I graduate later, at 22 or 23, it's not a great loss. I won't be too old to continue acting."

* "Aladdin: The Series" airs weekdays at 3:30 p.m. on KADY; 4 p.m. on XETV; 4:30 p.m. on KCAL-TV Channel 9 and on Saturdays at 8 a.m. on CBS (Channels 2 and 8). "The Shaggy Dog" airs at 8 p.m. Saturday on ABC (Channels 7, 3, 10 and 42).

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