Timothy Omundson on Joining 'This Is Us': It 'Helped Fuel My Recovery'
One of the most-buzzed about topics surrounding This Is Us' fourth season has been the slew of new characters introduced. Among those characters is Timothy Omundson's Gregory, who is recovering from a stroke as Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Toby (Chris Sullivan) move in next-door with baby Jack.
Since the introduction of Gregory, fans previously unaware of Omundson's personal health struggles have been made aware of the custom role created by showrunner Dan Fogelman, who previously worked with the actor on cult-favorite Galavant. Below, Omundson opens up about his role on the NBC drama, his impending return to ABC's American Housewife which he originally appeared in during Season 1 as well as the upcoming Psych movie.
Your arrival on This Is Us has caused quite the frenzy. How do you feel about the fan reception to your character Gregory?
Timothy Omundson: It is really incredible and gratifying. I mean, it's such a huge show and it's pretty intimidating to walk on that set in that regards knowing that so many people love it, and so to see that he was so immediately taken in by the fans it seemed was really incredible.
How did you get involved with the show because the role seems to be tailored for you?
Oh yeah, actually Dan Fogelman wrote the part for me after I had my stroke. Dan and I'd worked on Galavant together for a year, so we knew each other pretty well. And while I was recovering from my stroke, he kept checking in on me, and trying to see when I was ready to come back and had told me as I continued to get stronger that hopefully he'd be able to find something for me on the show, which really helped fuel my recovery.
When fans met your character he was a bit standoffish. Now, his friendship with Kate seems super strong. Can we expect more moments between the characters moving forward?
I don't know how many more I'm going to be doing, but it's nice. I've done three so far, so I'm not sure how many more I'm going to do. As far as what's going to unfold between these characters, I really don't know.
Every time I get a script it's like Christmas morning. Just because I love the show so much. In fact, I almost don't even like reading the whole script because I don't want to know. I don't want to spoil it.
There were a lot of theories surrounding Season 4's new characters. What was your favorite theory about your character before fans learned about Gregory?
The one that really struck my attention, which I found funny, was that it might be Rebecca's father.
That would've been fun, but that theory was definitely squashed after the Season 4 premiere.
At least they got somebody named Tim. Tim Matheson is so great in that episode.
Everyone says the This Is Us set is like one big giant family. Did you feel like part of that family while on set?
I really did. I mean... Like I said, [Dan Fogelman]'s an old friend, an old colleague, so he was there my first day and it was just amazing to be back on set with him and have him throwing me jokes. Chrissy I'd met once at a charity thing so it was great to see her again. And Justin I'd met at a party once as well, so I knew that they were all great people. And Jon Huertas I've known sort of for years, from just sort of seeing on campus.
But I'd watched the show when it first came out, and then Season 1 got interrupted by my wee touch of a stroke. So when I was going back on the show we had to catch up and start binging, which was almost more terrifying because then you realize just how great these actors and actresses are. We were watching them, I was like, you really better, like you've got to bring up your game on this show.
People know you for your comedic roles in shows like Psych and Galavant. What can you tease about your return to American Housewife this week?
Yeah, I'm so grateful that [my character] Stan's back on that show, because there was a moment during the stroke and my recovery, I really wasn't sure I going to walk, let alone work. And my wife was sitting on the couch watching an episode of an American Housewife, where they talked about my character Stan and how he left town.
She burst into tears and she was like, "well that's probably it." Then, to get the offer to come back and do more was just... I had such an incredible group of support around me from friends and colleagues. It's helped me recover in ways that nobody can really understand.
You'll be returning for the second Psych movie, Psych 2: Lassie Come Home. What can you share about that project?
What can I say? It's really wonderful. I mean, the Psych cast and family are really the ones who have helped bring me back. I mean, I did that cameo in the first movie, which was right after my stroke so it was pretty limited. And then James Roday and Steve Franks rewrote the second movie to have much more Lassie in it, thus the name Lassie Come Home.
And it really mirrors a lot of what happened with me.
And when it comes to that subject, whether it's your role in This Is Us or in the Psych movie, how important is it to share your story through this medium of television?
Oh, it's hugely important to me. When Dan first approached me about coming on to This Is Us, he said, "you know, I'm thinking about writing a guy who's deep in recovery from a stroke." So we were talking about it, and I said, "I'm game, and I can't wait to show this story, because it's such an important one." Both roles really — especially in This is Us — really mirrors what I'm going through in my own life right now and where I'm at in my recovery.
So I'm hoping to really bring some awareness to stroke recovery and the fact that since that first This is Us aired, I've had so many people respond to me on Twitter and even Instagram telling me their own stories of recovery, and how grateful they were to see someone in their situation on TV. So that was incredibly gratifying and important to me just to show that there is hope.
This Is Us, Tuesdays, 9/8c, NBC
American Housewife, Fridays, 8/7c, ABC