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‘Desperate Housewives’ basement guy revealed

Caleb is a fugitive from justice in Chicago murder case
/ Source: The Associated Press

With a typical “Desperate Housewives” flourish of high drama, the man locked in a Wisteria Lane basement was revealed Sunday to be a fugitive from justice.

Caleb, being held in secret by neighborhood newcomer Betty Applewhite (Alfre Woodard), may be responsible for the killing four months ago of a teenage girl in Chicago — a crime for which another man has been arrested.

“It’s time we talked about her, Caleb,” Betty tells him after seeing a TV news report of the arrest. “Until you start accepting responsibility for what happened, you know I can’t let you out of here.”

Page Kennedy, the actor playing Caleb, remained a barely glimpsed mystery figure before Sunday. He’s glad to emerge from the shadows, but careful not to disclose much about his character.

“I do know that he’s sweet but he can be very dangerous,” Kennedy told The Associated Press.

The man’s story is evolving as production continues, he said. The actor doesn’t know Caleb’s fate and acknowledges that others on the suburban satire have met untimely ends.

Asked if Caleb makes it through the season, Kennedy said, “Yes,” then, after a pause, “Hopefully.”

During Sunday’s episode, Betty is seen composing a letter to Chicago police advising that an innocent person is in custody. Her son, Matthew (Mehcad Brooks), warns her that she’s putting Caleb, who appears to be in his 20s and developmentally disabled, in danger.

“He’s not a killer,” she said. “He was confused.”

“They’re not gonna care how slow Caleb is. They’ll just execute him,” Mehcad replies. Caleb’s relationship to the Applewhites is not made clear.

The murder victim was identified as a 17-year-old high school student named Melanie Foster.

Actor thrilled to join showKennedy said he’ll have no regrets even if his “Desperate Housewives” run turns out to be brief. He was so intent on joining the show that he let other opportunities go, including a recurring role on Showtime’s “Barber Shop” and parts on WB’s upcoming Rebecca Romijn series “Pepper Dennis” and on UPN’s “Love, Inc.”

“I needed this opportunity to play this kind of character,” Kennedy said. “It isn’t the kind that comes around often and it’s usually played by a name (actor). This is an opportunity for me to showcase all the years of training I’ve had.”

The hit ABC series represents the chance of “making a name for myself,” he said.

Kennedy, 28, a Detroit native, studied at Western Michigan University and “fell in love with Shakespeare.” He pursued his passion with graduate studies at the University of Delaware.

Working steadily since moving to Los Angeles five years ago, he’s appeared in the HBO series “Six Feet Under” (he was a football player who dies of heat stroke) and made his film debut as a bad guy in 2003’s “S.W.A.T.” He’s in the movie “In the Mix,” opening on his birthday, Nov. 23.

“Desperate Housewives,” which ranks among the top-rated series with about 25 million viewers weekly, represents “the biggest exposure I’ll have gotten,” Kennedy said.

He nearly missed out on it.

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Kennedy had to finish a “Barber Shop” scene before he could audition for “Desperate Housewives” and the producers had cooperated by pushing his tryout time to the end of the day at 5 p.m. The “Barber Shop” shoot, however, ran long.

“So 5 o’clock came, then 5:45. I booked to my car and rushed from Paramount to Universal in the middle of traffic,” Kennedy recalled. “When I got there they were all leaving. But they came back and watched and (series creator) Marc Cherry said it was worth the wait.”

Whether “Desperate Housewives” proves his big break, Kennedy is enjoying the ride.

“Alfre Woodard’s my favorite actress. To meet her and have her be so kind and open and welcoming to me is a great thing,” he said, adding that the rest of the female-dominated cast have been “so sweet and nice to me.”

His hope is to someday gain the clout to star in a film version of his favorite play, something a bit more classic than “Desperate Housewives.”

“My dream and my goal is to play Richard III,” Kennedy said. “Now I just need to get someone to hire me to do Shakespeare on film.”