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Gary Cole's personal crusade

‘Wanted’ star working to raise money, awareness for autism
/ Source: Access Hollywood

Actor Gary Cole is a busy man with his new series "Wanted," for TNT, along with his role on NBC's "West Wing" and voiceover work for FOX cartoon "Family Guy."

But in his downtime, Cole is a crusader for a cause very close to his heart.

"You play with the cards you are dealt with and that was the situation," he told Access Hollywood. "My daughter Mary is 12-years-old and she was diagnosed with autism-spectrum disorder when she was 18 months."

But it was a situation Gary was determined to change.

Mary is one of more than a million kids suffering from autism in the United States, a disease that affects speech and social skills. And for Gary and his wife, Teddi, raising an autistic child has been quite a learning experience.

"It's kind of all about really seeing through her eyes," Gary continued. "People with autism, I don't like to think of it as a disability, I like to think of it as another way of thinking or perceiving. And I felt my job was to try to perceive everything on some level through her eyes so I could know what it was like to walk in her shoes."

And that means taking some big steps to speak out about this devastating disease. Gary is using his celebrity status to educate the public with "The Help Group" day schools and public service announcements.

But when he is not fighting this serious cause, Gary is busy fighting crime on his new renegade thriller, "Wanted," where he plays the leader of an urban elite law enforcement unit.

And as for doing his own stunts, he's happy to let his body double take over.

"I am too old to have anything to prove," he laughed. "The joke is I do all my own stunts except the ones I would be hurt doing." "Wanted" debuts July 31 on TNT.