Before White was born, his parents were stage actors trying to make it on Broadway. When he appeared and they had to support the family, his father began to testify, and his mother went to education. White inherited the performance gene, studying ballet, tap and jazz as a child. It all ended when, at the ripe old age of 11, he felt frustrated by the lack of rigor in his high school dance program. “I didn’t think it was serious enough for me. So unpleasant,” he says, laughing. This prompted me to switch to the drama department.
He and his wife met in high school when they were both 14. “I instantly liked her a lot, and she liked me too, I think,” he says. “But she had a boyfriend. I was so clumsy about all these things. And then she went to another school and I was really devastated.” (They now have two children, ages 3 and 1.)
In the following years, he had several small plays and films under his belt. All this time, he desperately wanted to drop out of school. “I wasn’t a bad kid, I just hated school,” he says. “I knew it wasn’t going to help me.” As a compromise, he interned at a casting agency on the side, which helped make a real career in art more possible.
Immediately after graduation, he got the role of Lip Shameless. He moved to Los Angeles by himself at 18, a city kid who didn’t even know how to drive. “I didn’t have a community outside of the show when I got there, and I felt very isolated,” he says. “I used to go to Canter’s a lot and read the scripts. There was also something romantic about that loneliness in the first year.”