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Actor Rosenbaum returns to WKU for presentation at 2009 Alumni College

Actor Michael Rosenbaum posed for pictures, signed autographs and mingled with fans Saturday afternoon.

But he wasn’t on the red carpet at a Hollywood premiere. He was on the Big Red carpet at his alma mater for a presentation to participants in WKU’s 2009 Alumni College.

Actor Michael Rosenbaum (right) returned to WKU on Saturday for a presentation at Alumni College. Rosenbaum, a 1995 graduate, talked about his career as an actor and what WKU has meant to him.  (WKU Photo by Bryan Lemon)

Actor Michael Rosenbaum (right) returned to WKU on Saturday for a presentation at Alumni College. Rosenbaum, a 1995 graduate, talked about his career as an actor and what WKU has meant to him. (WKU Photo by Bryan Lemon)

“I came back because when I came in as a freshman, I had no idea what I wanted to do, but there was so much opportunity here,” said Rosenbaum, a 1995 WKU graduate who grew up in Newburgh, Ind.

As a student at WKU, Rosenbaum took classes in broadcasting, theater, opera, drama, television and radio. He acted in plays and worked as disc jockey for the campus radio station.

“I really think Western gave me the confidence to go out and do what I wanted,” Rosenbaum said. “I love this university because it helped me get to where I wanted to be.”

In his presentation to about 50 people at WKU’s Mass Media and Technology Hall Auditorium, Rosenbaum said he chose WKU because of its great theater program, its affordability and its intimate feel. “It felt like home so that was important to me,” he said.

“I came back to tell you that anything is possible. I’m a perfect example of why WKU works,” he said.

“Michael has been gracious about coming back and has been a joy to work with,” said Ginny Hensley, director of alumni programming for the WKU Alumni Association. “He’s made it big but when he comes back to WKU he’s appreciative of the start he received here.”

After graduating from WKU and moving to New York City, “I had the confidence to know I could do it,” Rosenbaum said.

While he may be best known for his role as Lex Luthor in TV’s “Smallville,” Rosenbaum has appeared in “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,” “Sorority Boys,” “Poolhall Junkies,” “Urban Legend,” “Sweet November,” “Bringing Down the House” and more.

When Rosenbaum got a call to audition for the role of Lex Luthor, he found out that about 700 other actors had auditioned. He was told the producers wanted to someone with a sense of danger, some charisma and some comedy.

“The only thing you can do is to do what you do and that is act,” he said. “The next thing you know I’m shaving my head every day for seven years.”

Since leaving “Smallville” last May, Rosenbaum has been asked numerous times about whether he’ll return to the show.

“They’ve been trying to get me to come back,” he said. “I made bald people cool, but I don’t want to shave it again. ‘Smallville’ was a huge success so I’m very grateful.”

After playing a villain for seven years, Rosenbaum said “now it’s all about developing new relationships with the comedy world.”

He recently filmed a TV pilot with Henry Winkler for NBC, but the show didn’t get picked up. Rosenbaum also may begin work later this year on another comedy film “Wing Man.”

And whether he’s in Los Angeles for a Lakers game or in Vancouver for an acting job, Rosenbaum remains a Hilltopper. He even has a bat signed by last year’s Sun Belt Conference baseball champions and a basketball signed by the 2007-08 WKU’s NCAA Sweet 16 team.

“Back home in Los Angeles, everyone knows Western because I constantly talk about it,” he said.

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