Q: What has happened to the actor Ken Wahl? What was the name of the show he starred in?

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Adam Thomlison / TV Media

A lot has happened to Ken Wahl, star of the late-'80s cop-show phenomenon "Wiseguy." Not all of it was good, but he got through it with his spirit intact.

A Huffington Post profile of Wahl, written in 2013, rightly points out that the actor's real life "reads like a Hollywood script."

He stumbled into a heartthrob-y acting career after he tried out for a small part in the 1979 teen-gang picture "The Wanderers" but was given a leading role instead. A few big parts in relatively forgettable films followed before he got his career-defining role as conflicted undercover cop Vinnie Terranova in "Wiseguy," a gritty and groundbreaking hit that earned Wahl a Golden Globe and an Emmy nod.

But not long after leaving the show (he insists he quit -- others have said he was fired), he suffered a bad accident that broke his neck and severely injured his spine.

He suffered through a few more roles before retiring from acting -- two telefilms (one of which brought him back to his "Wiseguy" role) and the 1994 big-screen rom-com "The Favor," also featuring next-gen heartthrob Brad Pitt ("Fight Club," 1999).

Wahl "suffered through" those roles literally. The accident left him in chronic pain, he said in the Huffington Post interview, but he was urged to keep working by his business manager at the time, who he also said was helping to defraud him. By the time the 2000s rolled around, he had been out of acting for years and was basically poor.

But then he found a new calling.

These days he devotes his time to caring for rescued animals and works with charities that connect traumatized war veterans with support animals.

He gave a follow up interview to the Huffington Post in 2014 -- he has been very media-shy since leaving the biz but was open with HuffPo writer Joan K. Smith -- and said he has experienced firsthand the benefits of caring for, and getting care from, an animal.

"In caring for animals, you get away from that despair, you get outside of your own head. … In return, that animal loves you unconditionally, and it's very therapeutic," Wahl attested. "I'm not saying it's a panacea, but it is one thing that can help tremendously."


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