Jeremy Holm has performed on stages all over the world, and he has roles in two of the country’s most popular television series: House of Cards and Mr. Robot.
But while the depth and breadth of the roles played by Holm is certainly impressive, one of his best acting jobs took place three decades ago, far from any stage, when he tagged along with a friend who was registering for classes at Colorado State University.
Holm, who grew up in Conifer, just west of Denver, had considered CSU while looking at colleges but hadn’t quite gone through the process of applying for admission. Still, he brought his application that day and walked into Moby Arena to see how the registration process worked.
“I just started walking up to tables and asking for cards for some classes,” he said, chuckling at the memory. “I explained that I hadn’t received my acceptance letter but I showed them my completed registration form. Next thing you know, I had a full load of classes.”
Quite an act
By the time the day was over, Holm not only was ready for the fall semester, he had secured a spot in a residence hall for this freshman year – all without applying, let alone getting accepted.
“My acceptance letter showed up three weeks into classes,” he said with a laugh. He earned his bachelor’s degree in performing arts in 1993.
Holm’s performance was just a hint of what was to come at CSU and throughout a successful 30-year professional career. Over the course of his undergraduate journey at CSU he either acted in or worked on the technical side of productions in every semester, starting with the musical Guys and Dolls, before moving into community theater with OpenStage Theater and Company in Fort Collins.
A rising star
Morris Burns, who retired in 2004 after a 34-year career teaching theater at CSU, vividly remembers Holm.
“He called about a week before classes started his freshman year hoping to meet with a professor – that’s how passionate he was about getting started in the theater program,” Burns said. “That passion never left him. He got a part (Liverlips Louie) in Guys and Dolls that first semester, and I’ll bet I worked with him on 10 or 12 productions after that. He was always getting cast because he not only had the passion for acting, he had natural ability. And he really, really wanted to be successful.
“It was a rewarding time for me, as a teacher, to work with someone who is so richly gifted and also has the energy and spirit to develop those gifts.”
Paying his dues
Holm earned a master’s degree in theater from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee before hitting the circuit, working in stage productions for more than 20 years. To make ends meet, he worked 12 years at Del Frisco’s restaurant in New York, waiting tables for celebrities like Sean Hannity and Megyn Kelly and regulars from nearby NBC’s studio. He waited his last table in 2016 when his career in television began to take off.
“I’ll always be grateful to the folks at Del Frisco’s,” he said. “They helped me survive, and they were always understanding when I had to leave for an audition or to do a play.”
Early TV credits include appearances on Blue Bloods, American Odyssey and Law & Order. He made more than 50 appearances on the ABC hit Primetime: What Would You Do? over five seasons.
His big break came when he landed the role of Agent Nathan Green on House of Cards in 2013. The sixth and final season launched earlier this month on Netflix.
In 2016 he secured the role of Mr. Sutherland on the popular USA series Mr. Robot which, like House of Cards, has earned numerous awards, including Golden Globes and Emmy nominations.
“I feel incredibly fortunate to be part of two successful series,” Holm said. “The woman who cast House of Cards saw me on Primetime: What Would You Do? and championed me getting a role on House of Cards. I probably auditioned for five or six roles before I was cast as Agent Green.”
His TV roles have helped him expand his resume to include movies. He landed the title role in The Ranger and has parts in five more films.
Good for the bad guy
More often than not he is cast as a “bad guy” – not exactly what you would expect from the father of two young daughters (Sagan and Ellis) who relishes his home life in Vermont with his wife, Dawn Wagner.
“My parents got divorced when I was 4, and I had some anger issues,” he said of his upbringing in the mountains. “That stuff is in me, way down there, and I have pretty easy access to it even though I’m really a happy guy. Actually, it’s a lot of fun being the bad guy.”
As for the future, Holm – who recently turned 50 – is ready for anything. His ever-expanding list of credits has given him access to bigger and better roles. Right now he’s simply enjoying the ride while remaining just as wide-eyed about the thrill of performing as he was in kindergarten when he played the giant in Jack and the Beanstalk.
“If I could get in a time machine and go back to CSU I would, because it was one of the most delightful times of my life – incredible teachers and exciting experiences,” he said. “In terms of how I am as an actor, that was the first formative time for me. I used to walk around the Oval while memorizing my lines. The atmosphere at CSU provides such a rich and interesting mix of humanity in a beautiful setting. I loved it.”