'Malcolm' at 35: a life with many twists and turns
'Malcolm in the Middle' star Frankie Muniz just turned 35 and he's already had a rollercoaster of a life so far. As a teenager, he was 'the next big thing' in Hollywood. As a young man, he had a stroke and forgot about much of his acting years. Now, two decades after 'Malcolm,' Frankie Muniz is at a totally different place once again. Read his remarkable story.
On January 9, 2000, the first chapter of 'Malcolm in the Middle' was broadcast on Fox. The comedy starred a dysfunctional family whose main character is the son Malcolm. A stunning 23 million people watched that first episode. From that moment, 14-year-old Frankie Muniz became a global star.
There were seven seasons, 151 episodes, and much approval from the public and critics. Frankie Muniz, born on December 5, 1985, was nominated for two Golden Globes and an Emmy. People saw him as the new Macaulay Culkin.
Along with Frankie Muniz, two outstanding cast members were Jane Kaczmarek and Bryan Cranston. They played the parents Lois and Hal.
By the way, Bryan Cranston would go from being Malcolm's father to one of TV's greatest characters: Walter White, or Heisenberg, in 'Breaking Bad'.
What not everyone knows is that Hal's role in 'Malcolm in the Middle' was key to Bryan Cranston getting the part in 'Breaking Bad'. Director Vince Gilligan loved Cranston's sense of humor in the comedy. He thought that his comical acting would suit the character of a chemistry-teacher-gone-rogue in 'Breaking Bad.' And he was right. (By the way, the other option for the role was Matthew Broderick.)
Interestingly, while Bryan Cranston's career rose like a shooting star, Frankie Muniz stopped after 'Malcolm'. In 2006, when he was 20 years old, the series ended. To the surprise of many in Hollywood, Muniz decided to explore alternative jobs.
In 2004, the young actor had begun showing great interest in car racing. With the nice earnings from 'Malcolm in the Middle,' he was able to start a professional career as a racer.
He participated in the 'Champ Car Atlantic Series' (2007), 'Sebring Winter National' (2007), 'Pacific Motorsports' (2008) and in the 'Atlantic Championship' (2011) as a professional racer.
While competing on four wheels, he kept appearing in smaller film and TV projects now and then. They were always small, episodic, and not very relevant roles. For example, he was 'Pizza Man', the most irrelevant hero of the 21st century.
His motoring adventure would end in 2012. The reason was a number of serious accidents he had with his car. As the young man confessed in 'Katie,' he had been in the hospital in November 2012 for a transitory ischemic attack, or a stroke. "I have the body of a 71-year-old man," he said about his health.
Just one year later, in November 2013, he would suffer a new, similar episode. He didn't make it public until he appeared in 'Dancing with the Stars' in 2017. He revealed in one of the dance contest's episodes that his two transient ischemic attacks had caused him a serious memory problem. In fact, Muniz said, he did not remember acting in the 'Malcolm' episodes from his childhood.
"My mum will bring up things like trips we went on or big events and they are new stories to me," he said. "I don't remember going to the Emmys as a kid and I don't remember shooting 'Malcolm' either."
At that time, Frankie Muniz had changed the steering wheel for the drums. Yes, the actor got into music. For five years he was in groups like 'You Hang Up' and 'Kingsfoil'.
Despite his retirement, Frankie Muniz has continued to make a mark on film and television. His appearances in series such as 'Preacher' and 'Apartment 23', or films like 'Sharknado 3' tend to be highly acclaimed.
So why hasn't he continued to dominate Hollywood? Muniz says didn't want to end up like a broken toy. He had $40 million in the bank (his own estimate on Twitter) and was just in his twenties. He had a life to enjoy ahead of him, and that's what he's doing.
His latest stop is 'Outrageous Olive Oils and Vinegars', a shop where he himself bottles the artisan oil. No kidding. Frankie Muniz owns the store in Scottsdale, near Phoenix in the state of Arizona. It's in the middle of the desert, and it appears to be the place where he is truly happy.
A lot of that happiness has to do with his wife Paige Price. Married in February 2020, they run the oil shop together. Both have the same dream: they want to be the "oil king (and queen) of America."
And now, they will add a child to their olive oil empire as well. Frankie Muniz and Paige Price are expecting a baby. The (former) actor and model announced their news in a YouTube video filmed near their Scottsdale, Arizona home. It's a new step in the life of two stars who exchanged showbiz for a more pastoral existence.
(YouTube via frankieandpaige.com/baby-muniz)