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Borderland’s ties to Oscars: Host Neil Patrick Harris discovered by local award-winning playwright

It turns out, the borderland has some special ties to the Oscars and this year’s host.
Abc-7 sat down successful and award-winning Mark Medoff who discovered New Mexico native Neil Patrick Harris in Las Cruces.

“It was very excited to be nominated. It would be ridiculous to say it’s not nice to be nominated by your peers, ” Medoff said when reflecting on his nomination in the 80’s.

Medoff’s play, “Children of a lesser God,” was made into a major motion picture and was nominated for five Oscars.

Medoff’s first encounter with then 14-year old Neil Patrick Harris, was a quarter of a century ago. The aspiring actor from Ruidoso, was at a theatre camp at NMSU. Medoff would later recruit Harris for the film, “Clara’s Heart,” starring Whoopi Goldberg.

“I looked him in the eyes and thought self consciously, there’s something in this kid,” Medoff said.

It would be the beginning of his career.

“He went on to do several other things, including Doogie Howser. He’s now the first person to ever host the Tony’s, the Emmy’s and the Oscars and your viewers will be glad to know he’s a really nice man,” Medoff said.

In a recent interview with the Hudson Union Society, Harris shared his gratitude to Medoff.

“It was through Mark Medoff’s championing the idea of this no one kid that he met through a cold-reading audition class that he would be capable of doing the movie. Without him, I would never have gotten the opportunity to do that movie,” Harris said.

Medoff maintains a close relationship with the New Mexico native. He says he would have never imagined how successful Harris would become, but he’s glad he took a chance.

“I kind of owe much of my career to that man,” Harris said.

The 87th Academy Awards will be broadcast on Abc-7 Sunday night.

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