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People Top 5
LAST UPDATE: Saturday January 31, 2015 12:10AM EST
PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- January 31, 2000
- Vol. 53
- No. 4
Right-on as a Reluctant Whiz Kid, Malcolm in the Middle's Frankie Muniz Gets Nielsen's Top Marks
In fact, Muniz (whose mother, Denise, 44, a nurse, and father, Frank, 43, a restaurant manager, are separated) is having a much nicer time of it these days than his TV character, Malcolm, who's embarrassed by both his eccentric family and his 165 IQ, which places him, says Muniz, "among the geeks in school." (His show, meanwhile, placed No. 5 in the ratings its first week.) Frankie himself has been home-schooled by his mother since sixth grade, when he began performing in community theater in his hometown of Wood-Ridge, N.J. From there he graduated to guest shots (Spin City, Sabrina the Teenage Witch) and the lead role in What the Deaf Man Heard, a 1997 TV movie.
When Muniz learned he'd won the Malcolm audition last spring, "I got on the bed and started yelling and jumping," he says. He still, however, has to make his bed. "I really try to keep him grounded," says Denise. "I don't want him to be a brat." Unlike, say, FOX's best-known brat, Bart Simpson. Comparing Bart with Malcolm, "I think we're alike in a lot of ways," says Muniz, "except that I'm a lot smarter." And much better coiffed, dude.
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