Tom Skerritt

updated 05/03/1993 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/03/1993 01:00AM

It's weird to hear ladies say my dad's the cat's meow," says Matt Skerritt, 25. Well, sport, get used to it. At the advanced age—at least in Hollywood—of 59, Matt's old man, Tom, arouses decidedly nonfatherly interest among women of all ages. After his steamy scenes with Drew Barrymore in last year's Poison Ivy,' 'All my friends wanted to date him!'' says daughter-in-law Wendy. Notes Kirstie Alley, who played opposite Skerritt on Cheers six seasons ago: "You don't get him mixed up with anybody else."

Still teen-lean after three decades in the business (he played Dr. Duke in the 1970 film version of M*A*S*H), Skerritt's rugged looks have aged well. "Years ago, someone said that I was a character actor locked in a leading man's body," says the fledgling jazzman. "I thought that was a wonderful compliment." And an accurate one. His

Hemingway-esque visage has helped sell Guess? jeans, and currently he plays it tough, but with an undercurrent of sensitivity, as the preacher-patriarch in A River Runs Through It and the wise sheriff of CBS's deliciously quirky Picket Fences.

Happiest at home in Seattle with second wife Sue, who runs a bed & breakfast, Skerritt enjoys a skirmish with the opposite sex. "When an intelligent woman engages in a conflict with you, and you're strong enough to stay with it, you can only get to be a better man for it." Matt, are you taking notes?

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