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UPDATED 05/01/2000 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 05/01/2000 at 01:00 AM EDT

>Chad Lowe

When Chad Lowe was 7, John Denver's music took him home: just divorced, Lowe's mother, Barbara, moved Chad and his brothers Rob, now 36 and a star of NBC's The West Wing, and Micah, now 26, from Ohio to Colorado. " 'Rocky Mountain High' was an extraordinary comfort to me," says Lowe, 32. "We were leaving everything familiar for a place that was being glamorized in this song. It became a theme in my head."

And so it remained during Lowe's portrayal of the late country singer in Take Me Home: The John Denver Story (CBS, April 30). Lip-synching to Denver's tracks, he says, "it was impossible for me to hit the notes unless I was smiling." And he's been smiling a lot since wife Hilary Swank, 25, took home her Oscar for Boys Don't Cry. After forgetting to mention him in her acceptance speech, "she was more upset than I was," says Lowe, whose 1993 Emmy for ABC's Life Goes On shares the mantel with her Oscar in their L.A. home. "I've got to tell you," he says, "they look really good together."

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