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Showbiz Today Star of Tomorrow

Dule Hill of 'The West Wing'

Dule Hill has seen his "West Wing" character go from low-level job applicant to close aide to the president
Dule Hill has seen his "West Wing" character go from low-level job applicant to close aide to the president  
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CNN's Michael Okwu explains why Dule Hill of 'The West Wing' is Showbiz Today's Star of Tomorrow

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Dule Hill on meeting with his real-life White House counterpart ...

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On 'West Wing' fans in the White House ...

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  • (CNN) -- Dule Hill began as a low-level job applicant at the White House, but now he's the personal aide to the president. President Bartlet of "The West Wing," that is.

    Hill's role as Charlie Young on the hit NBC drama is his debut on a regular TV series, but he's no stranger to the limelight.

    Hill began tap dancing at age 3, and while still in grade school, he starred in the title role of the Tony-Award winning Broadway show, "The Tap Dance Kid," during its national tour. Other musical roles followed and Hill eventually starred in another Broadway hit, "Bring in Da Noise, Bring in Da Funk." He's made numerous TV appearances and had roles in "She's All That" (1999) and "Men of Honor" (2000) with Robert De Niro and Cuba Gooding Jr.

    As for his first experience on a hit TV show: "It's a wonderful experience being a young actor, being a black actor, and being able to get good writing, good scripts to enact, it's a lovely thing," Hill says.

    Hill says he learned a lot about the true nature of his character's job after meeting with the real personal aide to President Clinton.

    "When I met him, I realized how important the job was, and how powerful it is," he says. "I mean, he's one of the few people that can actually call and say, 'I need to speak to the president' and they'll put him through."

    While his acting career is taking off, Hill says he'll never give up on his first love.

    "I'll always be dancing -- tap dancing -- always," he says. "There's nothing like the dance, there's nothing like tap dancing. It's a gift that's given. You just have it: You can make music with your feet."



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