Old Jack on 'This Is Us' had a real-life inspiration

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Story highlights

  • The makeup team used the actor's family tree for inspiration
  • The scenes were "cool," actor Milo Ventimiglia said

This story contains spoilers about the "This Is Us" second-season finale.

(CNN)Fans were touched to see an older version of Jack Pearson on Tuesday's second-season finale of "This Is Us," and there was a personal backstory to his aged look.

The actor who portrays Pearson, Milo Ventimiglia, told Entertainment Weekly the show reached into his family tree to give the character at age 73 a realistic look.
"When the whole process was going down, (makeup artist) Zoey Hay and our effects team, they wanted to see photos of my father, who was close to Jack's age, even though he was younger," Ventimiglia said. "So, I sent photos of my father from different angles, and they imagined this idea of what I would look like in my 70s, and it was a whole three-hour process, with a wig."
    On the show, the character died tragically after a fire, but his daughter Kate, played by Chrissy Metz, dreams of what it would have been like if Jack and her mother, Rebecca, played by Mandy Moore, were renewing their vows on their 40th wedding anniversary.
    When he died, fans had mourned Jack, and his return conjured plenty of emotion.
    The scenes were "not only cool for the audience, but really cool for us just to think about what the life lived could have been," Ventimiglia told EW.
    It was also great for Ventimiglia, he said, to work alongside the actors who play the adult versions of his children on the show.
    Ventimiglia said he didn't have to put a great deal of thought into playing an older Jack.
    "Looking at the history of Jack and how he had lived his life in a very simple way, I feel like a broken record saying he loves his wife and he loves his kids, but I feel like that is expanded when you get to your 70s," the actor said. "He felt like a man that was probably interested in slowing things down as best as he could, just to hang on to the moments."