For more than a decade Peter Krause was just another hardworking SAG member who made a decent living. Along the way he popped up in sitcoms like "Seinfeld," became a regular on "Cybill" and a lead on "Sports Night," and appeared in films as varied as Blood Harvest and The Truman Show.
Krause earned a reputation in Hollywood casting circles as a talented actor who was up for just about anything. But just when it seemed he would forever be a supporting player in so-so fare, Krause was given the lead role in one of HBO's biggest premieres of the year, "Six Feet Under." The cable station's series track record has been astonishingly successful and "Six Feet Under" carried with it the promise of originality (the show is set in and around a mortuary and the creator is Alan Ball, who wrote American Beauty), so it was predicted that the series would take off. It did more than that, and now Krause is enjoying a level of fame he had never anticipated. But that doesn't mean the series is any easier to work on. "On one episode, an eight-year-old kid had to play a corpse," says Krause, "and had a really difficult time with it. Instead of the director saying 'You're dead,' he had to say, 'OK, now you're asleep and you're holding your breath...' That poor child--lying on an embalming slab on a Hollywood set!" Krause, however, had very little difficulty getting into his own character, the reluctant heir to the family funeral home. "Nate's a lot like me, which is terrifying," he says. "Like him, I've spent a lot of my life avoiding conflict. I run from stress."