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Atticus Shaffer

Atticus Shaffer

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: June 19, 1998 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Santa Clarita, California, USA Profession: Cast ...
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BIOGRAPHY

Atticus Shaffer earned a spot on television's oddest kid characters list - think the brainy Paul Joshua Pfeiffer on "The Wonder Years" (ABC, 1988-1993) or ├╝ber-nerd Steve Urkel on "Family Matters" (ABC, 1989-97; CBS, 1997-98) - by always marching to the beat of his own drum. Despite having been born with a genetic disorder that resulted in fragile bones and having to walk with a slight limp, Shaffer never let his disability define him; instead, it propelled him to excel in his chosen career. He had a string of guest starring roles on popular programs like the daytime soap "Days of Our Lives" (NBC, 1965- ) and the redneck sitcom "My Name is Earl" (NBC, 2005-09). Shaffer even shared a memorable scene on a bus with Will Smith in the action-fantasy film "Hancock" (2008). But his breakout role was playing Brick Heck on the sitcom "The Middle." (ABC, 2009- ), a bright yet socially awkward second-grader whose long list of odd habits included carrying packets of catsup in his pockets because they made him feel good and breaking into a Scottish accent for no apparent reason. Shaffer's portrayal of Brick was both hilarious and quirky at the same time, all of which left a lasting impression on audiences that recognized his unique comedic gifts.

Atticus Shaffer was born on June 19, 1998 in Santa Clarita, CA. Named after the lawyer in Harper Lee's 1960 classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird, Shaffer grew up in rural Acton, CA, where his mother home-schooled him. Shaffer developed an interest in military history at an early age, as well as making stop-motion war movies using a camcorder and Lego blocks that he formed to make buildings and figures. He joined the Cub Scouts for a brief time, but was forced to quit, as it became too physically rigorous for him due to him suffering from the genetic disorder called brittle bone disease. While he learned to be extremely careful when he walked so he would not slip and fall, and avoided activities that involved heavy lifting, Shaffer never let his disability limit him and often said in interviews that it only added to his colorful personality. After his manager discovered him in 2006, Shaffer booked a guest-starring role on the comedy series "The Class" (CBS, 2006-07), and followed it up with a series of guest starring roles on dramas such as NBC's long-running soap "Days of Our Lives" and the sitcom "My Name is Earl," about the misadventures of the loser low-life Earl Hickey (Jason Lee).

Shaffer had a scene-stealing cameo in the action-fantasy "Hancock," where he hit Will Smith in order to wake him up. In 2009, Shaffer appeared in the horror film "The Unborn," as a child who attacked his babysitter with a mirror. He picked up more featured roles in several family-oriented projects like "Opposite Day" (2009) and the animated comedy series "Fish Hooks" (Disney Channel, 2010-11), as the voice of Albert Glass, the only student at Freshwater High who did not like the overly dramatic goldfish Bea (Chelsea Kane). But it was the hit ABC sitcom "The Middle" that made Shaffer a household name. Described as a cross between the edgy sitcoms "Roseanne" (ABC, 1988-1997) and "Malcolm in the Middle" (Fox, 2000-06), "The Middle" centered on the life of a semi-dysfunctional Midwestern family headed by Frankie Heck (Patricia Heaton), a devoted mother, and her conservative husband, Mike Heck (Neil Flynn). Shaffer's character, Brick, was the couple's youngest and most peculiar child. In spite of his intelligence, Brick was easily distracted, causing him to forget his homework or chores. Shaffer quickly endeared himself to audiences with his pitch-perfect portrayal of an oddball second-grader who had a long list of weird ticks such as habitually repeating the last word of sentences in a whisper, and considering his backpack a close friend. When word spread about the show's breakout kid, the writers started expanding and hyping up Shaffer's storyline, including building an episode around him where he had a confrontation scene with comedic legend Betty White, who guest starred as a grouchy librarian in 2010.

By Candy Cuenco

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