When we hear Jeffrey Dean Morgan's voice on the other line, for a second we get goose bumps. It's not his handsome-man baritone; it's that he's actually breathing. He spent the last year playing dead guys-the deceased husband of Mary-Louise Parker's suburban drug-dealing character on Weeds; the doomed Denny Duquette, who charmed the scrubs off Izzie on Grey's; even his character on the CW's Supernatural bit it. To studio executives, death became him, and all the rest of us could do was stand by and grieve.
"Denny especially struck a chord with a lot of people," says Morgan. "Women are surprised to see me on the street-like they're seeing a ghost. There's a lot of crying involved." What losers, we think, as we try to get that thing out of our eye.
But playing dead has brought Morgan's career to life. In his new movie, P.S. I Love You, he plays an Irish musician who woos Hilary Swank. His character's brogue was a venture into new territory-"You don't want to sound like a leprechaun"-as was, well, not dying. "I like to push myself, you know. So being alive was a tough one," he says.
But even if his character hangs on till the closing credits, P.S. isn't entirely unmorbid-it follows a widow whose husband guides her from the grave. Then there's the demise of Morgan's well-publicized relationship with Weeds costar Parker. How's he coping? "I'm just focusing on work . . . and more work," he says, including The Accidental Husband, coming in February. "It's great," he says proudly. "No one dies."