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Charles Korsmo

Fargo child actor Charlie Korsmo is now law professor

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Charles Korsmo sees some similarities between his first job as a movie actor and his current profession teaching law.

"You're up in front of your classroom putting on a show twice a week, so there's certainly some correlation there," said the former child star.

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Now 32, Korsmo is a visiting assistant professor at Brooklyn Law School, teaching torts, land use and zoning issues.

While child actors often emerge from Hollywood scarred, Korsmo laughed remembering his years as Hollywood's "it" kid.

He made his motion-picture debut with Jessica Lange and Chris O'Donnell in 1990's "Men Don't Leave." He promptly followed that up with bigger-budget productions and bigger stars like Warren Beatty, Al Pacino, Madonna ("Dick Tracy"), Bill Murray, Richard Dreyfuss ("What About Bob?"), and Robin Williams, Dustin Hoffman and Julia Roberts ("Hook").

After 1991's "Hook," 13-year-old "Charlie" left Hollywood for a more "normal" life, splitting time between his mother, Deborah Ruf, in Minneapolis and his father, former North Dakota Republican Chairman John T. Korsmo, in Fargo. He returned to the silver screen in 1998, co-starring with Jennifer Love Hewitt in "Can't Hardly Wait" but turned to school after that.

He graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2000 with a degree in physics and went on to work with the U.S. government's Missile Defense Team, the Environmental Protection Agency and as a staffer for several U.S. House committees.

He later attended Yale Law School. After graduating in 2006, he clerked for a 2nd Circuit Court judge and did securities litigation in New York's financial district.

As a professor, he avoids talking about his celebrity past.

"I don't need that baggage hanging over me," he said with a laugh last week from Toronto, where he was spending the holidays with his wife's family and his 8-month-old baby. "You don't want to see that in your torts teacher."

That is, until one student claimed Korsmo "never addressed the elephant in the room."

Now, he mentions his cinematic past right off the bat, but says his students are generally so young they would likely have only seen "Can't Hardly Wait."

Still, he has no intention of getting back on screen.

"It had its charms, but I'm not looking to go back," Korsmo said. "We're going to give the old law profession thing a try."

What about a run for office, given his name recognition and experience in D.C.?

"I think working and living in Washington for a couple years cured me of ever wanting to do that again," Korsmo said, laughing.

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