In 1980 I was doing defense contract work overseas for the government, but I was getting kind of tired of it, so I decided to move back to Austin and begin acting again. To pay the bills I did temp work and drove a cab for Roy’s Taxi, but then I started working at Zachary Scott Theatre. In the morning I did the books, in the early afternoon I was the janitor, later on in the afternoon I’d help build sets, and in the evening I’d do plays. After a while I started doing some small TV roles; at the time, that was pretty much all they’d give local actors�one or two lines in TV movies. We called it the triangle: We’d drive three hours to Dallas for an audition, then four hours to Houston for another audition, then back to Austin. I got some work as an extra on Dallas, and eventually I had a scene where I had a couple of lines with Priscilla Presley. Most of it was shots of the back of my head—I was playing a ruffian in a bar. I was kind of consumed by it all.

Mitch Pileggi lived in Austin in 1975, when he attended the University of Texas, and again from 1980 to 1984. He plays assistant FBI director Walter Skinner on The X-Files, which airs Fridays at 8 p.m. CST on Fox. The show’s season finale is scheduled for May 17.