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Shemar Moore and Marilyn Wilson-Moore
Actor Shemar Moore participates in Bike MS in honor of his mom, Marilyn Wilson-Moore, who has MS.
Photos by Samuel Whitworth; Makeup by Nicole James

Partners in crime

Shemar Moore and his mom take on the world, and MS, together.

by Andrea Sachs

Shemar Moore needs to stay fit for his starring role as Derek Morgan on the hit TV drama series “Criminal Minds.” But a love of exercise is in his DNA; his mother, Marilyn Wilson-Moore, was athletic, and ran half-marathons while he was growing up. And before becoming an actor, Shemar set out to be a professional baseball player. He was scouted by the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles, until tendinitis sidelined him for good.

As Shemar’s career went in a different direction—first as a model in New York City after graduating from college, then as an Emmy-winning actor on the soap opera “The Young and the Restless,” and finally on to his nine-season reign on “Criminal Minds”—he always found time to play sports. Football, track and field, soccer, basketball—he loved them all.

But eight years ago, Shemar says, he learned something that would completely change the meaning of exercise to him. “When I got into cycling, the crew members I worked with at “Criminal Minds” told me about bicycling events that raise money for multiple sclerosis,” Shemar, 43, recalls. “It hit me like a thunderbolt,” he says, because his mother had been diagnosed with MS in 1999, at age 56.

Shemar looked into it, and discovered that Bike MS, which has raised nearly $1.2 billion since its inception in 1980 to fund MS research and programs, is the largest organized cycling series in the country. “I told my mother, ‘Hey, I’m going to ride a bike a long way, and we are going to raise awareness and money for this disease,’ and that just lit her up. I thought, ‘Wow! I can do something fun for me, but also uplift her.’ ” He’s participated every year since.

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To those who know Shemar and his mom, Marilyn, his dedication to her well-being is no surprise. “She’s always been my partner in crime,” he says. “It’s always been me and her against the world.”

Tags: Spring 2014