As a child, Charlie Korsmo made an auspicious start as an actor, playing Jessica Lange's troubled younger son in the drama "Men Don't Leave" (1990). Later that year, he was well-cast as the precocious street urchin known simply as 'The Kid' in Warren Beatty's big-budget "Dick Tracy". In 1991, Korsmo appeared as the offspring of leading actors in films of varying quality: Richard Dreyfuss' death-obsessed son in "What About Bob?"; William Hurt's offspring kid in "The Doctor"; and Robin Williams' child who falls under the sway of Dustin Hoffman's "Hook". Shortly thereafter, he "retired" from acting and returned to his Midwestern roots.
Born in North Dakota, Korsmo was raised in Minneapolis after his parents' divorced and his mother remarried. After a trip to Universal Studios in California, he decided he wanted to try his hand at acting. Exceptionally bright, Korsmo was reading on a high school level by age four and was solving college level mathematics by age eight. A dislike for school was partly the driving force that propelled him into show business. After auditioning for local TV commercials, he was spotted by the casting director for "Men Don't Leave" and when the youth tidily summed up his character's dilemma ("My dad's dead, my mom's sick and my life is a mess."), he landed the role. After hosting a segment of the 1992 PBS documentary "The Creative Mind", Korsmo resumed his "normal life", attended high school and enrolled as a physics major at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (with an eye to joining the US space program). He also kept his hand in acting, occasionally appearing in college productions like "H.M.S. Pinafore". After a seven-year absence, he made a one-shot return to film work in the ensemble comedy "Can't Hardly Wait" (1998), perhaps not ironically playing a science-loving nerd. After graduating from MIT in 2000, Korsmo forsook Hollywood and in 2001 accepted a job at the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, DC.