Young Northeast native lands breakout role

Travis Wolfe Jr., 13, formerly a student at J. Hampton Moore, plays Dele on the CBS sitcom “Bob Hearts Abishola.”

Travis Wolfe Jr., 13, plays Dele in the CBS sitcom “Bob Hearts Abishola.” SOURCE: CBS

At age 8, Travis Wolfe Jr. was sitting on the couch of his family’s home in Northeast Philadelphia when he heard his older sister tell his parents she wanted to become an actor. 

Not wanting to be left out, Travis, then a student at J. Hampton Moore School in Castor Gardens, said he wanted to try it, too.

Fast forward five years, and, following the family’s move to Los Angeles, Travis is making a big splash as a cast member on Bob Hearts Abishola, a CBS sitcom that debuted in September. 

The show details the growth of an unconventional romantic relationship between a middle-aged white man named Bob, played by Billy Gardell, of Mike & Molly fame, and Abishola, a Nigerian nurse portrayed by Folake Olowofoyeku.

It was created by Chuck Lorre, a prolific sitcom producer who has conceived a number of hit shows, including The Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Men.

Travis plays Dele, Abishola’s son. The biggest challenge, he said, has been developing a Nigerian accent. Otherwise, for Travis, it’s almost been like playing himself.

“His mom wants him to be a doctor, but he wants to do the stuff that the other kids are doing, hanging out after school, playing video games,” Travis told the Times. “He’s trying to balance being what his mom wants him to be and what he wants to be.” 

“Me and Dele, we’re not too different. We both enjoy the same things,” he added. “I really like the emotion behind Dele because I feel like he’s a really relatable character. He’s trying to be what everybody else wants him to be, and, because of that, he’s struggling to find who he really is. I feel like a lot of people nowadays are in that same situation with other people.”

Travis has been on TV before, with appearances on The Neighborhood and Raven’s Home in addition to various commercial spots, but this role is his first as a series regular.

Travis Wolfe Jr. SOURCE: CBS

The Wolfe family moved to Los Angeles in 2017, mainly to help Travis’ 17-year-old sister pursue her dreams as an actor and filmmaker.

“With Travis, we thought it was more going to be a journey of him just wanting to do something for fun,” Travis’ mother, Diana Wolfe, said. “He ended up being the one who was more serious about the acting.” 

After arriving on the West Coast, Travis signed with an agent, and he booked the show almost exactly a year later. Diana Wolfe said the family wasn’t expecting he would get the role.

Like any young boy, she said, Travis is energetic, maybe a bit hyper. However, in the studio, with the cameras rolling, it’s a different story.

“He becomes a whole different kid. He’s completely professional. He’s very attentive. He’s very focused,” Diana Wolfe said. “Just seeing that amazed me.” 

Bob Hearts Abishola airs Mondays at 8:30 p.m. on CBS. ••

Jack Tomczuk can be reached at jtomczuk@newspapermediagroup.com.