Main > Series > Q & A > Paul LaGreca
(GUEST ACTOR: "Irving Abromowitz")
1. How did you hear about the role of Irving Abromowitz on Fame? Was there an open casting call?
I was called in for an interview by my agent Flo Joseph who said there was a part on Fame that sounded perfect for me. It was not an open call but an agency only call. The coincidence was, that after the film was released they had an open call in NYC for the series (which didn't go until 2 years later). Fame, the series, was my first audition ever. I interviewed with David Rubin. I was 18 and ready and raring to go. I remember that I didn't even have a picture at the time!
2. Were you a fan of the show prior to landing a role on it?
I was part of the High School of the Performing Arts crowd in NY. While I did not attend the school, I danced after school with many of the students at some of the hot spots in NY that many of us were studying at at the time. Was I a fan? Absolutely - it was a reflection of my own reality!
3. In "The Ol' Ball Game" your character is shown in a marching band playing the drums. Did you actually know how to play the drums, learn how to play, or fake it?
I had to fake it as best I could. They gave me a cassette tape with the playback music to rehearse with in my trailer but for the life of me I just couldn't get it right. Carlo Imperato tried to help me out but only ended up breaking my drum sticks from slamming them too hard.
4. What was it like for you working on the show?
It was a real blessing for me. I made some great friends and I loved being on the M-G-M lot. I must admit there was a little bit of hazing going on - being I was the new man on the lot, but still, it was fun and a wonderful experience. I am a friend of David Greenlee for life (Dwight Mendenhall).
5. Can you tell us about any funny stories or anything about the people you worked with? For instance, was there any practical jokes played while you were there, etc?
The only thing I can add to this besides Carlo breaking the sticks was that Billy Hufsey loved to get rough and rumble. He kept wrestling me to the ground. When I saw him coming I ran the other way. He usually ended up hurting me. But it was all in fun. Gene is a rip to be around - he loves to laugh! Carlo was a great guy and really got me through some ruff spots in the work!
6. Did you happen to go to a High School similar to the Fame school (meaning a Performing Arts High School)?
I went to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in NY after high school. But as I said we were all together in many of our classes after school whether it was good old Phil Black's Dance Studio, Broadway Dance or an acting class.
7. I'm always curious as to whether people really make lasting friendships with those they worked with. Did you happen to make any lasting friendships with anyone working on Fame (in front or behind the camera)?
I made good friends with Valerie Landsberg while we worked on the show. She is a wonderful person and very open. Before I got on Fame I worked with Cindy Gibb on the soap opera "Search For Tomorrow" - another lovely person. The only person I am still in touch with (after recently calling each other) is David Greenlee who played Dwight Mendenhall.
8. So, tell us a little about your career as an actor. What are some of the things you did before and after your appearance on Fame?
Hollywood was good to me. I performed as a guest star and co-starred in a few episodics - Knight Rider, Whiz Kids, Airwolf and a few cable shows. I also played one of Alan Arkin's 3 triplet sons in the film "Big Trouble" as well as worked with Michael Jackson's brother Marlon in a film called "Student Confidential." I worked - thank God.
9. What is your most prized role to date?
Knight Rider - playing Tino the gypsy boy - 2 hour Christmas special in 1984. I was the special guest star.
10. What would you consider to be your greatest achievement?
Working with John Cassavettes as my director in Big Trouble!
11. If you could play any character on stage, television or the big screen who would it be and why?
Always wanted to play the life of a Saint - maybe St. Frances of Asissi. Why? I feel it is important to invest time and money into things that touch the heart.
12. Is there one award, role or achievement that you worked so hard for and it fell just out of your reach?
Yes a few things - it was between me and the guy that got the part for Leonardo in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (I would have been one rich man!) Also screen tested for roles in "Once Upon a Time In America" and "Godfather III" . Oh well!!
13. Any upcoming projects in TV, movies or theater that we should watch out for?
I only work as an actor these days when roles come to me. I no longer pursue a full time career. I have a full time job at a wall street firm now and live a comfortable life. However, I recently went to the Theatre World awards and the bug in still alive and well in me - so who knows? Life is short - we need to remain open and accept life as it unfolds one day at a time!