February 26, 1997

Cortese Keeping His Cool While Climbing ‘Volcano’

Jennifer Bowles Associated Press
 

Dan Cortese - that sports jock from MTV, that in-your-face guy from the Burger King commercials, that libido-driven hunk on “Single Guy” - sits down at a restaurant and orders lunch.

Hamburger? Pizza? Maybe a beer?

“I have one question,” he says to the waiter. “Is it possible to get just a fruit plate? And an Evian, please.”

Go figure.

A lot of things are surprising about this gorgeous, 29-year-old actor who comes off as a guy’s guy of the worst kind on TV but in person exudes charm. To boot, he talks glowingly of his wife of three years, Dee Dee, whom he met in college.

The son of an Italian immigrant father and a Croatian mother, Cortese recently began a recurring role on NBC’s “Single Guy” as part of a development deal aimed at creating a sitcom for himself in the fall.

Cortese is also starring in the upcoming ABC television movie, “Volcano: Fire on the Mountain,” in which he plays a geologist who tries to warn a mountain resort about an imminent volcano. It’s one of several recent theatrical and television movies featuring natural disasters.

1. What’s your favorite disaster movie from the 1970s?

Cortese: It wasn’t a disaster film but I loved the original “Planet of the Apes.” It was an action-type of disaster, I guess.

2. What’s the closest you’ve ever been to a natural disaster?

Cortese: The Northridge (Calif.) earthquake.

2-1/2: Where were you when it hit?

Cortese: I was in bed at my house in the Pacific Palisades and it shook pretty good out there. I have lived in L.A. for seven years now and I’d gone through a number of earthquakes and they had never really bothered me before. I always thought they were kind of cool. But that one left an impression in my mind. And the next day I told my wife, ‘OK, I’m ready to move.’ It scared me real good, just the length of it.

3. Have you been to Italy?

Cortese: A couple of times. Last May we went with some friends of ours to a week-long cooking course in the middle of the hills of Tuscany which was just magnificent.

4. Do you speak Italian?

Cortese: Some. My father rarely spoke it in the house because it wasn’t the hip thing to do. I thought the first time I went to Italy I would be able to get by. And we were in Rome and I had no idea what they were saying because my father speaks with a Calabria dialect. When I came back I told him ‘You speak homeboy Italian.’

5. Aside from golf and weight lifting, what do you do with your free time?

Cortese: I try to spend as much time with my wife as I possibly can.

The following fields overflowed: SUPCAT = COLUMN, QUESTION & ANSWER - Five questions

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