10 Questions with Erik Palladino
The multi-talented actor who plays "Dr. Dave Malucci" in the TV series ER, Erik Palladino was born in 1968 in Yonkers, N.Y., to Peter and Queenie -- a heating contractor and a junior high school teacher, respectively. Although he lives in California now, he's still a New Yorker and die-hard Yankee fan at heart.
Erik takes off like a shot, but forgets his car. (Photo courtesy of Toyota Motorsports)
As a teenager, Erik hosted a weekly television show called Heavy Metal Meltdown, then became the lead singer of an alternative rock band called No Happy Faces, in which he shared the stage with Chris, one of his two older brothers. He also had a successful stint as a VJ on MTV.
He then relocated to Los Angeles, where he landed a leading role on the short-lived sitcom Love and Marriage, recurring roles on the WB's Malcolm and Eddie and UPN's DiResta, and a recurrent guest spot on Murphy Brown. On the big screen he's acted in films like Finder's Fee, Can't Hardly Wait, This Space Between Us, The Week That Girl Died, and Roadkill. He also appeared in the film U-571, , which featured an impressive ensemble cast including Harvey Keitel, Matthew McConaughey, Bill Paxton and Jon Bon Jovi. After filming U-571, Erik was offered the role of second-year resident Dr. Dave Malucci on NBC's E.R., and superstardom quickly followed.
SportsHollywood interviewed Eric while he was in Long Beach, California, to race in the Toyota Pro/Celebrity race of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
SportsHollywood: How did you get involved in this race?
Palladino with girlfriend Sara Jane Potts. Photo courtesy of Toyota Motorsports
PALLADINO: Well, Tony Edwards actually did it a few years back and he kept bragging about how much fun it was. He kept on me for like a year, so I finally asked to race.
SportsHollywood: So there are a lot of thrill-seekers on ER?
PALLADINO: Yeah. I've been doing a lot of cool stuff lately. I got to ride in a submarine after U-571, and two weeks ago I got to ride in a jet with the Blue Angels.
SportsHollywood: Were you a race fan before this?
PALLADINO: Not really... Not at all, actually... (Laughing) Wait, tell your readers I always loved racing. I did get to meet Mario Andretti recently at Warner Brothers. That was pretty cool. And Tony keeps trying to get us all to go to the Indy 500, but I was working on a movie at the time with James Earl Jones called Finder's Fee.
SportsHollywood: What's the fastest you've ever driven outside of a race?
PALLADINO: 125. With a friend. His fault -- I swear.
SportsHollywood: What kind of car do you drive every day?
PALLADINO: The only sports car I ever had was a Firebird Formula 1986. That was cool! But now I drive a '98 Lexus.
SportsHollywood: Which is a bigger dream-come-true: Becoming a famous actor or being able to drive over 20 mph on a street in Southern California?
PALLADINO: During the first years acting being recognized was a real kick... but now I'd have to say it's going over 20 mph.
SportsHollywood: Do you plan to use a stunt man for sharp turns?
Photo courtesy of Toyota Motorsports
PALLADINO: I'd like to get a race car driver dressed as me win the race, then I'd take his place as he pulls in. The audience gives me the credit for all the dangerous stunts on the TV show when it's somebody else. Why not here, too?
SportsHollywood: Rate the competition here: Who are your biggest threats?
PALLADINO: I'd say Dara Torres. She's got her game face on. I am not afraid of Piper. Billy Blanks? Not scared. And David Alan Grier is not much of a driver, not much of an actor, not much of a human being. I never liked him. Just look at him!
(Piper Perabo and David Alan Grier step over to respond.)
PIPER: Erik needs to worry about his own driving. Yesterday I was coming around this curve and Erik had just passed me on the straightaway and I come around the curve... and Eric SPINS OUT, and suddenly I'm face-to-face with Erik on the track. I just waved and said, "See you later."
DAG: In answer to that little quip I'd just like to say that Eric will be served equally on the race course as he is on ER: Usually at the back of the room, and all you see is the top of his head. Thank you.
Interview by Dan Mahin and Jeff Hause
Erik Palladino: Actor
Birthplace: Yonkers, NY
Birthday: May 10
Favorite Sports Team: Yankees
Hobbies: Boxing, writing and hanging out with his mixed-breed mutt.
Notable: In one TV season, Erik went from a recurring role on the lowest-rated network sitcom ever (DiResta) to the most popular show on TV (ER).
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