Daniel Pintauro [Interview]
March 21, 2014 Leave a comment
Trainwreck’d Society is no stranger to interviewing actors who grew up in the spotlight, and often on television shows that required said actor have whole other family to perform with for several years. And today we have another fine actor who did just that! Daniel Pintauro has basically moved on from the world of acting lately, but he definitely will never be forgotten in the world of television history. Daniel “Danny” Pintauro will always be remember as little Jonathan Bower, the toe-head and lovable son of Judith Light’s character Angela Bower on the brilliant sitcom that spanned 8 wonderful years, Who’s The Boss?
And much like a Christine Lakin or a Karyn Parsons, who we have spoken with in the past, Mr. Pintauro has managed to live a very respectful life after his years as a childhood star, beating the odds and stereotypes that the media beset upon young Hollywood. Even more so though, Daniel is a true inspiration. Most young people today may not realize it, but a certain part of his lifestyle used to be a metaphorical pill to swallow in the 80’s and 90’s. You see, Mr. Pintauro is gay. (Pause for gasp coming all the way back from 1999) Yes, this day and age, the most common answer (or at least it SHOULD be) will probably be “Yeah, who gives a shit?”. Which is a good thing. And of course I am not saying that the unnecessary bigotry and hatred doesn’t still exist in this country, it’s simply stymied a bit in the last 15 years or so. And the only reason I even mention these facts about Daniel is to point out that he was one of the first celebrities who decided to “out” himself, in the days before people started getting some damn sense at decided to stop being such assholes.
I could go on and on about why I think Mr. Pintauro is such a brave and brilliant man, but I think it would be better to let the man tell you himself. So, we are so happy that Daniel has agreed to answer a few questions for you fine readers. Enjoy!
After spending 8 years of your life with a television family on Who’s The Boss?, did you all manage to create a real bond similar to a real family? Are you still in touch with any of them?
I’m still in touch with Tony [Danza]. My fiance and I sent him an invitation to our wedding which he was excited to receive. During the filming, yes, we did take on the role of family… and not just the cast. The crew who worked on the show all those years also became a part of my extended family. The bond that is the closest is between the cast, partly because we’re actors creating a familial bond in character – that inevitably blends into our personal feelings as well. For a few years after the show ended we did continue our relationships. I would call it an extended family relationship. You don’t speak to them all the time, but you call on holidays and enjoy seeing them at family gatherings. Now, with nearly 30 years having passed, I know that if I were to see any of them, we would smile, hug and reminisce.
What is your earliest memory of acting that you can even remotely remember? Is it memorable to you in some way?
I think my earliest memory is very likely having filmed a commercial for a toy called Clip Clop, the Wonder Horse, or something similar. It was an amazing rocking horse toy that was able to whinny and make noises while you rode it. I remember filming because I was having so much fun riding the horse, I rode it too hard and bonked my nose on the plastic mane.
Believe me, I’ve had some insane moments. I’ve had lots of down moments… tons of confusion about life and direction confusion. I’ve had very low moments that most people don’t really know about. That’s what being a child celebrity does. I truly think the deciding factor though in my lack of total demise into drugs and who knows what else was my education. My parents were starting to see the effects on child stars when I started 7th grade, so they went to the producers of “Who’s The Boss?,” and told them either to let me go to an actual school or that I wasn’t coming back to the show. Typically a TV kid has a set tutor and picks up schoolwork from a school they don’t actually attend. I did the opposite. I went to school every day, then to work in the afternoon, where I worked with the tutor on my homework. That led me directly to wanting to go to college, to Stanford. All of that forced me to not spend my days wondering when the next acting gig was going to come.
In an interview you did with Metro Magazine in 1999 you were asked What can we do to get Hollywood to finally say, “Look, it’s okay to be gay and it won’t harm your career?”. Your answer was simple: Time. Well given that said interview was 15 years ago, do you think it has gotten any better in Hollywood?
YES. Completely. I mean, not just in Hollywood but the whole country is going through a ‘gay renaissance,’ of sorts. Other people are finding out that we are not scary or crazy. Its become the thing to stand behind, if one has any modicum of intelligence and concern for equal rights. I think I came out before Ellen and Rosie. I was one of the first, not the most famous, of course, but one of the first. At that time, the idea of a state allowing same-sex marriage was laughable. How many states…now?
What would you consider to be the hardest part for you when you decided to come out, although I understand the National Inquirer didn’t give you much of an option? Do you still feel any sort of struggle to simply be who you are, and love whoever you please?
Yeah, it was not my choice. But Judith Light told me that I should speak to the Enquirer reporter who called me because ‘They can say what they want but they cannot misquote you.’ Turned out they wrote an unbelievably kind story! The hardest part by far was after college when I decided to pursue acting again only to find that my having come out was going to hinder the success of that career exponentially. This was 10 years ago when actors like Neil Patrick Harris weren’t coming out all the time and still having careers playing straight characters. This was when the only role I could potentially get was the queer friend or neighbor. Neither of which had more than a few lines in anything. [laughs] That was devastating because no matter how good an actor or how much I wanted it, I had a long list of items stacked against me, ultimately ruining my interest in being an actor altogether.
You seem to have chosen to move out of the spotlight not long after Who’s The Boss? ended. Was there anything particular that prompted your departure, and brought on your on again off again relationship with the world of acting?
Stanford, as I mentioned above. Moving to New York City to be a theater actor, for sure. And lots of personal time trying to figure out who I was, and believe it or not, all of those things stacked against me, prevented me from making a splash again as an actor, to the point where eventually, after many, many tries, I gave up on acting altogether.
No. No screentime any time soon. My fiance and I would like to eventually open up a Bed & Breakfast somewhere in Northern California wine country. He would like us to do a reality show about the endeavor, but I think it would ruin the passion I have for the project. He says that I should try acting again, here and there, but knows I have no interest. I mean, if someone were to offer me something and my availability allowed for it, I would say SURE! But am I ever going to pursue a career as actor? No.
What was the last thing that made you smile?
An hourly employee jokingly told me that my work outfit, though cute, reminded her of the outfit she puts her 7-year-old in on Easter Sunday. I laughed.