Tim Daly

The Magic of Acting
How Playing a Trick on His Parents Changed Daly’s Life

“I…wanted to find a way to share my good fortune with society because I’ve gotten more than my fair share of the pie, so I feel it’s my obligation to try to do something to give back to the culture, the society, the country that has given me so much. So I chose arts because that’s what I know.”

There are many reasons why people choose to become actors. You might think growing up in a family full of them would automatically make it a sure thing. Not so for Tim Daly. Despite beginning his own stage career at the tender age of 7 (with his father and two sisters), it wasn’t until a surprising event in high school that he thought seriously about making acting his life’s work. In this episode, Daly talks about that magical moment, along with some of the entertaining highlights of his successful career, and some of the frustrating ones. He also shares his reasons for being an activist for the arts and a defining moment involving a politician and his wife.

Tim Daly is an American actor and producer. He has enjoyed an extensive and successful career, including such roles as Joe Hackett on the sitcom Wings, a voice role as Clark Kent/Superman in Superman: The Animated Series, as well as his recurring role as the drug-addicted J.T. Dolan on The Sopranos (for which he received an Emmy nomination). His parents were actor James Daly, and actress Mary Hope (née Newell) Daly and one of his three sisters is actress Tyne Daly. At just seven years old, he debuted on stage in Jenny Kissed Me, together with his parents and two of his sisters. His first TV appearance was at the age of 10 in an American Playhouse adaptation of An Enemy of the People, which starred his father James Daly. He dreamed about a sports or music career and also considered becoming a doctor or a lawyer, but when he got to college, he majored in theater.

What You’ll Learn from This Episode:

  • Why Daly is an activist for the arts
  • What it was like growing up in a “show biz” family
  • The “coolest thing” about being in the theater as a little kid
  • His thoughts on his recent and first-ever stage performance with sister, Tyne Daly
  • How Einstein’s biography was instrumental in Daly’s support of the arts
  • An important difference between a school actor and a professional actor
  • His first break and the surprising outcome of the show
  • How an awkward “genius” kid from his childhood shaped his favorite role – ever
  • His surprising regret about being the voice of Superman
  • A particular compromise that actors must make if they want to work
  • The unusual start to his long-time personal and professional relationship with David Chase
  • The moment he understood that some politicians are “numbskulls”

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