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Italian-American actor Dan Lauria played football at SCSU


(WTNH) — One of the most gracious actors, Italian-American Dan Lauria played the dad on “The Wonder Years” and Vince Lombardi on stage. He’s also an author of children’s books, but did you know he played football for Southern Connecticut State University?

“How do you get from the gridiron to becoming an actor?” we asked.

“When I was younger my aunt lived with us for a while and she loved old movies, so I’d come home from football practice and I’d eat and she’d say ‘go to bed,’ and I’d go to bed real early and about 2 a.m. she’d wake me up and say ‘James Cagny,’ and we’d watch ‘The Late, Late Show.’ There used to be ‘The Late Show’ and ‘The Late, Late Show,’ and ‘Million Dollar Movie’ would show the same movie five times a week,” said Lauria. “When I got to college, I literally was telling a joke on the football field before practice and this old woman came over and tapped on my shoulder pads and said, ‘would you like to be in the play?’ and I said, ‘I always wanted to try that,’ and she said, ‘I know,’ and I said, ‘how would you know?’ and she said, ‘I’m the greatest acting teacher in the world,’ and she was, it was Constance Welsh, the woman who started the Yale Dramat, so I went over and she had me audition for a student production of ‘A Thousand Clowns’ and I got the part of the older brother, and then she put me in her production of ‘The Tempest’; she needed a big ugly guy to play Calaban, so she said get in there.”

Lauria says he was either going to be a football coach or go into acting, and you know what happened.

He’s now starring in an Italian play he wrote called “Dinner With The Boys.”More Italian in Connecticut:

Carmela Lauria’s Pizza Bread

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • water
  • 2.5 pounds smoked ham butt, cubed
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 8 cups (32 ounces) shredded Mozzarella
  • 1 (3 ounce) stick pepperoni, cubed
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) grated Parmesan
  1. Stir oil into flour until beads form. Add baking powder and black pepper.
  2. Reserving 1 egg yolk, pour egg white and other egg into measuring cup. Add water to measure 1 cup.
  3. Gradually add egg liquid to flour mixture, mixing to form dough. Divide dough in halves.
  4. On lightly-floured surface, roll each portion of dough as thin as possible.
  5. Saute ham with oregano in skillet over low heat. Reserving ham liquid, remove ham and set aside.
  6. Pour ham liquid on rolled dough, patting to spread evenly.
  7. In order listed, layer 1/2 of ingredients on each piece of dough: ham, Mozzarella, pepperoni, and Parmesan.
  8. Carefully bring edges of dough together and roll to resemble bread loaf. Pierce dough with fork tines to vent steam during baking. Place rolls in 13x9x2-inch baking pan.
  9. Bake uncovered at 275 degrees for 1.5 hours, brushing top of loaves occasionally with beaten egg yolk.
  10. Cut into 3/4-inch slices to serve. Serves 8 to 12.

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