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Daniel James Cortese
September 14, 1967
|Alma mater||University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill|
|Spouse(s)||None (divorced 2012)|
Early life and education
Of Italian (Calabrese) descent, Cortese was born on September 14, 1967, in Sewickley, Pennsylvania, and graduated from Quaker Valley High School in Leetsdale, where he played football and basketball. Prior to becoming an actor, Cortese played college football at the University of North Carolina as a backup quarterback. In his freshman year in 1986, the Tar Heels went to the Aloha Bowl in Hawaii. Cortese graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a Bachelor of Arts degree in broadcasting in 1990.
Cortese first came to prominence as the host of the Emmy Award winning show MTV Sports from 1992 to 1997. Dan also, was the player/coach of The Bricklayers and The Homeboys for the MTV Rock N' Jock games. During Burger King's "Your Way, Right Away" advertising campaign in the 1990s, Cortese was hired as the company's official spokesperson. He appeared in over 90 national and regional commercials for the fast food giant.
In 1993, per producer, Joel Silver, Dan made 2 separate cameos (Taco Bell Lounge singer and a Cryo Prison guard) in the hit Sylvester Stallone film "Demolition Man". Also, in 1993, Dan landed the lead role in NBC's remake of "Route 66. In 1994, he co-starred in the CBS police drama Traps with Academy Award winner, George C. Scott. He gained further recognition in 1995 as Jess Hanson in Melrose Place. He played Jake Hanson's half brother for 8 episodes in the third season but he was killed off in that season's cliffhanger finale. In 1996 Dan played the lead role of Jason in the TV movie The Lottery for NBC. The film turned out to be the highest rated of the year for the network. Also in 1996, he starred in the feature film "Weekend In The Country" opposite Jack Lemmon, as well as, the HBO film "Public Enemies".
Cortese appeared on the NBC television series Seinfeld, in one of the series highest rated episodes ever. He played the unforgettable role of Tony, Elaine's ultra-cool, good-looking, rock climbing boyfriend. In the episode, titled "The Stall", he was dubbed a "mimbo" (a male bimbo) by Jerry. During rehearsals Dan improved the line "Step off" which became the catchphrase that Larry David insisted was used for the episode.
From 1997 to 2000 Dan starred opposite Kirstie Alley Veronica's Closet, part of NBC's "Must See TV" Thursday night lineup. Then in 2000, he starred opposite Brooke Shields in the feature film, "After Sex". Cortese followed that up in 2001 with the highly rated TBS film, "The Triangle" opposite Luke Perry. In 2003 Dan came back to comedy and was the lead of the sitcom Rock Me Baby.
From 2002 to 2003 Dan also starred in The WB television series What I Like About You in a recurring role as Val's boss, Vic Maledeo. He reprised the role as a series regular from 2005 to 2006 during the fourth and final season. He also directed the episode "The Other Woman", that same season. In 2004 he appeared in two episodes of 8 Simple Rules, playing Bridget's (Kaley Cuoco) tennis coach. Also, in 2004 he starred in the Sci-Fi film Locusts: The 8th Plague for SyFy.
He was the co-host of the ABC game show, Crash Course in 2009 Also, in 2009 he starred opposite Bob Saget as a series regular in the sitcom, "Surviving Suburbia". In 2010 Dan hosted VH-1's weight loss competition, Money Hungry.
In 2013 and 2014, Cortese served a two year run as the host of truTV's Guinness World Records Unleashed. The series debuted as one of the network's highest rated shows. In 2015 Dan starred in the feature film "Changing Seasons" and in 2019 Dan shows off his rapping skills on the hit TBS show, "Drop The Mic".
On October 11, 2014, while reprising his role as Stefon on Saturday Night Live, Bill Hader repeatedly mentions Dan Cortese's name during the show's Weekend Update segment when he speaks of New York City's hot spots.
|1993||Demolition Man||Taco Bell Entertainer/Cryolab Technician|
|1996||The Lottery||Jason Smith|
|2005||Locusts: The 8th Plague||Colt Denton|
|2007||Everybody Wants to Be Italian||Michael|
|2008||Soccer Mom||Lorenzo Vincenzo|
|1994||Seinfeld||Tony||Episode: "The Stall"|
|1995||Melrose Place||Jess Hanson|
|1996||Caroline in the City||Scott|
|1997||The Single Guy||Dan Montgomery|
|1997||Volcano: Fire on the Mountain||Peter Slater|
|2000||That's Life||Professor Jeff Cahill|
|1997–2000||Veronica's Closet||Perry Rollins / Laird Perry Rollins|
|2001||The Triangle||Tommy Devane|
|2002||House Blend||Dave Reed||Unsold television pilot|
|2002||Andy Richter Controls the Universe||Ben / Peter|
|2003–2004||Rock Me Baby (TV series)||Jimmy Cox|
|2004||8 Simple Rules||Coach Scott|
|2004||CSI: Miami||Sal Coleman|
|2005||Joey||Chuck||(TV series, 1 episode: "Joey and the Stuntman")|
|2003, 2005-2006||What I Like About You||Vic Meladeo (Season 1 guest, Season 4 Main)|
|2011||Man Up!||Dennis Mayder|
|2012||Hot in Cleveland||Jimmy Armstrong||(TV series, 1 episode: "God and Football")|
|2013–2014||Guinness World Records Gone Wild||Host|
|2016||The Tomorrow Show||Himself|
- Morrison, Melissa (July 23, 1992). "QV graduate hosting MTV Sports". Beaver County Times. Pennsylvania. (Dallas Morning News). p. B2.
- "Dan Cortese Biography (1967-)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved 2015-03-04.
- "1987 UNC Tarheels Football Roster". Tarheeltimes. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
- "Dan Cortese". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2015-03-04.
- Prachi Gupta (October 13, 2014). "John Mulaney's Dan Cortese line made Bill Hader break character". Retrieved September 28, 2016.
- Mike Krumboltz (October 12, 2014). "Stefon of 'SNL' Mentions Dan Cortese, Twitter Goes Wild". Retrieved September 28, 2016.