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Dan Cortese

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Daniel James Cortese
Daniel James Cortese

(1967-09-14) September 14, 1967 (age 56)
Alma materUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Actor
  • director
Years active1988–present
SpouseCarolina Londono (2014-Present)

Daniel James Cortese (/kɔːrˈtɛz/; born September 14, 1967) is an American actor and director. He played Perry Rollins on Veronica's Closet and Vic Meladeo on What I Like About You.

Early life and education[edit]

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.[1][2] Prior to becoming an actor, Cortese played college football at the University of North Carolina as a backup quarterback.[3] 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. Cortese was also 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, Cortese made two separate cameos (Taco Bell Lounge singer and a Cryo Prison guard) in the hit Sylvester Stallone film Demolition Man. Also, in 1993, Cortese 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.[4] 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, Cortese starred as Jason in the NBC TV movie The Lottery. 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 with Jack Lemmon, as well as the HBO film Public Enemies.

Cortese appeared on the NBC sitcom Seinfeld. He played Tony, the ultra-cool, good-looking, rock climbing boyfriend of Elaine Benes (Julia Louis-Dreyfuss). In the episode, titled "The Stall", he was dubbed a "mimbo" (a male bimbo) by Jerry. During rehearsals, Cortese improvised the line "Step off", which became the catchphrase that Larry David insisted was used for the episode.

From 1997 to 2000, Cortese starred with Kirstie Alley in Veronica's Closet, part of NBC's "Must See TV" Thursday night lineup. Then in 2000, he starred with Brooke Shields in the feature film After Sex. Cortese followed that up in 2001 with the TBS film The Triangle with Luke Perry. In 2003, Cortese came back to comedy and starred in the sitcom Rock Me Baby.

From 2002 to 2003, Cortese also had a recurring role in the first season of The WB sitcom What I Like About You as Vic Maledeo, the boss of Val Tyler (Jennie Garth). He reprised the role as a series regular from 2005 to 2006 in the fourth and final season. He also directed the episode "The Other Woman" that same season. In 2004, he appeared in two episodes of the third season of the ABC Family sitcom 8 Simple Rules as Scott McCallister, a tennis coach who is briefly caught in a love triangle with his player Bridget Hennessy (Kaley Cuoco) and her mother Cate Hennessy (Katey Sagal). Also in 2004, he starred in the SyFy film Locusts: The 8th Plague.

In 2008, producer Mark Burnett then hired Cortese to host My Dad Is Better than Your Dad for NBC. Cortese got back to his athletic roots for ABC and appeared in the eight-episode special The Superstars.

In 2008, Cortese co-starred with Emily Osment in the feature film Soccer Mom as Lorenzo Vincenzo, a world-famous Italian soccer player.

He co-hosted the ABC game show Crash Course in 2009. Also in 2009, he co-starred with Bob Saget in the sitcom Surviving Suburbia. In 2010, Cortese hosted VH-1's weight loss competition Money Hungry.

In 2012, Cortese guest-starred in the Hot in Cleveland episode (#3.8) titled "God and Football". where he played Jimmy Armstrong, a professional football player.

From 2013 to 2014, Cortese served a two-year run as the host of truTV's Guinness World Records Unleashed. In 2015, Cortese starred in the feature film Changing Seasons. In 2019, Cortese showed 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 Cortese's name[5] during the show's Weekend Update segment when he speaks of New York City's hot spots.[6]


Year Title Role Notes
1993 Demolition Man Taco Bell Entertainer/Cryolab Technician
1996 The Lottery Jason Smith
2000 After Sex John
2005 Locusts: The 8th Plague Colt Denton
2007 Everybody Wants to Be Italian Michael
2008 Soccer Mom Lorenzo Vincenzo
Year Title Role Notes
1993 Route 66 (reboot) Arthur Clark full season (four episodes)
1994 Seinfeld Tony Episode: "The Stall"
1994 Traps Detective Chris Trapchek full season (six episodes)
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 Baby Blues Ray
2000 That's Life Professor Jeff Cahill
1997–2000 Veronica's Closet Perry Rollins / Laird Perry Rollins
2001 The Triangle Tommy Devane
2001 Inside Schwartz Chuck
2002 House Blend Dave Reed Unsold television pilot
2002 Andy Richter Controls the Universe Ben / Peter
2003–2004 Rock Me Baby Jimmy Cox
2004 8 Simple Rules Coach Scott McCallister
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)
2009 Surviving Suburbia Onno
2010 Castle Howard Weisberg
2010 Money Hungry Host
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
2019 Beach Bake Battle Host
2021 Leverage: Redemption Ryan Corbett The Panamanian Monkeys Job

Season 1, Episode 2 (Jul 9, 2021)

2023 The Curse 'Love to the Third Degree' host (TV series, 1 episode: "Land of Enchantment")

Season 1, Episode 1 (Nov 10, 2023)


  1. ^ Morrison, Melissa (July 23, 1992). "QV graduate hosting MTV Sports". Beaver County Times. Pennsylvania. (Dallas Morning News). p. B2.
  2. ^ "Dan Cortese Biography (1967-)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved 2015-03-04.
  3. ^ "1987 UNC Tarheels Football Roster". Tarheeltimes. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  4. ^ "Dan Cortese". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2015-03-04.
  5. ^ Prachi Gupta (October 13, 2014). "John Mulaney's Dan Cortese line made Bill Hader break character". Retrieved September 28, 2016.
  6. ^ Mike Krumboltz (October 12, 2014). "Stefon of 'SNL' Mentions Dan Cortese, Twitter Goes Wild". Retrieved September 28, 2016.

External links[edit]