Although Due South has been touted by some press as "the Mountie show," much of its success can be attributed to actor David Marciano, whose presence as the cynical Chicago Detective Ray Vecchio provided a perfect foil to the precise Mountie.
David was born in Newark, New Jersey, and his family moved to Belleville, New Jersey, then back to Newark when David was eight years old. Acting was not something in his blood at that age, as it seems to be with many other performers. He never tried out for dramatics while in school, instead concentrating on sports, but because he wasn't large enough and was quickly stomped on by larger classmates, he soon quit the freshman football team. High school and the difficult teen years brought on other difficulties. "When I was 17, I was diagnosed as self-destructive," 1 he said. He fell into drugs, gambling and hanging out with the wrong people. Fortunately, David pulled himself out of that phase. Now he can use that material in research for his work.
Brought up in Newark's Mount Prospect section, he attended Seton Hall Prep and Essex Catholic before he went to Boston's Northeastern University and studied biomedical engineering. However, academic probation followed after his first semester. David was talented in mathematics, but a switch to economics and accounting was not satisfactory for him. The memory of a high school aptitude test, which suggested he be either an architect or actor, prompted a call to his mother. Her words of encouragement as how an acting class would benefit him in any job he took, made him decide to go forward with acting -- and he hasn't looked back since.
Boston proved to be a solid ground to nurture his new career. He appeared in local theater productions, a local movie and a commercial for his alma mater. He also supported himself with that time-honored profession which many actors seem to have in their history: he was a bartender.
The inevitable could not be delayed. In 1984, David piled his personal possessions into the tiny trunk of his Austin Healy Sprite, and he drove out to Los Angeles. He attended the Drama Studio of London in Berkeley, California in the mid-eighties. It was during this period that he also tended bar at the Kings X bar in Oakland, which he recalls as an enjoyable experience.
For a while he tried his hand back in the tough New York City acting job market, but in December, 1985, made the permanent move to sunny California.
It was only after putting in his dues in television ads (one with future X-Files star David Duchovny), that his persistence and work paid off. He had his SAG (Screen Actor Guild) card and, via fellow actor Jonathan Banks, had a chance at a guest role in the new CBS series Wiseguy. Producer Stephen Cannell loved David's audition and he was hired. It was only when he was handed the script did David realize just how much work a 'guest lead role' entailed. He was on every page and it was daunting, but he put in a powerful performance as the crazed nephew of Mob leader Sonny Steelgrave.
The Wiseguy appearance secured his acting role, and no longer were odd jobs and bartending the norm. More work soon arrived, including an appearance on the critically acclaimed Vietnam war show, China Beach, as well as regular role as the quirky bicycle messenger Jeffrey on the legal show Civil Wars. Although he interviewed for the lead role (which Peter Onarati secured) he was called back for the role of Jeffrey. He was disappointed at first, but the chemistry between actress Debi Mazar and himself showed brightly on screen, and their characters rapidly developed.
He was leaving behind the minor guest roles of thugs and drug dealers.
Although David now says that the character Ray Vecchio is the best thing that could have ever happened to him, he was at first very reluctant to take on the role. He felt the writing on the Pilot script was solid, but he could not get into the character of the sarcastic detective. "I'm a very visceral type of actor. It's an organic process for me," 2 says Marciano. He passed on the audition, but his agent fortunately persisted that he give it another try.
Despite his initial misgivings about the character, Maricano accepted the co-starring role which the network and producers offered him. The decision wasn't easy for production of the series took place not in his home of Los Angeles, but across the continent and out of the country in Toronto, Canada. This involved relocating his family (his wife, actress Katayoun Amini and their 3-month-old daughter Ariana Grace). He found it difficult to juggle being a father, husband and a co-lead on a TV show.
The television business is precarious at best, and soon David and his fellow performers found themselves unemployed not once but twice through the fickle machinations of ratings and funding. With Due South's second cancellation apparently final, David took a development offer with CBS Television. He completed a pilot for a science fiction series entitled Columbus Station. When Due South was renewed for a third season, this time courtesy of foreign funding, David was still awaiting word on that pilot (Unfortunately the pilot was never pursued by CBS). David made the very difficult decision not to reprise his role as Ray Vecchio, due in part to his CBS deal but also because of a deep salary cut 3 from Alliance.
His presence was not totally gone from the series. David appeared in a notable scene in the 3rd season opening episode, "Burning Down the House," which established that the character of Ray Vecchio was being sent deep undercover within the Mob, and another detective (Stanley Kowalski, played by Callum Keith Rennie) was brought in to pretend to be him. David also returned for the final two-part episode of the series ("Call the Wild").
Life After Due South
David continues to himself busy, guest starring in many popular series such as "Touched by an Angel," "Diagnosis Murder," "Nash Bridges," "Providence," "JAG," "NYPD Blue," "CSI," "CSI: New York," and "NCIS." David has also had several recurring roles on the series "Judging Amy," "The Mind of the Married Man," and "The Shield." He also played a key role in the two "Last Don" mini-series as Giorgio Clericuzio.
In his spare time, he likes to fish, golf, ski, and cook. He is also a big supporter of charities. His generous donation of several articles of 'Ray Vecchio' wardrobe (including an Armani jacket and silk shirt) to a Due South convention in 1997 brought in over $3,300US alone for the charity Catalog for Giving.
The following is a brief bibliography of sources quoted.
1 - Toronto Star, "TV cop tough as a pussycat," by Pearl Sheffy Gefen, Jan. 29, 1995
Born: January 7, 1960
DUE SOUTH ROLE
Detective Ray Vecchio
Internet Movie Database
Marciano's MySpace Page?
HOW TO CONTACT
c/o Don Buchwald &
Attn: Tim Angle
6500 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90048