Ted Danson's unlikely start as an actor

Ted Danson joined James Lipton on Inside the Actors Studio and talked about how he got his unexpected and unintended start as an actor. Danson was a freshman at Stanford University when he asked out a young cafeteria worker, Beth, for coffee. Instead of having coffee like he’d intended, Danson soon found himself auditioning for the first time.

Danson explained, “There was a girl named Beth who worked in the freshman dorm serving food at the cafeteria, and I thought that maybe I might be able to ask her out for coffee, and she said, ‘I have to go audition for a play.’ I went, ‘Oh, can I come?’ The only way to stay in the room was to audition, and I wanted to be with Beth. So …”

Danson improvised and got a laugh from the people in the room. He said he remembered thinking, “It’s not as good as basketball, but that laugh was really nice.”

Danson got a part in the play and never looked back. That audition spawned a career spanning decades, highlighted by dozens of movie and television roles including that of Sam Malone in the iconic sitcom Cheers.

“I literally backed my station wagon up that had a mattress in the back to the back of the theater and never left. Just hooked. I dropped all my other classes,” Danson said.

Inside the Actors Studio airs on Bravo. For more information, check the show’s website.

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