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Vampire Rising

Through all his hungry years in Hollwood, when he was painting houses and parking cars to pay the rent, David Boreanaz never worried about his future as an actor.  "I'm very patient," he says.  "I never doubted my talent."

In the end, though, it wasn't so much talent as good timing that lifted Boreanaz, 30, from the world of odd jobs and into prime time.  One morning in 1997 the darkly handsome actor took his dog for a walk and stolled into one of those Hollywood Moments.  Spotted by a talent manager, he was invited to a casting call for the WB's hit series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and earned a guest appearance as Angel, a 242-year-old vampire with a conscience.  When Buffy fans responded to the hunky bloodsucker with an avalanche of fan mail, Boreanaz's one-shot gig grew into a regular role as Buffy star Sarah Michelle Gellar's on-screen sweetie.  This season he returned with his own Tuesday-night spinoff, Angel, in which he stars as a vampire who battles the deadly demons prowling Los Angeles's underbelly.

Boreanaz's leap from Buffy hasn't quieted rumors that he and Gellar, 22, are more than just a TV love team.  The actor won't discuss those whispers, and he talks of Gellar in only gentlemanly studio-speak.  "Sarah's great to work with," he reports.  "Very kind, giving, always supportive."

Boreanaz is no less courtly before the camera.  "I strive for an old value system," he says, "and being able to portray that onscreen is the ultimate.  There's something about a beautiful screen kiss or being able to pour a woman a glass of wine or light her cigarette in a manner that's very old school."

If Boreanaz seems oh-so-discreet about his love life, no matter; most of his female fans would rather revel in his bachelorhood anyway.  Last October he filed for divorce from his wife, Ingrid, an Irish-born social worker whom he wed in 1997.

Boreanaz's long-married parents set a very different example for the actor.  Born in Buffalo, New York, to Patti, a travel agent, and her husband, David, a local TV weatherman, Boreanaz is the youngest of three children.  When he was 8, his family moved to Villanova, Pennsylvania, where his father, under the professional name Dave Roberts, still gives weather forecasts on the local ABC station.  Drawn to acting after seeing Yul Brynner in The King and I, Boreanaz collected a degree in film in 1991 at New York's Ithaca College and then packed off to Los Angeles to make his fortune.

An early Foster's beer commercial launched his career, but apart from occasional walk-ons, he struggled over the next six years.  He made a 1993 appearance as Kelly Bundy's biker boyfriend on Married...With Children, did freebie acting stints in small theaters and occasionally picked up work in TV ads.  Between show business jobs, he worked as a health-club towel boy, delivered meat and seafood door-to-door, parked cars and painted houses.

Now, with regular paychecks rolling in, Boreanaz has begun the requisite search for a star home, launched his own production company (MoBo Films) and even picked up a pricey hobby, collecting antique watches.  "Like life," he says of one Breitling timepiece, "you keep it oiled and keep it going, and the intricacies are just fascinating."

The trick for the actor now, of course, is to keep his career ticking just as smoothly.  Boreanaz still consults his media-savvy father "at least three, four times a week" and says he's open to a big-screen part if the right one comes along.  "I'm not looking for a major role," he says.  "I'm looking to learn.  I'm very young in the industry.  I don't want to burn out."

~H. Michael Rovner

The Usual
The Usual

Random Quotage:

If the apocalypse comes, beep me.
-Buffy (Never Kill a Boy on the First Date)

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