Dan Dan: The Whopper Man
A Pennsylvania native actor who burst into fame as the host of the well-like show “MTV Sports” (1992-1996), Dan Cortese has established a reputation for himself as a fruitful TV performer by scoring countless recurring roles and cast roles on many TV hits. Probably, he is best remembered for playing Perry Rollins, the publicist for Kirstie Alley’s lingerie company, in the successful NBC sitcom “Veronica’s Closet” (1997- 2000) and the “mimbo” role Tony on an episode of the “Seinfeld” (1994). He is also known for his works in Fox’s primetime soap “Melrose Place” (1995), NBC’s sitcom “The Single Guy” (1997) and “What I Like About You” (2003-2006). Cortese’s movie credits include Demolition Man (1993), Public Enemy No. 1 (1996), the hit NBC movie The Lottery (1996) and After Sex (2000).
In the 1990s, Cortese was recruited as the official spokesperson for Burger King in a campaign named “Your Way, Right Away.” As the company’s representative, the 6-foot tall actor was frequently seen visiting with Burger King customers and getting them flame grilled whoppers, tailored to their liking, as well as hanging out in the back, grilling burgers with Burger King staffs. For this reason, he earned nickname “Dan Dan: The Whopper Man” in the commercials. After the campaign ended, it took Cortese a short time to wobble the image of being “the Whopper Man.”
On a more personal note, Cortese has been married to Dee Dee Hemby since 1994. He becomes the father of two children, India and Roman.
Childhood and Family:
In the Pittsburgh suburb of Sewickley, Pennsylvania, Dan Cortese was born on September 14, 1967. He played football while attending college, and graduated with a B.A in Broadcasting from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The Sicilian origin married Dee Dee Hemby on May 21, 1994. They have two children, India Isabelle Cortese (born on March 4, 2004) and Roman. The family currently resides in Malibu, California.
Born and raised in the Pittsburgh, PA suburb of Sewickely, Dan Cortese took a job as a production assistant for MTV in Los Angeles before landing a hosting gig for the music channel’s new sports program, “MTV Sports,” in 1992. Serving in that capacity until 1996, he enjoyed an instant success as the show became one of the music network’s most popular programs.
With a newfound fame, Cortese’s ascent in entertainment business was speedy, especially for somebody with no training and no heretofore on-camera ambitions. In 1993, he had his first taste in front of the film camera with a bit part as the Taco Bell entertainer in the sci-fi/ action movie Demolition Man, starring ylvester Stallone and Wesley Snipes. The same year, he also took on a lead role in the NBC television series remake of “Route 66,” playing Arthur Clark. Unfortunately, the adventure series was cancelled after four episodes.
Cortese starred in the short-lived CBS series “Traps” in 1994, but it was his performance as Tony, Elaine Benes’ (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) ultra-cool, handsome boyfriend whom George Costanza (Jason Alexander) openly adores with a man-crush, in a 1994 episode of the NBC sitcom “Seinfeld” that made Cortese well-known among the show’s fans. He further boosted television popularity with recurring roles in two recognized and hit series, the Fox primetime soap “Melrose Place” (1995), portraying Jess Hanson, brother to Jake (Grant Show), and NBC’s sitcom “The Single Guy” (1997), as the investment banker/ neighbor of Jonathan Silverman. In between, Cortese was seen playing G-man Melvin Purvis in the HBO original film Public Enemy No. 1 (1996), as well as starring in the highly rated NBC movie The Lottery (1996), with Keri Russell, and in the action made-for-TV disaster flick Volcano: Fire on the Mountain (1997), as geologist Peter Slater.
Several months after leaving “The Single Guys,” Cortese was cast in the regular role of a model-turned-publicist, Perry Rollins, in the NBC show “Veronica’s Closet,” opposite Kirstie Alley, from which the actor earned his best reviews. Starting from 1997, he remained with the popular show until it came to an end in 2000. While costarring in the series, he also had a lead role in the comedy film After Sex (2000) and guest starred in episodes of television series “Baby Blues” (2000, voice of Ray) and “That’s Life” (2000).
After “Veronica’s Closet” departed the airwaves, Cortese went on to make several TV films, and appear as a guest star on some successful shows like “Andy Richter Controls the Universe” (2002), “8 Simple Rules... for Dating My Teenage Daughter” (2004) and “Joey” (2005). Additionally, he portrayed Jimmy Cox in The WB’s brief series “Rock Me Baby” in 2003. Still in 2003, Cortese joined the cast of the Amanda Bynes/Jennie Garth sitcom “What I Like About You,” playing the role of Vic, Val’s (Garth) husband, whom she married after a wild night in Atlantic City.
39-year-old Cortese is scheduled to play supporting role Michael in the comedy film Everybody Wants to Be Italian (2006), directed and written by Jason Todd Ipson. The upcoming project stars Jay Jablonski, Cerina Vincent and John Kapelos.