Main > Series > Articles/Interviews > New York's "Home," But L.A. Means "Success" For Carlo Imperato




What is Carlo Imperato doing across the continent 3,000 miles away from him home in the Bronx, New York? He's here in Los Angeles discovering what "fame" is all about.

And although Carlo's involvement in acting came purely by accident, he's finding success easy to handle and enjoying his career as an actor portraying "Danny Amatullo" on Fame.

The series Fame, which first aired on NBC in 1981, was cancelled after two seasons in spite of much critical acclain. But after this brief cancellation Carlo was glad to learn the show was being syndicated by independant TV stations, and he could continue working.

Blue-eyed Carli begins by explaining that his career in acting came about with good timing and luck on his side. It all began when he landed a role in a successful Broadway play called The Runaways.

"I didn't know anyone who had anything to do with acting," he explains. "A producer came to my school to audition students, and my English teacher told me about it.

"I went and auditioned and got a role in a play," he recalls of his first encounter with acting when he was 13 years old. From there, Carlo found a manager, and things kept rolling along until he soon found himself cast as the comic "Danny Amatullo."

Since Fame, Carlo has packed up his belongings and moved to Los Angeles, leaving close friends and family behind in New York. Though he genuinels loves the New York lifestyle, he's excited about the show's survival, which means staying in Hollywood a while longer.

"Fame's biggest audience will be from abroad," says Carlo. "We have 167 networks carrying the show. They're in China, Japan, Australia, Europe ... all over the world." He then adds proudly, "It's the first time in television history that this has ever happened with a show."

And Carlo's glad to be able to continue working with his co-stars Gene Anthony Ray, Lee Curreri and the rest of the cast. "Everyone gets along here. We're all from New York so that hold us together. We try to keep the New York spirit going," he remarks with enthusiasm.

Besides working with a great cast, the popularity of Fame has given Carlo the opportunity to do some extensive traveling.

"We went to England, Israel and Holland for a month," the 20-year-old begins. "I would have never been to those places if it weren't for the show. The 'Kids from Fame' tour was great," he concludes without hesitation.

"The fans from Europe are crazy! We performed for 15,000 fans a night, and after each performance, they'd all be waiting for us outside!"

So after experiencing such enormous popularity, how does Carlo handle it all so well? He'll openly tell you it all has to do with his upbrining back in New York, a place where he has fond memories of his family and closest friends.

Carlo's parent have been behind him from the beginning. "My parents are not the type of parents who planned their children's lives. You do what you have to, and they support you. They'd have supported me no matter what I chose to do for a living."

And not only have his parents been supportive of Carlo through thick and thin, but they're just as excited about his career as Carlo is himself.

"My father loves it when he sees people approaching me for an autograph. And my sister, who is 23 years old, is real excited about all that's been happening, too."

While on the subject of his family, Carlo adds that he hopes he's gained some of his parents' values, and he believes his down-to-earth attitude can be traced to the way they raised him.

"When my father was little, there was a big depression," he explains of the tragic period in the late 1920s when people were struggling to find jobs and earn a living. "So he came from knowing the value of a dollar and respecting other people."

"They're not just my father and mother," he says fondly. "They're my best friends. I call then every day from the set. And if it weren't for my mom, none of this would be. She's the one who made my acting career really happen."

And because of his close ties with his family, Carlo plans on being the same kind of parent to his children as his parents were to him and his sister.

"I love kids, and I definitely want to raise a family. I'd raise mine the same way they brought up my sister and me."

But the time to have his own famuly is in the future. For now, Carlo's mind is set on learning as much as he can about acting and having fun.

When he's not busy working, Carlo's idea of pleasure lies in sports. "I love sports! I play on weekends, and it helps keep me in shape."

"I even wanted to be a basketball player," he remembers of his younger days. "But when I was twelve, I knew I'd have to grow another two feet so I said 'forget it!'"

If Carlo can't be found on the studio lot where Fame is filmed or tossing a football during work breaks, there's another place you'd most likely spot him.

"I love the beach! That's one of the reasons I love living in Los Angeles," he says happily. "You can go to the beach whenever you want!"

But lazy sunny days at the beach don't come too frequently for Carlo, for with his hectic schedule, he finds himself spending a lot of hours at work.

Does he ever think he's missing out on anything because of his busy schedule and being so far away from his roots in New York? Not at all. In fact, this blond actor feels it's taught him plenty.

"All this has made me grow up a bit," he reveals. "I've been the baby of the family, and being out here has made me learn to take care of myself and my own responsibilities. Stuff like cooking, cleaning and taking care of my own place."

Carlo does have a new pride and joy in his life, adding with a smile, "I recently bought myself a Corvette. It's something I did by myself. I worked hard for it, and that's the biggest thing I ever got in my life!"

Aside from a gorgeous new car, Carlo's life hasn't changed much. Appreciating the values that have been instilled in him as a child, he explains, "My lifestyle will never change, and when I go back home to the Bronx, I'm still the same old person I was before Fame."

Although to Carlo home remains New York City (where he misses his mother's home-cooked Italian food), he's glad that he's in California working steadily and having the chance to better his skills as an actor.

And if he could have any three wishes in the world, what would they be? "Health, happiness and to make a movie with Robert DeNiro!"

Article copyright BOP magazine.

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