Look at that face in the photo and try to tell me that is not a great neighborhood face. Aging handsomely and full of life, it is the face of actor Danny Goldring — even the name is neighborhood perfect, Danny — sitting in the barbershop that he has visited with regularity for the last 20 years.
The guys, barbers and customers, at Alfredo's, at 833 N. State St., greeted the actor warmly last Saturday morning. Stories were swapped, a few wicked but well-meaning wisecracks filled the air, and fading photos of customers and barbers past lined the walls.
"I love this place," says Goldring. "It's old school. A lot of characters."
Born in Woodstock, Goldring, the son of a U.S Navy officer, traveled the world as a kid — Japan, Hawaii, Maryland and other spots — before arriving in Chicago for keeps in 1968.
He started his theatrical career as a puppeteer with the Cole Marionettes, a troupe that toured schools throughout the Midwest from the 1930s into the 1980s. He later studied at the
Here's a small sampling, across the decades: He played cops in small roles in the movie
The actor has a lot of things in the pipeline but, like many working stiff actors, doesn't want to talk about them on the record for fear of "jinxing the deal."
But he is currently a prominent presence in the second season of
The show captured lousy ratings its first season but is picking up considerable word-of-mouth steam. My colleague Mary Schmich just discovered it and, as she wrote a couple of weeks ago, "downloaded the first season, a bargain at only $14.99. I was riveted. … In 'Boss,' everyone with any power is corrupt or corruptible, except, maybe, and only maybe, the newspaper guy."
Wait until she jumps into the second season, which began airing in August. In it Goldring plays — "I just auditioned and, thankfully, got the job," he says — Ryan Kavanaugh, a childhood friend of the mayor's, a retired homicide detective and the owner of a tavern called the Lion and Lamb Pub, the sort of dimly lit joint that used to be a fixture in most every neighborhood.
"The character is almost a perfect fit. I know this guy; guys like him, taverns like the Lion and Lamb," says Goldring, who lives in the Lakeview neighborhood. "And for the viewers, my character plays what I think is an important part in helping understand who Kane is. In Ryan's interactions with Kane they get to see the mayor as a human being, the only time they see him that way."
In some circles and tabloid tattling, Grammer has a reputation as being rather churlish; he recently skipped out on a scheduled interview on
Goldring would beg to disagree.
"He's a great guy," he says. "A very giving actor, and he's got a great sense of humor. Now, he's a Republican, but I can't hold that against him."
Goldring has not, though he has had the opportunities, fled Chicago. "I go to theater all the time here, any time I can," he says. "Stay here? How could I not. There is truth in the work here."
Many of his longtime pals have parts in "Boss." Any frequent local theatergoer will recognize many faces in it, and it's impossible to miss Steppenwolf's Francis Guinan and
"They are both so great in their roles," says Goldring. "And I'll tell you, Kelsey's helped get so many actors here work, I think he could get elected mayor."