Len Cariou, who plays the patriarch of the Reagans on CBS' "Blue Bloods," is one of those actors who seems so familiar.
He should. He's been racking up TV and film credits since 1977 and has been a steady presence on Broadway since 1968. Yet it's as the wise head of a family of three generations of New York cops that Cariou, 71, has reached the most fans.
"The theater makes you go," Cariou says, explaining his preference for stage work. "But television -- the first week this was shown, 13 million people saw it."
He marvels at that number, which has only grown, and that's just in the United States. In his native Canada (Cariou is from Manitoba), it's the No. 2 show. It's going to air in Great Britain and Australia.
"It's mind-boggling in that sense and very, very gratifying," Cariou says.
Though Cariou's a longtime New Yorker, this show has taken him to new neighborhoods, including Arthur Avenue in the Bronx, where he dined on Italian food with guest star Dominic Chianese ("The Sopranos").
"Dominic grew up there. He walked in, and they bowed down," Cariou says.
He's having fun with this role and says what he likes about "Blue Bloods" is the family aspect, those dinners around the Staten Island dining room table.
"They have less than three-quarters of an hour to tell all the stories," he says. "And the most important part is the family scenes. That's what everybody likes about the show."
Cariou hasn't ruled out returning to Broadway, and having done many years of Shakespeare, he says he "wouldn't mind having a go at King Lear again, and 'The Tempest' again. And I never played Richard III. Willy Loman and 'A Long Day's Journey Into Night,' those are two roles I would like."
Celebrity Scoop: Len Cariou