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    Chicklis owes me money

    Back in the late 1980s when I was pursuing my acting career in New York City, I worked at a restaurant called “Formerly Joe’s.” Most of the wait-staff there were hopeful actors and actresses like me.

    The owner, Andy, was very inflexible about letting us off for auditions. To him, actors were a dime-a-dozen as were wait-staff. Two of my good friends that I worked with there were Edie Falco and Michael Chicklis, both of whom have gone on to win Emmys.

    Edie has been in the HBO series “The Sopranos” and Michael has starred in “The Commish” and “The Shield.” I remember when Michael went on an audition and was hired for the film called “Wired,” which chronicled the life and times of John Belushi. I distinctly remember him trying to get off work to film the picture and Andy being upset with him because he couldn’t cover his shifts.

    I was like, “Chick, you’re in New York for a reason and it’s not to be a waiter!” He ultimately went out to California and was cast in the part of John Belushi and his career sky-rocketed from there.

    Chick, Edie and I were always getting into trouble together at work. I specifically remember one of us scarfing a chocolate fudge pie and the chef going nuts at us. He immediately reported us to Andy and we were duly reprimanded and told to stay away from each other during work time. This amused us to no end.

    During this time, Chicklis was having some difficulty paying his Con-Ed (electrical) bill and asked to borrow something like $40 from me. He said as soon as he had the money, he’d re-pay me.

    Well, fast-forward about eight years and I’m living in Los Angeles. I was still walking and I was on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills when I saw Michael with his family walking across the street from me.

    I yelled out, “Hey, Chick, you owe me forty bucks!” Michael got this big grin on his face and says, “Oh, Kathryn, I’m sorry. I only have plastic on me.”

    And that was the extent of it. I’m sure if I saw him today, he would make good on the loan, but the memories and the story are worth more than that to me anyway.

    Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in NYC and Los Angeles, now pursues free lance writing from Caroga Lake in Fulton County. Previous columns may be accessed at her web site www.kathrynskorner.com