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WITH AN EYE ON . . . : 'Brooklyn Bridge's' First Born Wants to See Alan Grow

April 04, 1993|N.F. MENDOZA | TMES STAFF WRITER

He's a true-blue New Yorker, a self-professed "huge fan of the Knicks, the Giants and the Yankees." But if "Brooklyn Bridge" co-star Danny Gerard doesn't favor Southern California ball clubs, he's certainly happy with the character he plays on the critically praised, ratings-drubbed series, which comes back to CBS this week for a seven-week run.

Fifteen-year-old Danny likes Alan Silver, the oldest son he plays in the family show set in 1957 Brooklyn. Alan is "smart and well-rounded," but Danny said he'd like to start delving into the character's "darker side, which hasn't been explored yet"--and won't be if the series isn't pickd up.

"You try to put in as much of you as you can," says Danny. "It's gotten to the point where he's almost me now. Sometimes you have to pull back and realize it's the character and not you."

The cast of "Brooklyn Bridge" is tight-knit, he says, adding that Jake Jundef, who plays Benny on the show, is "my best friend in the whole world."

An average shooting day for Danny consists of arriving on the set at 7 a.m. and balancing work with 3 1/2 hours of school time. He'd go home around 4:30 p.m., "then eat and do all my homework, then it's time to go to sleep and start all over again! I really don't have a lot of free time."

Originally from Mt. Vernon, N.Y., Danny makes his home in Hopewell Junction, N.Y. He began singing at age 5 and has amassed an impressive list of credits, including extensive work on Broadway; he drew plaudits for his role as one of the sons in Neil Simon's "Lost in Yonkers." His favorite stage role was Gavroche in "Les Miserables."

"I liked the business right away and my parents never pressured me," he recalls. "I was the one interested; if I didn't like it, I woulda stopped."

But Danny hasn't decided how far he wants to go in show business. "I don't know if I want to spend my whole life acting," he says. "I'm also interested in writing and broadcasting."

His primary interest outside the show is sports. "My friends call me 'Mr. Obsessed' because I love sports so much," he says, laughing. "I watch ESPN and I collect baseball cards. I'll watch just about any sport on TV."

The congenial young actor doesn't see himself as a teen idol. "I've avoided it so far, declined all teen magazine interviews. I'm from New York, where it's more important to be an actor than it is to be a star. Teen idols can get lost, but if you are putting out a good piece of work, you will be recognized (longer). But you gotta be grateful to your fans, since they make you."

He remains a fan of "Brooklyn Bridge," and hopes enough viewers find the new time slot to keep it on the air. "I think the show is what real families are about and people should watch it--this family is like any family. There is love, and I think that's what families are about."

"Brooklyn Bridge" airs Saturdays at 9:30 p.m. on CBS.

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