David Boreanaz ’91 has come back from the dead.
Well, not really. But the star of the television shows Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel is finally playing not a vampire but a living, breathing person. With a legion of fans, great reviews, a prime-time slot, and, of course, an Ithaca College education, it was a no-brainer that Bones, his third television show, would also be a hit.
Surprisingly, that IC education didn’t include much acting experience: He took only one theater class, Introduction to Acting. In fact, as a cinema and photography major he was behind the camera more often than in front of it. And in his spare time he could be seen on the sports field, playing intramural softball, basketball, and football no matter the season. Nevertheless, he believes the College gave him a solid foundation. “The environment and the community and the people drew me there,” he says. “Being at a relatively small school really allows you to focus on a subject area, and that is such an asset in life.”
After graduation Boreanaz decided to move to Los Angeles, hoping that his degree would open some doors to working in film or television. It was definitely the right choice, though it took a while for that to become clear.
At first he paid the bills by working various odd jobs (painting houses, parking cars, handing out towels at a gym) and acting whenever he could find a job (paying or not). His first break came in 1993 when he guest-starred on a few episodes of Married . . . with Children. Though some cast members reportedly lobbied to make him a regular, he returned to his more familiar recurring role as struggling actor and odd-jobber.
He removed “struggling” from his job title in 1997, when a producer noticed the athletic young man walking his dog and cast him as a vampire in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. After he’d appeared as a guest actor in two episodes, the chemistry between him and the show’s star, Sarah Michelle Gellar, was evident; he was written in as a regular. His character, Angel, a 248-year-old vampire looking to redeem himself for his past mistakes, was so popular with fans that a spinoff show of the same name was created only two years later.
To say that Angel was a hit would be an understatement; Boreanaz had become a bona fide star. Angel lasted five years, but fans clamored for more of its leading man. Today, if you search for “David Boreanaz” on the Internet, you come up with over a million hits.
Bones, now in its second season, was his chance to prove that he could succeed as a character other than
Angel. Boreanaz plays FBI special agent Seeley Booth, a former army sniper who likes to solve crimes the old-fashioned way: by questioning witnesses and trusting his instincts. He also mistrusts scientists, like the forensic anthropologist he is often teamed with in solving crimes, Temperance “Bones”
Brennan (Emily Deschanel). Critics have called the show a cross between Moonlighting and The X-Files, two shows driven by smart, witty writing and palpable chemistry between the two lead characters.
Boreanaz still feels a strong connection with Ithaca—the College and the community. “Man—the gorges, hanging out, the city—I have so many good memories of that place,” he says, laughing. “I really would like to make it back there to visit.”
Until then, he wants to remind current students that even after you’re discovered, even after three hit series, there is still more work to be done. “The sweetness of success comes while the journey is still going on,” he says. “I know I still have many mountains to climb.”
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Fuse is a student produced publication about the Ithaca College experience. All content in the print and web versions of Fuse is developed by current Ithaca College students in a breadth of different areas of study.