Friday, August 24, 2012


Last week I talked about my pantheon of hotness, which is penetrated (yes, that was a deliberate word choice) by an individual in two decades only rarely. Today I am including another hunk who came in the 90s and stayed there...


I can only guess that members of Eyecons' international audience is unfamiliar with Dan, because he has had such an odd career, going from being a personality host to an actor in shows that never really took off or were never really his own vehicle. He has always been a reliably handsome presence, a pleasant persona and a hunky presence on American TV for 20 years now, but only gay men, some women and industry people could say that they even know who he is. 

Daniel James Cortese was born into a Sicilian American family on September 14, 1967 in Sewickley, Pennsylvania, a Pittsburgh suburb along my much beloved Ohio River (that accounts for his awesomeness!). He was a walk-on for the football team at the University of North Carolina, one of the United States' best public colleges. He graduated with a B.A. in broadcasting. Despite going to a fine school and possessing a natural intellect, Dan has always been at his best playing the good looking idiot. Surely anyone blessed with as much as Dan doesn't mind bearing the brunt of jokes.

Dan got his start in 1992 acting as a reporter for MTV Sports, back when there was a reason to watch MTV. In those days he wore his hair long, and sometimes a beard and mustache, and he was the epitome of cool... 80s flash...

...or 90s grunge....

This next look was one that was thrust upon Dan, I am sure. In the 90s, America was in love with hating Generation X, and it wasn't a complete day until you heard the phrase "slacker" used interchangeably with our generation, which was ironic since we were working two or three jobs a day in hopes of getting our shot at getting on the career carousel. Like hillbilly cartoons, these "slacker" types, none of whom ever resembled real people, were caricatures invented by the media.  Still, here is Dan wearing the look and the uniform....

I will also note that he looks like he just stepped out of a production of Godspell

Speaking of productions, in 1994, some TV executive got the idea to revive the classic TV series Route 66.  The original program was broadcast from 1960 to '64, and was a hip black & white series that was so clearly based on Jack Kerouac's novel  On the Road that it's a surprising they even got by with it. It starred Martin Milner and George Maharis.

Maharis (raven haired, on the left) clearly got the part because he looked alternatingly like Kerouac and Neal Cassady, who are thinly veiled characters in the book, as well. Milner had that blond California beefcake look that added to the allure. Why is all of this important?  Well, I am just trying to point out that Route 66 was a product of its time, when the Beat Movement was in full swing and these two men epitomized hipster cool, daddy-o!

By 1994 the coolness of the Beats had, well, cooled. This was the MTV Generation, after all, so they cast MTV's Dan opposite hunky James Wilder, who played the son of Milner's character.

It lasted only 4 episodes, to no one's surprise. The anthology nature of the show, with two guys meeting new people every week, was not popular, thus depriving us of the chance to see Dan in a bathing suit.

Dan would next make an appearance on Seinfeld, a show made up of nothing but classic bits of humor.  
In this particular episode, Dan played Elaine's boyfriend whom she is dating because he is so exceptionally handsome, but all of that is ruined by George who gets a man crush on Dan, and, as with everyone in his life, brings him to destruction....or at least bring Dan's face to destruction, after which Elaine must break up with Dan's character for no longer being good looking. "Did the doctors use the phrase craniofacial damage?" LOL!

Some movie roles came up for Dan one of them offered us this tasty treat...

...and then Dan would be seen in a character arc on Melrose Place playing a man with an interchangeable Darren Starr production name, Jesse Hanson.  On Melrose, all of the hot guys had names that began with a J. 

Here is a picture of Dan in a pool. Melrose Place had a pool. I do not know if this is the same pool, a publicity shot for the show or what, but let's just enjoy that's Dan showing off those guns...

Okay, I will make up for a lack of picture from the show with this video of Dan actually swimming and coming out of the famous Melrose Place pool.

Next Dan would go into a TV series called Traps and co-star with none other than George C. Scott, playing father/son cops. That show lasted only half a season. From there, it was a long stint of guest starring until Veronica's Closet, a sitcom starring Kirstie Alley. 

The show lasted three seasons because it was never all that funny despite having a cast of actors who were actually quite adept at being funny.  Dan, meanwhile, did scenes at which he was particularly adept: in states of undress.

First there was the scene with the All-American boxer shorts....

Before anyone gets the urge to salute that, it got better. In one episode, Cortese and co-star Daryl Mitchell decide to photograph nudes of themselves to....send to ladies, use for dates, or something that only people in sitcoms do.  But who cares? They were getting naked, or at least as undressed as American prime time TV allows. 

Oh, but wait. It get's better...

And here is a video of that moment to enjoy...

Back to the races for the next few years for Dan, until he landed a semi-regular role on What I Like About You as Jenny Garth's hunktastic fireman husband.

Am I the only one who thinks that hair style makes him look like Ben Affleck's Italian cousin?

Lends new meaning to the phrase Fire Sale.

Dan's next regular role was in Surviving Suburbia, which was an exercise in bad judgment by never showing Dan shirtless and simply by casting Bob Saget.

But this year, friends, our luck changed. The producers of the ├╝ber-funny TV Land series Hot in Cleveland had the brilliant idea to cast Dan in the role he's made a living playing:  the dumb but beautiful man who gets dumped by the woman because he doesn't offer anything beyond his looks.  Even better, his very first scene takes place in the locker room of the Cleveland Browns football team, for whom his character played. Valerie Bertinelli and Betty White got to ogle and even touch Dan. Imagine that your workday was doing this...

"Eat your hearts out, bitches!"

"Oh, Dan, I blew my line again. I guess we'll do take 83!"

I think we are all head over heels in love with this man...

And finally just some various shots of Dan throughout his career.

And finally, another gun show...

And then, as if thinking alike, another couple of individuals thought to compare and contrast the gorgeous young man that was Dan Cortese with the equally gorgeous middle aged man the soon to be 45 year old Dan is now.

And this amazing picture shows how Dan has maintained the body that has made him famous, and looks none the worse for wear at these two ages...

Neither his acting parts nor his body parts have changed in his (so far) 20 year career, and aren't we glad?!


My thanks to xyzpdq for generously allowing my usage of his video clips from SOMS. :)


  1. I remember him from the MTV days and he always seemed to have a gay-friendly vibe to me. I've seen quotes since and he seems quite grateful there's a gay following. Route 66 was only on for FOUR weeks--jeez! To be honest, I guess I never "watched" it but I seem to remember it well! I really must find out what happened to James Wilder--oh the memories are rushing back. As for Dan, if there's a 44 year old with a hotter body I've never seen it--goodness gracious we must keep getting him skin scenes!! Thanks for a wonderful exploration of Dan, D!!

  2. You are very welcome, D4M! Thanks for highlighting another great guy.

  3. He is still so sinfully gorgeous there has to be magic involved, black, voodoo, something! I even watched MTV Sports to see Dan & the occasional guest hottie! I didn't know he did a show with James Wilder though, another hot man imho!

  4. Reks, while I was gathering pics of Dan, I ran across an interview with him in which someone brings up his gay audience and he mentioned his appreciation. Always seemed like a classy guy. And how true--that isn't the body of a 44 year old. He looks no different than when he was 23, when we first met him.

    Thanks for appreciating, xyzpdq. :)

    I agree, tri. He's sacrificed something to someone, drank the blood of the innocents, or crossed into the dark void of compromise to have that youthful appearance. ;)

    One of my best friends and colleagues was also an athlete with Dan at UNC while he was there. He said that Dan was the Big Man on Campus even then, so no one was surprised when he found success as a personality and an actor.