Sitting atop Toronto’s luxurious Four Seasons Hotel to promote his new series ENDGAME, actor Patrick Gallagher sure has come a long way from his childhood roots that saw him growing up in the small Canadian town of Chilliwack British Columbia. Just don’t tell him that.
“My father taught Shakespeare and Chaucer in a Community Theater in Chilliwack and there really was nobody like me,” explained Gallagher. “Living in this sort of bubble, you really got this chance to kind of develop your own eccentricities and unique way of thinking which really was a catalyst for doing something different.”
Unfortunately for Gallagher, when you come from a family of Ph.D and Master’s degrees (“I’m half Chinese and there is huge emphasis on education”), doing something different wasn’t exactly in the cards. At least not at first.
“I went to Douglas College just to get my parents off my ass but I failed out,” admitted the actor. “I like learning, but doing the work was not my forté, so I left to go to the National Theatre School and decided that it was going to be a career.”
And quite a career it has turned out to be. Since graduating in 1993, Gallagher has made a name for himself on both sides of the border, parlaying smaller Canadian roles in the popular DA VINCI’s franchise (Both INQUEST and CITY HALL incarnations) into notable film and television roles in the likes of Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, Night at the Museum, TRUE BLOOD and a little show called GLEE.
“I’m really thankful to have done GLEE because a show like that can change an actor’s career,” said Gallagher, who fans may remember fondly as McKinley High’s first football coach who fought for the attention of guidance counsellor Emma Pillsbury. “It made it easier to get auditions and it raised my profile, but the thing I like most about it — aside from great exposure — was that it also a character that I don’t think people necessarily think of me playing. Which are the ones that are actually easier for me and more of my ethos. Not the tough guy,, the sensitive guy like my character in MEN OF A CERTAIN AGE, those are the roles I like doing.”
Particularly when they end in time to free him up to do larger more substantial roles, like the one that kicks off tonight in ENDGAME (10PM on Showcase in Canada) that sees him playing Hugo Lum, the head of hotel security tasked with keeping taps on their most troublesome albeit brilliant guest Arkady Balagan (played by BIG LOVE and 24 alum Shawn Doyle)
So just what advice does the 42-year-old have for fellow Canadians itching to make it big in Hollywood?
“I’ve done very well because I am Canadian and I started my career here. People always want to run to Los Angeles, but they shouldn’t discount what an advantage it is to be able to work on the volume of work up here. ” said Gallagher. “We’ve got great training facilities, great schools, and you can learn how to be on a set and be an actor without a lot of the pressure. I don’t know how the hell people do it in Los Angeles. I know brilliant actors who can’t even get an agent down there. Everybody wants to run but we’ve got something really good here, huge amounts of work.”
ENDGAME premieres Monday March 14th at 10PM on Showcase in Canada