francoThe daughter made a trip back to the Midwest (specifically Chicago’s Midway Airport on Delta) last Thursday from New York City where she has been interning in the music industry since January and sat next to one of “People” magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People” of 2003.

She slept all the way and didn’t recognize television’s Daniel Sunjata (Condon), Franco Rivera of “Rescue Me” for the past 5 years and 58+ episodes. When asked about this, later, she said it was because “he was wearing a hat.”

The husband (pictured here with the actor) did recognize the handsome and talented actor and took the opportunity to tell him how much we enjoy the show, adding, “My wife is going to be so pissed that she isn’t here.” (He’s right about that.)

Sunjata was born in Evanston, Illinois on December 30, 1971, and was also nominated for a Tony for Best Actor in Richard Greenberg’s “Take Me Out” on Broadway in 1970. He is six feet one inches tall and attended both Florida A&M, the University of Louisiana, where he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts, and NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, where he was awarded a MFA.

Daniel is African-American, Irish and German and has had some of the best lines on “Rescue Me” over the past 5 years of his appearance in 58 episodes,, both those expressing his strong belief in a conspiracy theory regarding 9/11 and in exchanges discussing ethnicity or a variety of weird topics, like the ones listed below:

“Rescue Me: Bitch (#2.11)” (2005)

Franco Rivera: Oh, sh*t. Sean Garrity readin’ a book. That’s the first sign of the apocalypse.

Franco Rivera: I don’t know if I can believe you or not, Tom. See the Tommy Gavin I used to know was a lyin’, cheatin’, schemin’, brawlin’, skirt-chasin’ son of a bitch. I looked up to him. You always knew where he stood, but this new Tommy, this, uh, fancy coffee-drinkin’, pastry-eatin’, kind, sweet, sincere one, uh-uh, Bro, I don’t trust him as far as I can throw him.

“Rescue Me: Sensitivity (#2.5)” (2005)

Sean Garrity: So you’re over the fat chick?
Mike Silletti: Totally.
Sean Garrity: Yeah? So what’s with the new girl, what’s her name?
Mike Silletti: Allison.
Sean Garrity: Can I tell you something bro, concerning Allison? She’s gigantic.
Mike Silletti: She’s tall.
Sean Garrity: No. Shaq is tall. Ok? Yo Yo Ming is tall.
Franco Rivera: Yao Ming.
Sean Garrity: Yo.
Franco Rivera: Yao.
Sean Garrity: No, I was just-I was just saying hi. Your chick is gigantic.
Franco Rivera: Oh, he’s back with the fat chick?
Sean Garrity: No, he’s dating a vet, now.
Franco Rivera: What war?
Sean Garrity: No. Vet, like cats and dogs.
Franco Rivera: And she’s fat?
Mike Silletti: Tall.
Franco Rivera: Oh, how tall are we talkin?
Mike Silletti: Like, not that tall, like 6’2″ 6’3″ and a half?
Franco Rivera: So what, are you only doing Guiness book chicks now, is that it Probie? Fattest and tallest, I mean, what’s next, a chick with three tits?
Sean Garrity: Oh, that’d be great wouldn’t it? You know I dated a chick with three nipples, one time? Well, I thought it was a nipple, it turned out to be a boil… Long Pause… Anyway, an extra tit would be great.

(On pejorative stereotypes applied to groups.)

Don Kleinman: Ok, we have a hand up. You think you’re prejudiced?.
Tommy Gavin: Yup.
Don Kleinman: Against who?
Tommy Gavin: Well let’s see, uh, Chevy Neons that cost 12 Grand to buy but have $8,000 paint jobs and 9 spics inside them smokin’ weed, that’s one thing.
Don Kleinman: Ok, now listen, the term “spic”…
Franco Rivera: It’s Ok, I’m a spic.
Tommy Gavin: Crazy chink broads who don’t know how to drive in the first place and now they have cell phones stuck to their ears while they’re doing 65 MPH down 6th avenue, huh? Right? And the crazy chinks on bikes with 10 pounds of chinese food strapped to the handlebars…
Don Kleinman: Ok, see, now the word “chink” is what I like to call a problem word.
Sean Garrity: …raises his hand… Yeah, uh, if I were a chink I’d rather be called a chink then a gook.
Don Kleinman: Ok, now hold on. Listen to me please. Chinese people would not like to be called gook or chink or pan face or zipper-head or…
Franco Rivera: See? That’s another thing-Puerto Ricans, we even get shafted when it comes to racism. Chinks get like what, 4 ethnic slurs? We get one-spic, that’s it. The Irish, they got: Mick, Paddy, Donkey. The Italians, they got: Guinea, WOP, Deigo…
Sean Garrity: …raises his hand… Yeah, uh, Sphagetti Bender…
Franco Rivera: Ehhh, Sphagetti Bender went out of style during Sinatra’s first marriage.
Mike Silletti: …raises his hand… Greaseball?
Franco Rivera: Yeah, greaseball. There ya have it. That’s four.
Tommy Gavin: That’s right, you know, same thing with the Jews, right? Heeb, Kike, Jew-Boy, Benny…
Franco Rivera: Shiloch
Tommy Gavin: That’s five.
Franco Rivera: Yeah, black people, forget about it. Spear-Chucker, Jungle Bunny, Raisin Head, Porch Monkey, Spook
Tommy Gavin: Shyne
Sean Garrity: Tar-Baby
Franco Rivera: It’s endless, totally unfair.
Tommy Gavin: Yeah
Don Kleinman: …all turn and look to the front at Don who is looking in complete disbelief…
Franco Rivera: What?

“Rescue Me: Pieces (#3.9)” (2006)

(On having sex with Heather Mills McCartney)

Kenny Lou: I’d hit that.
Tommy Gavin: You would?
Kenny Lou: In a heartbeat. Wait, who are we talking about again?
Tommy Gavin: Heather Mills McCartney, ex-wife of former Beatle Paul.
Franco Rivera: I’d do her.
Tommy Gavin: Really?
Franco Rivera: Oh yeah man.
Tommy Gavin: Even though she’s only got the one leg?
Franco Rivera: Tommy, it’s a bonus man.
Tommy Gavin: How is it a bonus?
Franco Rivera: Well it gives you an extra sexual position to enjoy for one, that being her laying on her side, the side with the leg, you straddle said leg and do her sideways without having to worry about the extra pesky leg getting in the way.
Tommy Gavin: What about the stump?
Franco Rivera: I didn’t think about that. Pass.

Daniel Sunjata, the college-educated actor who plays a Hispanic firefighter on the series created by Denis Leary was gracious and amiable while waiting for the luggage to come out on the carousel. He laughed when my husband mentioned how upset I would be at missing this opportunity to meet and greet the 38-year-old actor, who seemed to be talking to a girlfriend on his cellphone as the plane landed.

Sunjata was generous, gracious and friendly, and obligingly posed for the photo you see here, with another beautiful person, my spouse of decades.