Sam Raimi. Megan Fox. These are but a few of the Hollywood names I have a distant, tenuous, nearly imaginary, and at this point fairly pathetic connection to from my time as a child actor. Here’s another. If you are one of the millions who have been watching the critically acclaimed TV show Empire, you have probably noticed the suave Detective Calvin appear across several episodes.
If you are a more dedicated TV watcher, you might have caught The Divide last year, a crime drama set in Philadelphia starring the same striking individual in the lead role together with other terrific actors like Clarke Peters and Nia Long.
And if you’ve been quietly stalking Damon Gupton’s career for years now from halfway around the world (*cough, cough*), you may remember him as the monk Gyatso in Avatar: the Last Airbender.
But if somehow you haven’t heard of him yet, you really ought to turn on the television Thursday night on NBC and check out The Player, a crime drama set in the Las Vegas casinos, starring Damon Gupton as Detective Cal Brown. I guess there is also some guy named Wesley Snipes in it.
With his prodigious talent, his obvious charisma, his dramatic gravitas, the only real question is why Hollywood took so long to start giving Damon his due. The answer could only be because he’s been putting an equal amount of talent and energy into a career as a classical music conductor – like, symphonies and stuff – leading orchestras all over the country!
I don’t mean to brag, but the fact is I performed onstage alongside Damon, and played music with him too. Sometimes at one and the same time. Below, I perform my rendition of “Toot-toodleoot-toodleoot-toodleoodleoot” on the recorder as Flavius Maximus, manservant to Damon Gupton’s Brutus in a rendition of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar by the University of Detroit Jesuit Harlequins.
All joking aside, nobody who knew him then would be surprised at his success now. There are some people you meet who are clearly destined for great things. All the best, Damon. You’ve got a fan in Malaysia.