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Michael Chiklis: Hollywood Survivor

After a controversial film and five Years as TV's "Commish," Michael Chiklis's next challenge Is Convincing Producers He's younger than his roles
Susan Karlin
From the Print Edition:
Vince McMahon, Nov/Dec 99

(continued from page 4)

Already, Chiklis is spotting trouble: Autumn's a chip off the old block. Like the time she begged to take a Broadway curtain call with him. "Most children, when you introduce them to new people, they grab their father's knee and hide behind his leg," he says. "My kid grabs my hand and with a flourish opens her arms and curtsies deeply. Then she lets go of my hand and gives it up to me. And the audience lost it, they were going crazy. I thought, 'Oh my God, it's a genetic disorder. She can't even help herself.'"  

Chiklis is now in deeper "trouble." Last March, their second daughter, Odessa Rose, was born.  

He stops suddenly and makes a face. "Oh, I don't want to talk about this anymore," he says. "Every time someone talks about their great married life and their great children, next thing you know they're getting divorced and their children are tattooing their foreheads.  

"Maybe being married to a Jewish girl, I've become superstitious," he adds. "Michelle's parents have every superstition in the world. You lost something? Turn over a glass. Pin a red ribbon under the mattress. Don't pass a knife to a friend, it'll cut the relationship. You adopt [the superstitions] just in case."  

Superstitions aside, it turns out that Michelle is the ultimate cigar smoker's wife--not because she smokes herself (she once tried Romeo y Julietas because the name sounded romantic), but because she lets Michael and his buddies smoke in the house.  

"I'm embarrassed to say this, but my house is really kind of crazy," says Michelle. "The only two rules are no smoking near the kids or finger-painting in daddy's office. [Autumn's] friends love to come over. I have slipcovers on the furniture that come off and wash easily, so I let them paint on them. Michael's friends love it, because I let them smoke in the house.

They're like, 'Wow, Chiky, your wife lets you smoke. You've got it made.'

"To me, when I come home and smell the smoke and hear the guys playing poker, it's life and celebration," she adds. "When Chiky's out of town, I can hear the ticking of the clock, and it's awful."  

At the moment, Chiklis has pokers in several fires. Proficient in guitar, bass and drums, he is working on a demo CD of raspy blues to shop to record labels; and he and Michelle hope to produce and direct films through his production company, Extravaganza. He spent the fall of 1998 and the ensuing winter on location in Amsterdam playing the bad guy in the independent film Do Not Disturb, co-starring Denis Leary, Jennifer Tilley and William Hurt. It was made by the Dutch filmmakers who won the 1998 Best Foreign Film Award for Character.

Do Not Disturb will premiere in the Netherlands in November and will reach U.S. theaters in December. Chiklis recently shot a CBS pilot called "St. Michael's Crossing," about cops and firefighters in L.A., but its future as a series is uncertain. Before that, he had navigated the TV pilot season as a free agent for the first time since "The Commish," with no development deal limiting him to one network or studio. "I decided to be available to all the networks as a gun for hire," he says.  

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