Tony Danza Takes Lots of Ego Bruising, but Keeps Going, on ‘Teach’

Tony Danza AE photo

Whatever else, Tony Danza certainly deserves credit for allowing the good, the bad and the unflattering to show on his Friday (10/1)-debuting A&E reality series, “Teach.”  The former “Taxi” and “Who’s the Boss” star had the cameras with him for his full semester of teaching English at an urban Philadelphia high school – and it wasn’t pretty.  Viewers will see 10th graders complaining that he talks too much, asking impertinent questions, worrying that he’s incompetent, and saying they didn’t have a clue who he was.  They will see Tony crying.

How did he deal with this ego bruising?  “I never thought about anything except trying to be a good teacher,” he tells us.  “I very rarely even considered the show.  I don’t mean to denigrate it, dismiss it or discount it.  I thought the show would only be good if I was good teacher or a real car wreck.

“By the way, I felt a tremendous responsibility to these kids, to the other teachers, and to the school.  It was overwhelming.  Hence the crying.  I became the crybaby of all time,” he goes on.  “The kids call me crybaby.  You start to care so much, it breaks your heart every minute.”

He’s learned, “When you’re a performer, you think of yourself all the time – how’s my hair, my body, my face?  When you become a teacher, you have no time to think about yourself.”

As Tony explains on the show, he hopes to shine a light on the demands and difficulties facing teachers in these days of electronics-toting teens.  He earned a teaching degree before becoming a TV star and, at 59, wanted to do something meaningful.

Divorced in 2007, the father of four children (the eldest born in 1971, the youngest in ’93) says his family “was a little bit, like, befuddled” by his plan.  “But they know me.  I’ve always admired teachers.  Even on ‘Who’s the Boss’ — Tony Micelli became a teacher at the end.”

This week, Tony will be doing promo chores in New York and Philadelphia, and says “I just might pop down to the school and say ‘Hi’ to everybody.  I’m missing it very badly right now.”  He’s also missing acting.  “I’m shopping agents,” he reveals.  As for the future of “Teach,” there are seven installments ready to air, and more in the can, according to Tony.  “The hope is that the show goes well and we get to go all the way through commencement.”

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This entry was posted in The Hollywood Exclusive by Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith and tagged , on by .

About Stacy Jenel Smith

I grew up in the San Fernando Valley when it was a kids' Shangri La in the 60s and we had Fabulous Eddie's miniature golf and trampolines on Ventura Boulevard. My big brother frequented The Third Eye psychedelic shop back in the day, but he wound up turning out anyway. Dad was an NBC video man who worked on "Laugh-In," Dean Martin's show, and specials by everyone from Sinatra to Fred Astaire. Mom was a first class home maker and PTA and GCA volunteer. They're still doing great. Anxious to get going in life, I quit college and jumped into journalism when I was still a teenager, and was writing for the New York Times syndicate and People magazine before turning 20. But that was a long time, many adventures, lots of traveling around the world and thousands of interviews ago. I go back to the very last days of hot type and getting to talk to Henry Fonda and Bette Davis, and Sammy Davis at the old Brown Derby...What a ride. That's in no small part thanks to my amazing writing partner, Marilyn Beck, one of the grand old-school Hollywood columnist stars -- a true star -- who knows how to do it right. I'm lucky, for sure. Now is fun, too. I love going out to events with my 17-year-old daughter (Jonas Brothers!). Seeing everything fresh through her eyes renews my excitement about the game. In-between I went back and finished school -- University of Redlands -- married, divorced, and at long last found my true love. My favorite things outside of the show business realm are being with my family, my faith and spiritual growth, learning new things (from doing Qigong to uploading stuff on Facebook), and running. See you on the trail.

2 thoughts on “Tony Danza Takes Lots of Ego Bruising, but Keeps Going, on ‘Teach’

  1. Pingback: Tony Danza on the debut of his new reality series "Teach" |

  2. Pingback: Tony Danza on the debut of his new reality series “Teach” – Star NEWS Blog

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