Franzese in May 2015
Daniel Franzese (born May 9, 1978) is an American actor, comedian and activist best known for his roles in director Larry Clark's Bully and as Damian in Tina Fey's 2004 feature film Mean Girls. Franzese is the creator of several live comedy shows including the 2011 rock opera Jersey Shoresical: A Frickin' Rock Opera! and his one-man stand-up performance I've Never Really Made the Kind of Money to Become a Mess in 2013.
After coming out as gay in 2014, Franzese became more active in the fight for civil and human rights in the LGBTQ community; and through his portrayal of the HIV-positive character Eddie in the second season of the HBO series Looking, and its subsequent series finale television film, Looking: The Movie, he has become a well known AIDS activist in the United States. In 2015 he became an ambassador for the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation.
Franzese was born in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York, the son of Denise, a lunch lady, and Ralph "R. J." Franzese, a lounge singer. Franzese attended Piper High School in Sunrise, Florida from 1992 to 1996. His mother was a lunch lady at the school.
Daniel Franzese has appeared in numerous feature films including Bully, Party Monster, Mean Girls, Bristol Boys and War of the Worlds. He has also guest starred on several television series including The Comeback, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Burn Notice, Party Down, and the web series, Foodies. He also had a main role in the 2010 film I Spit on Your Grave.
In 2015 he was cast as Eddie in the HBO series Looking; and in 2016 he landed the role of Vern Testaverde in the ABC Family's Recovery Road. In 2016 and early 2017, he portrayed Jackson Morrison in ABC's legal drama Conviction.
Franzese has written, directed and performed several live comedy productions, including his one-man Off-Broadway show, I’ve Never Really Made the Kind of Money to Become a Mess, which premiered in New York in 2013 at The Players Theater, and his 2011 rock opera JERSEY SHORESICAL: A FRICKIN ROCK OPERA! which also premiered in New York at The Fringe Festival before its run in Los Angeles at the Hayworth Theatre. Franzese is also an emerging stand-up comedian, and has performed on stages across America at clubs like Stand Up Live in Phoenix and the Comedy Store in Hollywood.
Franzese's stand up comedy tour, YASS You're Amazing!, is playing colleges, clubs and theaters around the world. He has also headlined The Burbank Comedy Festival, The Ruby LA Queer Comedy Festival. In 2019, Franzese performed his hit New York comedy show Danny Franzese and The House Of Glen Coco at SF Sketchfest featuring his pick of the best and brightest in queer comedy.
On October 12, 2007, Franzese curated his first art show called Halloween, a multi-artist show which examined celebrity, vanity, money and the day we get to dress up and ask strangers for goodies.
On April 25, 2008, at the World of Wonder Storefront Gallery in Los Angeles, California, Franzese curated an art show called depARTed. The show featured art inspired by stars that died before their time. All art was inspired by famous personalities from Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland, James Dean and Anna Nicole Smith to notable figures like Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr., to artists like Keith Haring and Isabella Blow. Artists included Ron English, Keyth Ryden (also known as KRK Ryden), and Jessicka.
Franzese's show, Crusaders and Haters, at Royal/T gallery showcased an assortment of work from artists from all over the world, depicting superheroes and villains in pop culture. The show opened July 17, 2009.
After penning a coming out letter to his Mean Girls character Damian in 2014, in which the actor spoke of his admiration for the courage Damian displayed as an outwardly gay teenager and referring to him as an icon for gay youth, Franzese became an influential voice in the LGBTQ community. When he became an official ambassador for the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation, organizations like GLAAD invited Franzese to host their 2015 gala in San Francisco. He also presented the GLAAD playbook on HIV and AIDS to MSNBC on behalf of the organization. His reputation as an activist grew after he was awarded the role of Eddie in the HBO series Looking, an HIV-positive activist for a non-profit organization and during his time portraying Eddie, Franzese used his celebrity to promote messages of acceptance and understanding for people suffering from AIDS at special events, through media appearances, and a speeches at college campuses, including The University of Wisconsin in April 2016.
In September 2019, Franzese was an ambassador and the host for the AIDS Walk Atlanta & 5K Run, a fundraising and awareness campaign that raises funds to help prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and to provide critical social services and healthcare for people living with HIV. He was also the captain of his team for the event: Team Glen Coco.
In 2016, Franzese proposed to his boyfriend of two years, stylist Joseph Bradley Phillips, at a Starbucks in North Hollywood, California. Their engagement was called off in July 2018.
|2002||Blood Feast 2: All U Can Eat||Altar Boy|
|2003||Party Monster||The Rat / Dallas MC|
|2003||Queens Supreme||David||Episode: "Pilot"|
|2005||War of the Worlds||National Guardsman|
|2005||The Comeback||Mr. Hollywood||Episode: "Valerie Relaxes in Palm Springs"|
|2005||Cruel World||Claude Markham|
|2006||CSI: Crime Scene Investigation||Dean Harden||Episode: "Fannysmackin'"|
|2006||The Iron Man||Valeah|
|2008||Bar Starz||Big Mikey|
|2009||The Missing Person||Agent Craig|
|2009||On the Inside||Paul Warren|
|2010||Party Down||Ziggy Chorofsky||Episode: "Cole Landry's Draft Day Party"|
|2010||I Spit on Your Grave||Stanley|
|2010||Burn Notice||Dougie||Episode: Noble Causes|
|2012||Electric City||Unknown character|
|2015||Looking||Eddie||Series regular (season 2), 8 episodes|
|2016||Recovery Road||Vern Testaverde||10 episodes|
|2016||Looking: The Movie||Eddie||TV film|
|2016-2017||Conviction||Jackson Morrison||7 episodes|
|2018||The Con Is On|
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