Denis Leary currently stars on FX's hit show "Rescue Me." "Rescue Me" was created by Denis, who also serves as executive producer, writer and star of the series.
He plays the lead role of Tommy Gavin, a veteran member of the FDNY and senior firefighter of the crew on 62 Truck located in uptown Manhattan. Leary has appeared in over twenty-five motion pictures including such critically acclaimed fare as "The Ref," "Wag The Dog, "A Bug's Life," "The Thomas Crown Affair," "Jesus's Son," "Monument Ave., ""True Crime" and the Oscar-nominated "Ice Age."
Along the way, he has been privileged to work opposite many of his acting heroes: people like Robert DeNiro, Dustin Hoffman, Clint Eastwood, Gena Rowlands, Christopher Walken and Woody Allen - just to name a few.
His most recent feature was the critically praised indie The Secret Lives Of Dentists, which was directed by Alan Rudolph and co-starred Campbell Scott and Hope Davis. Davis and Leary also starred opposite each other in IFC's acclaimed project Final, directed by Campbell Scott.
In 1994, Leary founded his own production company, Apostle. It has produced many of the aforementioned films, as well as Ted Demme's final film "Blow" and the award-winning ABC sitcom "The Job, "which was co-written by Denis and close friend Peter Tolan ("The Larry Sanders Show," "Analyze This" and "Bedazzled") and still runs Apostle also produced each of Leary's hit one-man shows and their subsequent presentations on Showtime and HBO ? "No Cure For Cancer "and "Lock 'N Load." "No Cure For Cancer"'s theme song "Asshole" became an international hit on radio and MTV and led to gold and platinum records.
"Lock 'N Load" included the song "Life's Gonna Suck (When You Grow Up)," ostensibly a Raffi-esque children's tune, which became a college radio hit.
Apostle also produced the critical and cult hit "Contest Searchlight" series for Comedy Central last year, a completely improvised fake reality show send up of HBO's "Project Greenlight" series. "Contest Searchlight" involved over forty actors working with no script and led to much discussion - in the press, on the internet and privately - about whether it was really happening or not.
In the wake of the tragic Worcester Cold Storage Warehouse Fire in December of 1999, which killed six firefighters including his cousin Jerry Lucey and childhood buddy Lt. Tommy Spencer, Denis formed The Leary Firefighters Foundation.
After taking care of the six families in Worcester and that particular fire department's immediate financial worries, the foundation became the second-quickest charity to get its money into the hands of the FDNY's victimized families after September 11, 2001.
Since then the foundation has built a fully-outfitted burn tower for the Worcester Fire Department, a training facility that allows firefighters to re-create actual fire situations in apartment complexes, including real smoke and real fire. That facility is now being used by fire departments from all over New England.
The foundation has also supplied the Worcester department with fire boats, breathing-tank replenishment trucks and many other vital pieces of equipment.
The Leary Firefighters Foundation's public presence is built on two distinct events. Every September, based on an idea belonging to hockey legend and foundation board member Bobby Orr, Leary and many of his hockey-playing celebrity friends (Tim Robbins, Keifer Sutherland, Rick Moranis, Scott Wolf to name a few) face-off against the Boston Bruins Legends in "The Celebrity Hat Trick," Elizabeth Hurley, Sean Penn, Steven Tyler, and former FDNY member Steve Buscemi are among the non-skating friends who have made this event such a resounding success for the last three years.
The other event is the annual Bash For New York's Bravest. Past co-hosts have included Leary, Robert DeNiro and Harrison Ford.
For the last nine years Leary and Apostle have produced the annual Comics Come Home gala in Boston for Comedy Central. It has now become the longest running stand-up comedy benefit in United States history. Over the years the show has included the talents of Jay Leno, Steven Wright, Conan O'Brien, Jon Stewart, Lenny Clarke, Rosie O'Donnell, Janeane Garafalo, Robert Schimmel, Woody Harrelson, Colin Quinn, Anthony Clarke, Michael J. Fox and many, many others.
In January of 2003, the triumvirate Denis Leary, Michael J. Fox and former Boston Bruins great Cam Neely hosted the inaugural "Betting On A Cause And A Cure," in Cambridge, Mass. The joint event put on by the three best friends benefited The Leary Firefighters Foundation; The Michael J. Fox Foundation, which helps seek a cure for Parkinson's Disease; and The Neely Foundation, which funds The Neely House providing housing for cancer patients, and their families, undergoing treatment at Tufts Medical Center. The event raised over $2 million, which culminated with Boston's original bad boys Aerosmith performing an intimate live set in front of 250 guests at midnight. The crowd went insane when Michael J. Fox was called onstage to play lead guitar on his Back to the Future anthem "Johnny B. Good." Needless to say, "Betting On A Cause And A Cure" has now become an annual event.
Leary has also written many comic essays over the years for publications as disparate as New York Magazine, Esquire, Playboy, GQ, the New York Post, Men's Journal, The London Times, Details, Context, Film Quarterly, Penthouse, The Improper Bostonian, and The Hockey News.
He won the CableAce Best Director Award in 1996 for his Showtime film, "Thy Neighbor's Wife," a comedy about male sexual fantasies. Exactly three months later, the Cable Ace Awards were permanently abolished. Leary believes there was a direct link between both events.
Leary hates the New York Yankees. That's because he may well be the biggest Boston Red Sox fan of all time. He also hates the Montreal Canadiens because he is, most definitely, the biggest Boston Bruins fan ever placed on this planet.
Leary is, of course, a Massachusetts native. He was born in Worcester and then lived in Boston for almost twenty years, graduating from and briefly teaching at that city's Emerson College.
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