Stark Sands, who plays Kenny McLaren on CBS' "NYC 22," was about 13 and traveling with his parents on a school break when he helped an older woman with her computer.
It was Anne Bancroft. "All of a sudden, Mel Brooks (the late Bancroft's husband) walked in and says, 'How ya doing, kid? Happy New Year!' " Sands says as he beams at the memory.
That was also about the same time Sands realized he wanted to be an actor.
"I did plays in elementary school," he tells Zap2it, "the same stuff everybody did. In middle school I found out not only did I like it, but I was good at it. I did the musicals and became the guy who would get the lead in the show every year."
His parents took the family from Dallas on exotic vacations, and after college in California, Sands stayed in Los Angeles, working on his career. He decided to try New York, wound up on Broadway in "Journey's End" and was nominated for a Tony Award.
"One of my dreams down the road would be to be on the West End," he says. "I would love to do a movie musical. My goal was to be a working actor. One of my dreams was to do a Shakespeare film."
Another goal, which he reached, was to be in a war movie and fire a weapon. He was in "Flags of Our Fathers," which Clint Eastwood directed.
Sands takes direction quite well, having just left a stoop where the scene required him to cry. Even after the director called "Cut!" he was still crying. As he walks down an Upper West Side block to a trailer, Sands says, "As a person, I am very stoic, so when asked to cry for work, it's a treat."
Origins of his name: "Stark is my mom's maiden name," Sands says. "I came out blond, and they named my twin Jacob. I think I got Stark because I was blond."
Education: Bachelor of fine arts from the University of Southern California
Theater: On Broadway, "American Idiot" and "Journey's End" (for which he was Tony-nominated); "Twelfth Night" and "Tempest" at the Public Theater, Central Park's Shakespeare in the Park
Relationship: Married July 2011, and they played 1980s music at their party. "She's English and lovely and brilliant," Sands says of his wife.
Favorite books: "I am a big Stephen King fan, I have to admit. And 'The Gunslinger.' That series is so smoking good. My mom has pictures of us in amazing places with my nose in a book."
Favorite music: "My all-time favorite is Death Cab For Cutie. I find bands when they have not blown up and you have a personal connection. Jimmy Eat World, Jeff Buckley."
Photo/Video credit: NewsCom