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Tracing Actor's Success

Emmy award winning actor Anthony LaPaglia returns to television in the new CBS series "Without a Trace."

LaPaglia heads an ensemble cast in the drama about an FBI missing persons unit that specializes in investigating the mysterious disappearances of victims in New York City.

The new series is produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, the man behind such successful shows "CSI" and "CSI: Miami," so there are high expectations for "Without a Trace."

LaPaglia explains that all three shows are procedural dramas that deal with forensic evidence.

"Our show deals with the psychological profile of the person that's gone missing," he says. "So it's not so much about hard evidence, strands of hair, bullets. We tried to put together the last few hours of that person's life before they disappeared or the last week of their life before they disappeared.

"And so we tend to delve into their financial situation, their marital status, their relationships, were they cheating? We look at all the possible motives of why they would disappear, and try to determine whether it was fair or foul. And then we make a decision whether to go after the person or not based on that."

LaPaglia plays senior agent Jack Malone, heading a team of FBI agents that knows too well that every second counts when someone vanishes.

The versatile actor, who has done everything from Broadway to sitcoms and movies to episodic television, says he subscribes to the English school of acting. "It's very common for English actors to go from the national theater to television to film, and then back again," he says. "As long as the writing is good, I'm happy."

LaPaglia said he finds episodic TV to be the most difficult medium.

"It's difficult because, television by the nature of what it is, which is it's very fast. You don't really have a lot of time. It's not really an actor's medium, per se. It's more of a writer/producer medium. Therefore you often can walk away from work feeling like you haven't done the best that you can do, because basically you're trying to shoot a half a feature film in eight days. And when they shoot a feature film they often take five months," LaPaglia explains.

The actor will also be seen on the silver screen when his upcoming movie, "The Bank," opens in the U.S. on Friday, Oct. 25.

You can catch "Without a Trace" on Thursday nights at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.

Facts About Anthony LaPaglia

  • Anthony M. LaPaglia was born Jan. 31, 1959, in Adelaide, Australia
  • Inspired to become an actor by a community theater performance of William Congreve's "Way of the World" in his native Australia; later worked in community theater in Australia
  • In 1982, LaPaglia moved to America and settled in NYC
  • Also in 1982, he made his big break in the Off-Broadway play "Bouncers", a play in which he demonstrated his versatility and talent for accents while rendering eight different characters
  • LaPaglia made a TV appearance as a second mechanic on "The Mission" episode of NBC's "Amazing Stories" in 1985
  • In 1988, LaPaglia made his TV-movie debut in title role of "Frank Nitti: The Enforcer"
  • LaPaglia's film debut, "Slaves of New York," premiered in 1989
  • He received a Tony for Actor in a Play for "A View From the Bridge" in 1998
  • LaPaglia's past jobs were production assistant, waiter, elementary school teacher, professional soccer player, furniture restorer, shoe salesperson and sprinkler installer
  • Anthony LaPaglia's younger brother, Jonathan LaPaglia, is a doctor and actor and was a regular on Fox series "New York Undercover" for the 1996-1997 season
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