Making his very first TV appearance as a young teen dancer on a Philadelphia dance show called "Dancin' On Air" in th early '80s, the predecessor to the hit national TV show “Dance Party USA.,” Tom Verica studied acting with theater master William Esper and landed his big break when he made his Broadway debut in Craig Lucas' award-winning 1988 play “Prelude to a Kiss.” He has since played roles in the TV shows "L.A. Law" (as Bill Castroverde; 1991), "Central Park West" (as Mark Merrill; 1995-1996), "The Naked Truth" (as Jake Sullivan; 1997-1998), "Providence" (as Kyle Moran; 1999), "Citizen Baines" (as Andy Carlson; 2001), "State of Grace" (as Tommy Austin; 2001-2002), and "The Nine" (as Ed Nielson; 2006-2007).
However, TV viewers probably best remembered him as John J."Jack" Pryor, head of the Catholic household, a tough-but-loving husband, father, and owner of Pryor's TV and Radio Store who later represented his district in the Philadelphia City Council, on NBC serial dramedy "American Dreams" (2002-2005).
Verica has appeared in a number of made-for-television movies and miniseries. He also has guest starred in such TV series as "Quantum Leap," "Home Improvement," "Picket Fences," "South Beach," "Seinfeld," "NYPD Blue," "Matlock," "Frasier," "Crossing Jordan," "Will & Grace," "Touched by an Angel," "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," "House M.D.," and "Boston Legal."
Meanwhile, moviegoers could catch him in the films "Die Hard 2" (1990), "Murder by Numbers" (2002), "Red Dragon" (2002), "Flags of Our Fathers" (2006), and "Zodiac" (2007).
The Italian/German descendant actor, who was labeled Verica as "the sexiest man on television" in 1995 by columnist Liz Smith, is married to producer/actress/writer Kira Arne.
Childhood and Family:
In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Thomas A. Verica was born on May 13, 1964, to real estate agent parents, of Italian descent on his father's side. His mother was one of the original Bandstand dancers. Verica himself would dance on a Philadelphia dance show called "Dancin' On Air" in the early 80's.
Verica is married to producer/actress/writer Kira Arne, who wrote several episodes of NBC crime drama TV series starring Jill Hennessy, "Crossing Jordan" (2001).
State of Grace
At age 21, Tom Verica packed for the Big Apple in hope to have a successful acting career. After sharpening his skills under the supervision of theater master William Esper, he founded a theater company and began to produce, direct, and act in a number of productions.
The aspiring actor, whose very first TV appearance was as a young teen dancer on a Philadelphia dance show called "Dancin' On Air" in th early '80s, the predecessor to the hit national TV show “Dance Party USA.,” landed his first big break when he made his Broadway debut in Craig Lucas' award-winning 1988 play “Prelude to a Kiss.” Verica, who has appeared in the films "Less Than Zero" (1987) and "Die Hard 2" (1990), as well as guest-starred in "Quantum Leap," was subsequently cast as Billy Castroverti (1991) on the classic legal drama “L.A. Law.”
Verica then was spotted as a guest in an episode of ABC Golden Globe Award-winning sitcom starring actor/comedian Tim Allen, "Home Improvement," CBS drama comedy "Picket Fences," NBC action/adventure series "South Beach," serial drama "Moon Over Miami," and NBC sitcom starring Jerry Seinfeld, "Seinfeld."
He also-co-starred with Daphne Zuniga, Barry Bostwick, and Adam Baldwin in the novel-based independent film "Eight Hundred Leagues Down the Amazon" (1993), as well as appeared in the TV movies "Donato and Daughter" (1993; starring Charles Bronson and Dana Delany), "The Babymaker: The Dr. Cecil Jacobson Story" (1994; co-starred with Melissa Gilbert playing a married couple unable to conceive), and "Breach of Conduct" (1994; alongside Peter Coyote and Courtney Thorne-Smith).
From 1995 to 1996, Verica played Mark Merrill on CBS primetime television soap opera "Central Park West" (a.k.a. "CPW"), with Mädchen Amick, Justin Lazard, Ron Leibman, John Barrowman, Lauren Hutton, and Kylie Travis. Meanwhile, he guest-starred in an episode of ABC Emmy-winning police drama "NYPD Blue" and NBC/ABC long-running classic legal drama starring Andy Griffith, "Matlock."
He also appeared in the made-for-television movies "Not Our Son" (1995; starring Neil Patrick Harris) and "The Assassination File" (1996; starring Sherilyn Fenn), as well as in the film "Loose Women" (1996), a romantic drama directed by Paul F. Bernard featuring Sherry Ham-Bernard, Melissa Errico, and Marialisa Costanzo.
After "Central Park West" was cancelled in June 1996, Verica co-starred with Téa Leoni on ABC/NBC sitcom "The Naked Truth," playing Jake Sullivan (1997-1998), and played Kyle Moran (1999) on NBC drama series starring Melina Kanakaredes, "Providence." He also co-starred with Joely Fisher in the comedy series "In the Loop" (1998) and acted opposite Edward Asner and Matt Weinberg in the family/drama/comedy series "Eli's Theory" (1999).
During this time, Verica could be seen in the films "Fathers' Day" (1997), a romantic comedy directed by Ivan Reitman starring Robin Williams and Billy Crystal, "When It Clicks" (1998), a short film by Joanna Cappuccilli starring Bess Armstrong, and "Making Contact" (1999), a small film by Molly Smith.
He also appeared in the TV movies "Lost in the Bermuda Triangle" (1998) and "Love American Style" (1999; segment "Love And The Heimlich Maneuver"), as well as in the miniseries "From the Earth to the Moon" (1998), in which he portrayed astronaut Dick Gordon. Additionally, he was spotted as a guest in an episode of the short-lived anthology series "Gun" and CBS sitcom "Almost Perfect."
In 2001, Verica co-starred with James Cromwell on the short lived CBS drama series "Citizen Baines." He also played the recurring guest role of Tommy Austin, the fiance of Faye Grant's character Tattie McKee, on Fox Network's Fox Family sitcom "State of Grace" (2001-2002).
Meanwhile, he guest-starred in an episode of NBC sitcom starring Kelsey Grammer, "Frasier," NBC crime/drama starring Jill Hennessy, "Crossing Jordan," CBS sitcom "Baby Bob," CBS family drama "Touched by an Angel," and in two episodes of NBC popular Emmy Award-winning sitcom starring Eric McCormack and Debra Messing, "Will & Grace."
He was also cast in the 2002 films "Murder by Numbers," Barbet Schroeder's action/psychological thriller/neo-noir film starring Sandra Bullock that was loosely based on the Leopold and Loeb case, the Columbine High School massacre, and the Dartmouth Murders, and "Red Dragon," Brett Ratner's thriller film based on the novel of the same name written by Thomas Harris that featuring the brilliant psychiatrist and menacing serial killer Dr. Hannibal Lecter (portrayed by Anthony Hopkins).
2002-2005 saw Verica played John J."Jack" Pryor, head of the Catholic household, a tough-but-loving husband, father, and owner of Pryor's TV and Radio Store who later represented his district in the Philadelphia City Council, on NBC serial dramedy "American Dreams." His performance in the show earned him a Young Artist Award nomination in 2004 for Most Popular Mom & Pop in a Television Series (shared with Gail O'Grady).
During his "American Dreams" stint, Verica was spotted in an episode of UPN show starring Jenny McCarthy, "The Bad Girl's Guide," and in multiple episodes of USA Network science fiction drama series "The 4400."
After "American Dreams" ended on March 30, 2005, Verica landed a recurring role as Ed Nielson, the colleague and boyfriend of Kim Raver's assistant district attorney character Kathryn Hale, on the short-lived ABC serial drama "The Nine," which ran from October 4, 2006 to August 8, 2007.
Meanwhile, he guest-starred in an episode of NBC police procedural drama "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," FOX Emmy and Peabody Award-winning medical drama "House M.D.," and ABC Golden Globe, Peabody, and Emmy Award-winning legal drama comedy "Boston Legal."
He was also cast as Lieutenant Pennel in Clint Eastwood's war film based on the book written by James Bradley and Ron Powers, "Flags of Our Fathers" (2006; with Ryan Phillippe, Jesse Bradford, Neal McDonough, Robert Patrick, Paul Walker, and Jamie Bell), and as Jim Dunbar in David Fincher's film adaptation of Robert Graysmith's non-fiction book, "Zodiac" (2007; starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, and Robert Downey Jr.)
Verica most recently appeared in the comedic TV movie "Squeegees" (2008) and will soon be seen in a new TV movie entitled "Princess Protection Program," a family/comedy based on a book by David Morgasen.