Hot in Hollywood: A benefit for AIDS charities

When Michael Medico participted in the Landmark Self-Expression and Leadership Program he created a fundraiser for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. The Project is now in it’s second year and on August 18th, it will be having its second annual benefit show at the Henry Fonda Music Box Theater in Los Angeles.

 

Hot In Hollywood

August 18, 2007
Doors open 8:00 pm
Henry Fonda Music Box Theater
6126 Hollywood Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90028

Altruistic actor gives back
Mike Medico, heeding advice to help his community, created the Hot in Hollywood AIDS benefit.

By DENISE MORRISON YEARIAN,

As a young actor growing up in New Castle County, Michael Medico always aimed high, dreamed big and stretched the limits. At 35, he is making headway in Hollywood. But what really catapulted his career was an act of selfless giving.

Medico attributes his roots in performance to Deborah DeHart, music and theatrical teacher at St. Edmond’s Academy and owner of Shoestring Productions.

“She gave me a lot of opportunities to perform while I was attending St. Edmond’s. But she also challenged me to take it out into the community — to Candlelight Dinner Theatre, Delaware Children’s Theatre and Shoestring Productions,” says Medico. “Even when I was in high school, she was there creating opportunities and spurring me on.”

During his junior year at Salesianum School, Medico had an encounter that confirmed his decision to make a career of performance.

“I was talking with a girl who said she had done two plays that year and was burned out,” he says. “I didn’t understand it. Here I was doing three shows — my high school production and two small parts in the community– and I couldn’t get enough! That’s when I realized something was different, that I must really love this more than other people.”

But before Medico could begin looking for a school, he had one hard sell. His parents.

“I’ll admit, I had a lot of reservations about Michael going to college for acting,” says his mother, Dorothy. “I’ve always been more practical and wanted my kids to have a steady job — a teacher or engineer. But that’s what he really wanted to do, so I was OK with it.”

Medico was accepted into Boston University’s acting program and graduated in 1994. For the next six years, he took a number of theatrical assignments from San Diego to New York. But pay was minimal and in time, he grew restless.

“What I really wanted was to move to Hollywood and get into TV and film. The problem was I didn’t have the right résumé,” he says.

Shortly thereafter, Medico landed on three TV shows in New York — a recurring role on “Guiding Light” and two small parts in “Law & Order: SVU” and “Sex in the City.” With his now-expanding résumé, he headed for Hollywood in 2000.

“For the first nine months I did nothing,” he says. “I couldn’t even find a 9-to-5 job. Then I found out a previous agent from San Diego had an agency and he took me on for commercials.” Medico eventually contracted with other agents and his career in television and film began to unfold. In 2006, he appeared on “House” and “The New Adventures of Old Christine.”

While this was happening, Medico enrolled in a leadership course through Landmark Education. With this program, participants are expected to create one project to give back to the community. Medico, whose best friend had tested positive for HIV, decided to do an AIDS fundraiser with proceeds benefiting the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

“My original thought was to rent a 99-seat theater and have some friends sing and act,” he says. “I thought, ‘I’ll aim big and try to raise $5,000.'” The August 2006 benefit, called Hot in Hollywood had 500 in attendance and generated $75,000. But what Medico found most surprising was how the event stoked his career.

“It changed my life in a way I never dreamed possible and ended up taking on its own existence outside of the leadership program,” he says. “I would go to auditions and see directors who knew what I had done without me knowing them. One even said he had gone to the event. And C. Jay Cox — one of the original writer/ producers who offered to help with the event — asked me to be an associate producer on his film ‘Kiss the Bride.’ ”

Medico is preparing another Hot in Hollywood event on Aug. 18. “We’re expecting to raise $500,000.” Funding will go to the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and Alegria, a Salvation Army-funded L.A. facility for homeless HIV/AIDS victims and their families.

Today his acting career is brighter than ever, having completed work on two major commercials, the “Kiss the Bride” film and print ads for billboards and magazines. In addition, the Hot in Hollywood committee has taken a new direction and is in the process of becoming its own not-for-profit organization with Medico at the helm.

“In one year’s time I have a life I never dreamed of,” he says. “When I first started this fundraiser I thought, ‘This is going to swallow my life and end my career.’ But it’s created opportunities I never thought it could.”

Although it has been a number of years since DeHart mentored Medico, they still keep in touch and she’s confident about his future.

“Michael has the kind of tenacity and character that has made him what he is today and will continue to mold his future in both performing and serving,” she says. “He’s been working at this since he was 10. But in a way, I think he’s just begun.”

FYI: Michael Medico

Michael Medico graduated from Salesianum School in 1990 and earned a BSA in acting from Boston University in 1994. Before relocating in Los Angeles, he worked with a number of theater groups across the country including the Arden Theatre in Philadelphia, the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, the Shakespeare Theatre in Washington and off-Broadway productions in New York. Television and film highlights include appearances in “Guiding Light”; “Law & Order: SVU”; “Sex in the City”; “Roswell”; “Frasier”; “Young and Restless”; “Angel”; “Will & Grace”; “The Practice”; “Good Morning, Miami”; “House”;

“The New Adventures of Old Christine”; a 2001 Superbowl commercial for Volkswagen and more than 50 television and print ads. He has also associate-produced the upcoming film “Kiss the Bride.”

And his family

Michael is the youngest of six children born to John and Dorothy Medico of Hyde Park. Joining him this summer for Hot in Hollywood are his parents, his sister-in-law Michelle and her daughter Lauren, his sister Annette Medico and his nieces Brandi Ryan and Patrice Beattie.

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