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Sitting Down with Actor Daniel Roebuck

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Daniel Roebuck explains his connection to Bethlehem.

Daniel Roebuck explains his connection to Bethlehem.

Emma Miller

Emma Miller

Daniel Roebuck explains his connection to Bethlehem.

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Daniel Roebuck is an actor, producer, director, and Bethlehem native who has been involved in the film and television industry for over thirty years. He came to Moravian College’s Foy Hall on Oct. 30 and had a discussion with the audience about his long career in Hollywood, his experiences as an actor and director, and his life outside of work. However, we were curious about his feelings about Bethlehem, so we asked him.

What makes you come back to Bethlehem?

My joke used to be that Bethlehem was the perfect place to leave because it is the best place to come home to. I love the town, I love the seasons, but I really just love the people because we could just be a town with lots of old buildings, but the people here make the difference.

Do you have a lot of family here?

Yeah, my brother Ricky is here, my dad is here. My mom lives outside of Washington, DC. My aunt is here. I have a lot of family ties here, people I still have to see.

So what is it like when you come back here? Is it really different from when you were growing up?

Everyone is nostalgic. We all miss the Boyd. We look at the Boyd and it just mocks us with its existence. It invites us but we can’t go in it. If we did it would probably still smell like popcorn.

We have this pride here, this co-ownership of our town and its history. I think the same is true in Easton and in Allentown, but there is something unique about Bethlehem. We have these 17, 16, 70 buildings [in the historic district]. If you think history is not important, then think none of us would be here if these people didn’t build the spring down there and make the mead or whatever they did. They made the community that we are still profiting from how many years later.

I’m from Chelsea Avenue, so I grew up around the corner from [Moravian’s north] campus. The mother of my children, her family was Moravian, so we got married in the church here.

How did you get started in your career in Hollywood?

I literally knew if I wanted to be on TV. I couldn’t do it here, so I left. I was married to a woman who was actually from here because when I was your age  — I want you to think about this — I was your age when I decided to leave. I was 20 when I went to California, to leave everyone I knew, everything I knew. There was this girl who I had been dating for a few years, and I said I am going to California. She said not without me. Thank God we got married and went there. Her life was meant to be there and my life was meant to be there. I started auditioning. Because I took [acting] seriously and I didn’t deviate from the plan, I was rewarded.

Maybe I was given the opportunity [to go to Hollywood] because I’m the one who will talk about acting; I would demystify the process. I would tell people it’s not that hard. Anything you want to do in life, you just have to start with a moral compass and make ethical decisions and things will fall into place. Whether it’s exactly what you want, it may not fall into place, but it won’t really matter if it doesn’t. You will still be happy.

You went to Beca [Bethlehem Catholic High School]?

Yes, I went to Beca and graduated in ‘81. I didn’t go to college because only one of my siblings could go to college, and someone decided it wasn’t me or my brothers. So my sister got to go to college.

Did not going to college bother you?

No, no. I knew what I was going to do. If I have any regret, it’s that I wish that I could have served in the military in some capacity. I could have served my country. But the way things worked out was perfect, and so now my service is what my service is.

What is one piece of advice you give to all college students? Actor or not?

My advice to you is not just be a person but to be part of a community. We spend so too much time saying, “What about me? Me? Me?” But God did not create us to be us. He created us to be in a community and to have a community experience.

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