From 1965 to 1974, I served the best possible apprenticeship for an actor. I learned firsthand how a truck driver lives, what a bartender does, how a salesman thinks. I had to make a life inside those jobs, not just pretend.
My grandfather was a really, really tough no-nonsense factory worker who emigrated from Ireland in about 1900 to Bridgeport, Conn. He had a big effect on me. Those guys who took a great leap out into what they knew not were the ones who were the real stars, the real heroes.