Daniel J Travanti's Life after 'Hill Street Blues', Including His Battle with Alcoholism

Daniel J. Travanti, best known as police captain Frank Furillo on the TV show "Hill Street Blues," has kept himself busy in the entertainment industry even after the show ended.

Born in March 1940, Daniel is a multi-awarded actor whose career began in the 60s when he took a minor role in "Route 66." He also worked on important projects such as "Patty Duke," "The Nurses," and "Flipper."

"I turned to the audience, said, 'Sorry, folks,' walked off—and burst into tears."

Daniel J. Travanti as Capt. Frank Furillo in the 80s | Photo: Getty Images/Global Images Ukraine

Daniel J. Travanti as Capt. Frank Furillo in the 80s | Photo: Getty Images/Global Images Ukraine

DANIEL J. TRAVANTI'S TIME IN "HILL STREET BLUES"

As years went by, he kept landing acting gigs in TV series and films but nothing life-changing. His career skyrocketed in 1981, however, when he landed the part of captain Frank Furillo in "Hill Street Blues."

The show, which aired between January 1981 and May 1987, circled around the lives of the workers at a police station located in the fictional Hill Street in a city that was never named.

"Hill Street Blues" was so acclaimed that it won the Emmy Award for best drama series four times. Even now, it is tied only with "Mad Men," "LA Law," "Game of Thrones," and "The West Wing" as the most winners in that category. 

For his incredible performance, Daniel took home a Golden Globe and two Primetime Emmys for best actor in a Drama Series.

Daniel J. Travanti as Capt. Frank Furillo in the 80s | Photo: Getty Images/Global Images Ukraine

Daniel J. Travanti as Capt. Frank Furillo in the 80s | Photo: Getty Images/Global Images Ukraine

DANIEL'S CAREER AFTER THE SHOW

When the show came to its end in 1987, the actor kept himself busy landing more parts in different projects such as "Missing Persons," "Poltergeist: The Legacy," and "Boss."

Nowadays, the actor is 79 years old, and he has not slowed down! In 2016, he started making occasional appearances on "NCIS: Los Angeles," the 2019 episode "No More Secrets" being the last one so far.

Daniel J. Travanti on "NCIS: Los Angeles" in 2018 | Photo: Getty Images/Global Images Ukraine

Daniel J. Travanti on "NCIS: Los Angeles" in 2018 | Photo: Getty Images/Global Images Ukraine

Even though his career has been quite successful, Daniel J. Travanti's life was not a walk in the park, especially during the time he was addicted to alcohol.

Talking to People, he revealed that his addiction problems began when he was in college. According to the actor, he studied at the University of Wisconsin and won a fellowship to Yale Drama School.

DANIEL FIGHTING ALCOHOLISM

At that point, he felt "deeply insecure," which was the reason he began drinking. In 1963, he dropped out and started working as a walk-on in a Brooklyn play.

One would think that his addiction and insecurity problems would have reduced after his career started getting better, but it didn't. He confessed, on the contrary, that he "just drank more and more."

Chris O'Donnell and Daniel J. Travanti on "NCIS: Los Angeles" in 2017 | Photo: Getty Images/Global Images Ukraine

Chris O'Donnell and Daniel J. Travanti on "NCIS: Los Angeles" in 2017 | Photo: Getty Images/Global Images Ukraine

Even though he was an alcoholic for several years, the actor pointed out that he never showed up on set drunk and that nobody knew what he was dealing with. He emphasized that he didn't even get to work late, labeling himself as "Mister Early."

Daniel recalled one of the worst experiences he had during his darkest times. It happened in 1973 when he was in Indianapolis performing the play "Twigs" next to Sada Thompson.

Chris O'Donnell and Daniel J. Travanti on "NCIS: Los Angeles" in 2019 | Photo: Getty Images/Global Images Ukraine

Chris O'Donnell and Daniel J. Travanti on "NCIS: Los Angeles" in 2019 | Photo: Getty Images/Global Images Ukraine

HE HAS BEEN SOBER FOR OVER FOUR DECADES

Shortly after going on stage, he started shaking. He added:

"Sada's nearsighted and carried on playing. Finally, I turned to the audience, said, 'Sorry, folks,' walked off—and burst into tears."

Even though the actor could successfully finish the rest of the dates that had already been scheduled for the show, his friends made him start a new life by driving him to join a support group for drinkers.

Daniel J. Travanti confessed that he was initially "furious" about it, but that he eventually accepted and "surrendered" to the help. Thankfully, he became sober in 1973 and has not drunk ever since.

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