EHS grad Daniel Kountz lands sitcom role

by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Sitcom actor Daniel Kountz graduated from Estacada High School in 1996. 'The one thing I could say say to current students is that it's okay to be afraid to go after your dreams. It's natural.  After all, it's really scary. But it's what we do about that fear that matters. We had a quote on our fridge growing up, and forgive me for not remembering who said it, but it's something that gave me and still gives me courage: Those who try and fail are much wiser than those who never try, for fear of failure,' Kountz wrote in an email.  Kountz landed a role in Bounce's 'My Crazy Roommate' which premieres Monday, Oct. 14.Moxy is one thing Daniel Kountz is not short of.

Kountz remembers calling agent after agent saying “Hey! I want to be an actor!”

“I didn't even really know what a head shot was when they asked for a head shot... I was very green. But ambitious!” Kountz said.

At the time, 18-year-old Kountz had no acting experience beyond the stage.

And there is one particular stage from his past that Kountz is particular fond of: the one in the Estacada Junior High School Auditorium.

“I fell in love with acting on a giant stage... It was a gorgeous place to do plays,” Kountz said.

Kountz landed his very first role at age 8. He was Tiny Tim in an Estacada High School production of “A Christmas Carol.”

Even though he only had about two lines, Kountz remembers “that magical feeling” of the audience reacting to his performance.

Kountz credits then drama teacher Karen Luckaupt for sparking his interest in acting. He refers to her as “the greatest drama teacher in the world.”

“I'm so thankful to have (had) her pretty much the whole time I was acting in Estacada,” he said.

Kountz's family moved to Estacada when he was a small child.

He remembers running through his family's orchards and eating apples until he was sick.

“Estacada is a beautiful place to grow up. I'm so grateful to have grown up there,” Kountz said.

Up until age 15, Kountz had divided his energies between basketball and drama but the two required so much time that eventually he was forced to decide between them.

It wasn't too hard of a decision. Kountz loved drama way too much to give it up.

“Plus, at the time I was like 5' 2”,” Kountz laughed.

“Ever since then (acting is) pretty much the only thing I wanted to do,” he added.

Kountz graduated from Estacada High School in 1996 and attended Southern Oregon University (then Southern Oregon State College) for a spell.

But it wasn't quite his cup of tea.

Kountz moved to Portland and started calling agents.

One finally bit, and success came soon after.

On his second audition, Kountz landed the role of Ray in Lifetime's “15 and Pregnant”- you know, the guy who knocks up Kirsten Dunst's character and then leaves her.

Kountz has since had guest spots on big name television shows such as “Boston Public,” “ER,” “Third Rock from the Sun,” “The United States of Tara” and “Mad Men.”

We had to ask, what was it like working on “Mad Men”?

Kountz replied that it was “amazing” being on set with Don Draper (played by Jon Hamm) and Peggie Olson (played by Elisabeth Moss) and the rest of the cast and also “terrifying” because he wanted to make extra sure that he didn't mess up.

“The set is beautiful,” Kountz said of working on “Mad Men,” which is set in the 1960s. “Everything down to the ash tray and finest detail is period.”

He also voices Francis Watkins on the “L.A. Noire” video game and Gale Holden on the “Lost Planet 3” video game.

But Kountz recently landed what could well be his big break: a role on Bounce TV's first scripted television show, “My Crazy Roommate.”

Bounce TV describes the show, which shares a producer with the “Jamie Foxx Show” and “Martin” as “your newest guilty pleasure.”

The show centers around two almost completely opposite roommates as they strive to make it big in Hollywood. Brooklyn cool-girl Brooke is played by Laila Odom and upper-crust L.A. valley girl Chloe is played by Brittany Richards.

Kountz plays “stay at home husband,” Dmitri Ivanov.

“My wife and I are (Brooke and Chloe's) neighbors and we always come over and wreak havoc on their lives,” Kountz said of his character.

Kountz said that he was very excited to be a part of the sitcom, a genre he has always loved.

“I'm kind of in awe I booked the part... it's a dream come true,” Kountz said, then laughed about how funny it was to be saying those words.

“It's been an up and down, fun little roller coaster ride for the last 15 years,” Kountz said of his acting career.

Kountz now resides in Los Angeles.

Catch Kountz on the series premier of “My Crazy Roommate” 7 p.m., Monday, Oct. 14 on Bounce TV.

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