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January 1, 2002

Schwab's Mr. Hollywood: Meet Schwab's up-and-coming television actor, a former boxer who wires desk

By Sanford Wexler

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  • Schwab's Mr. Hollywood: Meet Schwab's up-and-coming television actor, a former boxer who wires desk

Paul Dunleavy, a telecommunications technician at Charles Schwab Capital Markets in Jersey City, N.J., leads an amazing double life.

By day he's usually installing telephone and video conferencing equipment on the trading floor. But once he steps off the floor, Dunleavy enters a different world, the world of the professional actor. Over the past 12 months he has appeared in hit television shows, including "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit," "Oz," and "Sex and the City."

Dunleavy, 36, has the movie star features of an Alec Baldwin and projects himself, unselfconsciously, like Robert De Niro.

In fact, the Jersey City native, a former U.S. Navy sailor, could have gone a few rounds with De Niro in the 1980 movie that was based on the life of boxing champ Jake La Motta - "Raging Bull."

That's because Dunleavy is a former amateur boxer and has participated three times in the New Jersey Golden Gloves competitions.

Tough Man

Boxing led to his flourishing acting career. About a year ago, he was boxing in the Tough Man Competition in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. The event was a benefit for the Make A Wish Foundation. A talent scout spotted Dunleavy and suggested that he give a call to an agent about doing what is known as background' work in the then forthcoming Samuel Jackson movie, "Changing Lanes."

Background acting usually involves little or no speaking roles. But it's a good start for aspiring actors who are trying to make their mark.

Soon after he was cast in "Changing Lanes," Dunleavy snared background roles in two top tv shows, "Sex and the City" and "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit."

"I played a mob drug defendant in the courtroom," Dunleavy said. "I was dressed all in black with my hair slicked back."

His latest role is in a new television show called "Short Shots." The TNT show is a comedy that will spoof other tv shows. Dunleavy will be appearing in an episode entitled "Celibacy in the City."

Many aspiring actors spend years trying to land a few bit roles in television shows and movies, Dunleavy accomplished his mission sooner than most.

"I am amazed," he said. "I got lucky very quickly."

Professional acting is something that Dunleavy was always interested in pursuing, but he put it on the back burner because of his boxing. "I gave it up," he said. "I was fighting. It was interfering with my matches."

Dunleavy might be regarded as a master of the universe, a title normally reserved for some hotshots on Wall Street. How he manages to successfully juggle both an acting career and a full-time job at Charles Schwab is a mystery to many.

"Sometimes the [acting] calls are for night or weekend work," he said. "At other times I take vacation days to play a role."

Acting is a business that Dunleavy takes as seriously as setting up new turrets on the trading floor, where his professionalism is not in doubt.