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Gilmore Guy Brews Fan Ado, 02.01.02 ...

The imaginary Connecticut town where Scott Patterson's serving coffee these days doesn't at first glance look all that different from the one in which he grew up: small and seemingly picture-perfect, its beautiful old homes sheltered by towering trees.

But the journey from Haddonfield, N.J., to the "Gilmore Girls'" Stars Hollow has been anything but direct.

A 43-year-old ex-baseball player who often sports a couple of days' growth of beard, Patterson would seem to be an unlikely star for the teen-targeting WB. But as Luke Danes, the taciturn diner owner on one of the niche network's most popular shows, Patterson's scoring points with the network's adolescent-girl audience and some of their mothers for injecting a hint of romance into the life of young single mom Lorelai Gilmore (Lauren Graham).

Troll any of the show's fan Web sites, and you'll find there's as much interest in the potential for a hookup between Luke and Lorelai as there is in the activities of Lorelai's 16-year-old daughter, Rory (Alexis Bledel), the other Gilmore girl. Halfway into the show's second season, Patterson is used to The Question by now. But he still has no answers.

The writers "don't tell me anything, but I just kind of feel that there's going to be something passionate there" between his character and Graham's, he said.

After spending much of his 20s as a minor-league pitcher for the New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves, Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Dodgers, a period in which he was called up to the majors from time to time but never given a chance to play, Patterson said he became interested in acting when "I was dating a girl ... who was an actress."

When he went to the Dominican Republic to play winter ball with the Dodgers, "she sent me a couple of plays, 'Two for the See-Saw,' by William Gibson, and ... a Neil Simon play," he recalled. "And I just thought they were terrific. And I memorized them and I really thought it was fun reading them. And I asked her to send me more and more and more." Quitting baseball, he moved to New York "and studied my acting," spending a couple of years with an acting company: "trying to create a little buzz downtown in the New York theater world," he said.

"I just thought, this is a nice life that I can carve out for myself. I love acting. It's infinitely challenging and pleasurable, and I thought, if I'm a theater actor for the rest of my life, I'd be perfectly happy," he said.
Credit: New York Daily News

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