Blake Stadnik played adult Jack Damon on NBC’s This Is Us: but there are so many things you probably don’t know about him! Keep reading to find out more about his life, his wife and his career!
Originally from Pittsburgh, PA, Stadnik discovered acting after he lost the majority of his eyesight due to Stargardt’s Disease when he was 6 years old.
He graduated from Penn State as a musical theater major. After graduation, he had a successful theatre career appearing in Sweeney Todd, Les Miserables, Newsies, and 42nd Street.
He met his now wife Anne Tolpegin in 2018 doing Stephen Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” at The Pioneer Theatre in Salt Lake City, Utah. Stadnik proposed in 2020: the couple got married in October, 2021.
Stadnik said they incorporated some things from his relationship with his wife into Jack and Lucy’s relationship
During our interview with Stadnik back in May, the actor revealed the show incorporated a few things from his real-life relationship!
“There’s a montage in the season opener of Season 4. We’re sort of seeing Jack and Lucy’s relationship develop and they’re laying in bed and she’s reading to him. And that’s actually something that my wife and I do as well. You know, I listen to audiobooks a lot, but usually we have one book that we’re sort of reading together that she’s reading to me. And it actually in in the scene where Jack and Lucy first meet, where he kind of sort of messes with her like you know, pretends like that she scared him and he’s like ‘why would you do that?’ Well, that’s something that I would totally do too and I think that endears Jack and Lucy together, that they can laugh about the serious moments, too.“
You can read our full interview – and watch it – here!
His blindness was one of the reason he was cast in This Is Us
According to a report by the LA Times, Stadnik was able to navigate theater the stage by “remembering [stage] directions, practicing the movements and keeping it all in his head.”
“He can’t recognize faces, but he can see shapes. So he can detect where the other actors are and pick up somewhat on their body language, which helps serve as his stage cues,” the paper reported.
In searching for the right actor to play the role of Jack Damon, Toby and Kate’s son, showrunner Dan Fogelman and his team prioritized finding someone who was also visually impaired.
“It was an interesting casting process because we wanted to cast a blind actor. We had started our casting process very early, even in our off-season. I was looking for a leading man who was without sight and who could be funny, charming, accessible, and sweet,” Fogelman explained of finding Stadnik.
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“We wanted to find an actor who could be a leading man and [was] very handsome and very funny and looked great with his bare abs on national television, but also be able to stand in the Greek [Theatre] in front of a live audience and actually perform and sing a song. There were a lot of boxes to check,” Fogelman continued.
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