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Acting ... It's in His Blood

November 5, 2010 - Phyllis Sigal
There he was right beside me.

And there he was, on the television screen right in front of me.

I'd look at him, then at the "TV him," then back at him, then back at the TV.

Wow. Is this really happening?

Yes, the word surreal popped into my head more than once.

It was a long few minutes in that opening scene, almost as if it were in slow motion. (And the hours leading up to that 10 p.m. slot felt like an eternity.)

I was so intent on that television screen, I didn't want to miss a second of my son, Leland Alexander Wheeler's prime time debut on "Blue Bloods," starring Tom Selleck.

Of course I had been excited when I saw his national television commercial for Epiduo. Heck, I was even excited when his face came on the local channels claiming that Belmont Technical College was a great place for him.

But, prime time? On CBS? In the No. 1 rated show on Friday nights! (According to the Nielson data, "Blue Bloods" ranked as Oct. 29's most watched program with 11.54 million viewers. ABC's "20/20" was second with 5.37 million viewers. NBC's "Dateline" was third with 4.98 million.)

I know personally of 218 who watched it Oct. 29. (That's how many people on Facebook said they'd be watching or DVRing.) And I know there were others who are not my friends on Facebook who watched it, because everywhere I've gone in the past week, people (some I don't even know) have told me they saw Leland on "Blue Bloods."

Exciting stuff.

It's exciting that his hard work (going to audition after audition after audition) is starting to pay off.

It's exciting that his name was in the credits.

It's exciting that he actually got a chance to act, in a scene, with lines. (He never considered his commercials "legitimate acting.")

It's exciting he's got a resume on IMDB (International Movie Data Bass) with two roles listed.

It's exciting that a casting director told him she saw him on "Blue Bloods" just days before he went into an audition.

But one of the most exciting things about the whole experience was the love and support that people in the Ohio Valley gave to Leland. The news media, our friends, Leland's friends and teachers, and some total strangers were truly happy that he has taken one more step toward the success he's been striving for.

Thanks, everyone, for cheering him on. It's enough to make a proud mom cry.


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