Northport, New York, United States
One could not write the story of John Scurti's career without mentioning the names of his friends and frequent collaborators, comedian-actor Denis Leary and director Ted Demme. And although the two helped introduce him to the masses, John Scurti's contributions as co-star and writer on Leary's edgy firefighter dramedy, "Rescue Me" (FX, 2004-11) - as well as numerous performances in film and television apart from his buddies - long ago erased any doubt that his success was simply a by-product of having the right friends in the right places.John Martin Scurti was born in the town of Northport, on New York's Long Island. He attended Northport High School with "The Sopranos" (HBO, 1999-2006) star Edie Falco, where he appeared opposite her in school musicals. He began his professional theater training at the B.O.C.E.S. Cultural Arts Center in Syosset, later earning his degree in Fine Arts at New York's Fordham University after a stint at Marymount Manhattan College.Although he began working in several off-Broadway and off-off-Broadway shows while still in school, Scurti's professional acting resume really began with a role in Ted Demme's 1993 comedy-mystery "Who's the Man?" Around the same time, he made a number of television appearances, including guest roles on "Murphy Brown" (CBS, 1988-1998) in 1996; three appearances on "Spin City" (ABC, 1996-2002 ) in 1996 and '97; "Sex and the City" (HBO, 1998-2004) in 1998 and a raft of New York-based crime dramas such as "Law & Order" (NBC, 1990-2010) in 1994 and '99 and "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" (NBC, 2001-07; USA, 2007-11) in 2001.Scurti also made the big screen rounds, appearing in several features, including "Mona Lisa Smile" (2003) and "War of the Worlds" (2005). Still, it was his first film - the forgettable rap-comedy, "Who's the Man?" that created the tie that truly binds; forging a loyal threesome of collaborators that included director Demme and co-star Denis Leary. The late director would become one of Scurti's two most important and most frequent early collaborators. They worked together the following year, on the Denis Leary/Kevin Spacey vehicle "The Ref" (1994), and again on 1996's "Beautiful Girls," in which Scurti landed a small part.But it was Leary - also a friend of Demme's - who proved to be Scurti's most valuable long-term partner. In addition to the three projects the pair worked on with Demme, the two friends worked together on Comedy Central's 2002 miniseries, "Contest Searchlight." That particular collaboration proved timely, as it came on the heels of the cancellation of Leary's much-acclaimed but short-lived show, "The Job" (ABC, 2001-02).In 2004, Leary reached out to Scurti to co-star with him on a show that could easily have been described as "The Other Job." That show, "Rescue Me," became Scurti's biggest credit to date. Like most of the firefighters on the post-9/11 firehouse dramedy, Scurti's Lt. Kenny "Lou" Shea was written as a tough, sarcastic "man's man," but unlike the rest of his colleagues, also harbored a softer, more sensitive side as well. This fragility lent itself well to Lou's battle with alcoholism - a constant theme on the show amongst many of the characters - and his near suicide attempt after being conned out of his life savings by a scam artist/porn star who had been posing as his girlfriend. Scurti's sensitive but also brash portrayal quickly became a fan favorite.Earning another feather in his cap as writer, Scurti at one point, also wrote (intentionally) bad poetry about 9/11 for his character to deliver. Leary and his producing partner Peter Tolan were so impressed by his talents, they ultimately handed him several "Rescue Me" episodes to write, including "DNA," (2004), "Bitch" (2005) and "Twilight" (2006).