Damien leads 200 in a 2009 meet.
M60 sprinter Damien Leake
is like many of us, rarely talking about our day jobs. Not that he has anything to be ashamed of. On the track, he’s world-class. As a professional actor, he’s equally proficient. See his many credits,
including “Serpico” in 1973 and “Apocalypse Now” in 1979. So I was delighted to spot him Friday night while watching “The Rachel Maddow Show” on MSNBC. He appears in a Centrum Silver 30-second ad. I taped it with my Samsung Galaxy. Forgive the shakiness. “No, I don’t take Centrum Silver,” he told me in response to a shameless query. “Didn’t even know what it was until they hired me. I got it by going through the usual channels, audition. I have an agent and a manager.” He also tells me: “I got my first job when I was still in high school. (Performing Arts H.S.
In New York). The first major film I was in was ‘Serpico.'” He plans to compete at indoor nationals this year for the first time (60 and long jump). And he’ll possibly attend North Carolina outdoor nationals. “Always depends on what the work situation is.”
The commercial features him at the Empire State Building, but he says it was shot in downtown Los Angeles and “out near Vegas.”
“Been doing a number of commercials lately,” he says. “You’ll probably see a Nationwide [insurance] and a Dunkin Donuts Coffee in the coming weeks. It’s how I’ve made a living for almost 44 years. It’s why I hadn’t competed since junior high school until a few years ago; I was doing theater. This [Centrum Silver] commercial must have just started airing.”
I asked Damien (a fellow member of the Southern California Striders) if people recognize him at meets.
He replied: “Sometimes people do recognize me, or say I look familiar to them. I usually reply I just have one of those faces.”
Damien, with teammate Stan Whitley, was honored in 2009 by his club, the Southern California Striders. He’s a regular Striders award winner.