For most people an acting career as secure as that of Ted Wass would have been the dream of a lifetime. Wass was a prime-time regular in the heartthrob role of Danny Dallas on the groundbreaking sitcom "Soap" (ABC 1977-81), and again as dad Nick Russo on the popular teen sitcom "Blossom" (NBC 1991-1995). But he had another dream as well, and once he decided he wanted to direct, he seamlessly transitioned to the other side of the lens and has remained a mainstay in the field since he made the shift in 1992.
Shortly after graduating from DePaul University's Goodman School of Drama, Ted Wass made his Broadway debut in the 1976 production of "Grease," playing the lead role of Danny Zuko. He broke into television in 1977 with a guest spot on the Emmy-nominated "Family" (ABC 1976-80). That same year, Wass booked a regular role on Susan Harris' satire of daytime television, "Soap" (ABC 1977-81), as Danny Dallas, the mob-connected protective older brother of Billy Crystal's ground-breaking gay character, Jodie.
Wass moved on to act in several television movies; he landed his first film role in the flop "Curse of the Pink Panther" (1983), as Sergeant Clifton Sleigh, hired to track down protagonist Inspector Clouseau (played by Roger Moore in a brief cameo following the death of Peter Sellers, who had originated the character). His next film role was sports journalist Vic Casey in the Razzie-nominated Tanya Roberts vehicle, "Sheena: Queen of the Jungle" (1984). Unfortunately, his bad luck streak continued when he turned up that same year opposite comedy legend George Burns in the critically-lambasted sequel "Oh, God! You Devil" (1984).
Wass' next recurring television role was Dr. Steven Ratajkowski on the short-lived ensemble drama "Men" (ABC 1989). He followed it with several made-for-television movies before landing his next major role on the hit series "Blossom" (NBC 1990-95). The actor appeared on 113 episodes as Nick Russo, father of the title character played by Mayim Bialik. Between 1992 and 1995, the actor stepped behind the camera for his directorial debut, helming 18 episodes of the show.
His next multi-episode directorial gig was on six episodes for "Local Heroes" (FOX 1996), although the show was canceled after only 5 episodes aired. Wass then delivered 10 episodes of the boy genius comedy, "Smart Guy" (WB 1997-99), and followed that with 3 episodes of the critically-acclaimed but poorly-rated Tony Shalhoub and Neil Patrick Harris sleeper "Stark Raving Mad" (NBC 1999-2000). Between 1998-2000, Wass directed 17 episodes of "Caroline in the City" (NBC 1995-99) and 5 episodes of the popular Ryan Reynolds vehicle "Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place" (ABC 1998-2001).
Wass followed those successes by helming 45 episodes of the Emmy-winning Michael J. Fox sitcom "Spin City" (ABC 1996-2002). Shortly after wrapping up his stint at "Spin City," Wass directed 5 episodes of "I'm with Her" (ABC 2003-04), a sitcom loosely based on show creator Chris Henchy's experiences of being married to Brooke Shields. The series only made it through one season. His next multi-episode project was the ill-fated Fred Savage sitcom "Crumbs" (ABC 2006), about a gay screenwriter who returns home to take care of his recently institutionalized mother. Fortunately, the project dovetailed with a 64-episode run on the sitcom "Less Than Perfect" (ABC 2002-06).
For Wass, 2007 was a busy year. In addition to helming episodes of the ratings powerhouses "The Big Bang Theory" (CBS 2007- ) and "Two and a Half Men"(CBS 2003-15), Wass also directed three episodes of critic's favorite "Everybody Hates Chris" (UPN 2005-09) and began his long run on the relationship sitcom "Rules of Engagement" (CBS 2007-13). He directed 7 episodes of Jenna Elfman's short-lived comeback attempt "Accidentally on Purpose" (CBS 2009-10). In 2011, he began directing episodes of a popular show that became a lightning rod for debates over the state of feminism and race relations in America, "2 Broke Girls" (CBS 2011- ).