That ’70s Show was a television sitcom that ran for 8 seasons, from August 1998 to May 2006. Set in the era of polyester suits, mood rings, Jaws, Saturday Night Fever, disco, and big hair. Among all of this, the TV show follows a number of friends living in Wisconsin going through the growing pains of high school and looming adulthood.
In That ’70s Show, Bob Pinciotti is married to Midge and has three daughters, Valerie, Tina, and Donna. Don is extremely easy going and is the owner of Bob’s Bargains and sells home appliances. Here are some facts about the actor who plays him, Don Stark.
10He Was Born And Grew Up In New York
Stark was born in New York City, New York, on July 4, 1954. His mom, Harriet, was the classic example of a Jewish mother and his father, Nate, was the manager of Wilson’s House of Suede men’s clothing store. Stark’s father was known to have a great sense of humor and one of his favorite lines was ‘life is a s**t sandwich and every day you have to take another bite.’
The family eventually made their way to Southern California sometime prior to Don entering high school. There is no known accurate information as to whether he has any siblings.
9He Played Football In High School
In high school, Stark was busy participating in school activities, one of which included playing football for the Grover Cleveland High School Cavaliers in Reseda, California, one of the many communities in the San Fernando Valley. He also became involved in bodybuilding and somewhere along the line became interested in dance.
He graduated from Grover Cleveland in 1972. One can only imagine that Stark was well known on campus for being on the football team, plus being involved in bodybuilding and martial arts as well.
8He Got Into Martial Arts At Age 10
Keeping a young man busy is a great way to keep him out of trouble, and living in the San Fernando Valley in California, there are a lot of opportunities for trouble. So Stark’s parents enrolled him in martial arts classes at the age of 10.
This no doubt helped him build confidence and athleticism which surely helped when he got into high school and wanted to play football. The experience also likely helped with his high school acting and dancing.
7He Joined The Drama Club In High School Because Of A Dare
During high school, Stark wasn’t interested in acting. He already had a lot on his plate with football and other activities. However, one of his teammates dared him to join the drama department and Don took him up on it.
He ended up with a starring role in the school production of Dark of the Moon, a play based on a book written by Howard Richardson and William Berney. Don won the role of ‘John,’ the central character of the play about a witch boy in love with a human girl that takes place in the Appalachian Mountains. He was hooked.
6He Was Known For His Dancing
When Stark met his friend’s dare to join drama in high school he never expected that it would become his life’s work. While he did enjoy it, it was just something fun to do, along with football and bodybuilding. But, since Stark was so good at acting, he had to learn to sing and dance as well and became known for his dancing skills.
He was again cast in starring roles in the musicals Guys and Dolls and Fiddler on the Roof. He played the father Tevya in Fiddler on the Roof and Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls. He also played the title role in Shakespeare’s Othello in a Shakespeare Festival award-winning scene.
5He Went To College For A Business Degree
While playing football, doing bodybuilding and acting in high school drama productions was nice, Stark didn’t believe any of those were going to earn him a living. In an interview with Fan Fest News he said that at one of the performances of Fiddler of the Roof, there was a talent agent in the audience.
After graduating from high school he enrolled at California State University at Northridge as a business major. Whether or not the talent agent put a bug in his ear or not, he moseyed on over to the drama department. He told Fan Fest that the girls were prettier there, so he decided to stay.
4He Has Been Married Twice
Stark’s first wife was Julie and the couple had two children, both daughters, Samantha and Nicole. Although it is unknown when Stark and Julie were divorced, he married Aubrey Robinson in 1989 and as far as we are aware, they are still together.
Don has been very closed-mouthed and secretive about his personal life, only revealing that he’s been married twice, and has two daughters, leading to very little being known about his private life.
3He Was Hired For A Movie At His Second Audition
When Don’s agent sent him out to his second audition, he won the part. That says quite a bit about his acting chops. The job was for an ABC television Movie of the Week called Outrage (1973) with well-known actor Robert Culp (from the I Spy TV series).
Don plays a central character in the movie that is based on a number of incidents that took place in California. A man, veterinarian Jim Kiler, and his family are harassed by a group of rich, delinquent teenage boys. Stark plays Carl Dibble, a boy who nearly runs Kiler over in an early incident who shows remorse and ends up claiming ‘no contest’ in court.
2He Was Shot With A Tomato Gun
In a guest role on the TV drama Law and Order: LA, Don played a corrupt city official. Stark talks about filming the scene with series co-star Alfred Molina. He describes the scene as having a loud, angry crowd behind a ‘police’ line while Molina’s character walks Stark’s character to a patrol car. While doing the ‘perp walk’ in handcuffs to the police cruiser, he is shot in the chest with a tomato.
They apparently did at least two takes, and after the second, everyone busted up laughing because most of the tomato splattered onto Molina. Stark was also surprised by the necessity of having a specially trained person to do the tomato shooting.
1It’s A Small World
When it comes to working in Hollywood, one would expect actors from different genres to run into each other or get to work together for the first time. What one would really expect is to have people from your high school days show up in unexpected places.
For instance, while Don was playing football for Grover Cleveland, one of their cross-town rivalries was with Canoga High School. That is where his That 70’s Show nemesis, Red Forman, played by Kurtwood Smith, went to school during the same time. In addition, one of Stark’s teachers at Grover Cleveland High, Phil Berk, went on to become President of the Hollywood Foreign Press. How’s that for knowing people in high places?