John Larroquette is an actor with almost 50 years of experience. The trajectory of his career is an especially interesting one. His first acting gig was narrating the intro to a famous horror film by the name of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. But, acting was not a viable career choice until Larroquette hit it big on the NBC sitcom Night Court. His performance as the prosecutor Dan Fielding earned him four consecutive Emmy awards and propelled his success as an actor.
But before he made his way into film and television, John Larroquette was an 18-year-old radio DJ in his hometown of New Orleans. And if you didn’t know this already: FM radio was very different in the mid 1960s. You could play Korean gongs for 10 minutes. And Larroquette did, all while reading “The Hollow Men ” by T.S. Eliot. However, his career in radio always came second to his passion for acting.
In the summer of 1970, Larroquette moved to San Diego to work for a record company. He then joined a local theater for a production of Tennessee Williams’ play Vieux Carré and decided to move to Los Angeles to pursue acting. He worked in the local theater scene, got an agent, and met his wife, Elizabeth. After about six years of auditioning and working as an actor, Larroquette took a brief hiatus due to his struggle with alcoholism.
Larroquette returned to acting in the 80s. About halfway through the decade, he was cast in a network sitcom that would dramatically alter the course of his career. Night Court was a notable success. This is due largely to Larroquette’s stellar performance on the show. He played Dan Fielding, the amorous and vain prosecutor who regularly haunted the Manhattan Criminal Court’s overnight shift. As Dan Fielding, Larroquette swept the Emmy Awards for four consecutive years—a record number at the time. The show aired its last episode in 1992. But after nearly 30 years, Night Court is making its way back on air.
John Larroquette is the only member of the original cast to return to the show. Most of his former co-stars have passed. So while the new Night Court is just as funny and weird as the original, its stakes are different. Dan Fielding is now a public defender learning to enjoy life after his wife has passed. Sadly, you won’t see a reunion between Judge Harry Stone and Dan Fielding—the unlikely friends from the original series. But, you will see a friendship between Fielding and his old pal’s daughter, Judge Abby Stone. It’s a heartwarming and hilarious watch.
New episodes of Night Court are airing now. You can watch them over the air on NBC or stream them anytime on Peacock.
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Bullseye is a celebration of the best of arts and culture in public radio form. Host Jesse Thorn sifts the wheat from the chaff to bring you in-depth interviews with the most revered and revolutionary minds in our culture.
Bullseye has been featured in Time, The New York Times, GQ and McSweeney’s, which called it “the kind of show people listen to in a more perfect world.” Since April 2013, the show has been distributed by NPR.
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