Daniel DiMaggio is a much more normal kid than he plays on American Housewife
Daniel DiMaggio is a 15-year-old boy, who happens to play Oliver Otto on ABC hit show American Housewife. In the show, he is all about ballet, getting into Harvard and becoming tremendously wealthy. In real life, he likes to work, travel, watch sports and hang out with his friends.
Daniel DiMaggio was born in Los Angeles to parents who work in the entertainment industry, his dad being a writer and his mom is an actor, he was the only one out of the three kids to get the acting bug.
Daniel did his first commercial at the age of eight and kept working steadily since. He is one of the few actors who are part of the DC Superman universe as he played young Kal-El in Supergirl. He then landed the role of Oliver Otto on American Housewife.
Daniel DiMaggio spoke with Michelle Tompkins for Stars and Celebs, the new home of The Celebrity Cafe about his early life, how it feels to be one of the few people to ever play Superman, how he got the role of Oliver Otto on American Housewife, how he participated in the Los Angeles Marathon, what he likes to do for fun, what kind of role he wants to play and more.
Michelle Tompkins: So what’s going on with you these days?
Daniel DiMaggio: I’m just another 15 year old. Just working, huh [laughter].
Michelle Tompkins: Now, where are you originally from?
Daniel DiMaggio: I’m actually from Los Angeles.
Michelle Tompkins: Now, do you have any brothers or sisters?
Daniel DiMaggio: I do. I have one brother and one sister.
Michelle Tompkins: And what do your parents do for a living?
Daniel DiMaggio: They actually they came from the industry. My dad’s a writer. My mother is an actress as well. We’re all actually working this week which is nice. It hasn’t been like that for a while so it’s pretty cool. It’s nice having parents from the industry rather than with no experience at all. So it’s nice having them with experience and they know the ways around so it’s kind of cool.
Michelle Tompkins: Are your sibling’s actors too?
Daniel DiMaggio: No. They didn’t touch the industry one bit. It’s kind of funny. They kind of got as far as away from it as possible. I think I remember my brother tried being a PA once and he never wanted to get in front of the camera. I’m not saying no, I don’t think he did it. But he tried doing a PA. He didn’t love it. Too stressful and then he kind of got out and then there was a time where he was working at Craft Service one time and making peanut butter jelly and sandwiches and he was like, I don’t really want to be here and I understood him. So he kind of got out of that. Yeah. I’m pretty much the only one.
Michelle Tompkins: Are you the youngest?
Daniel DiMaggio: Yes.
Michelle Tompkins: When did you know that you wanted to be an actor?
Daniel DiMaggio: I wouldn’t say I ever knew for sure. I think I was around eight years old when I booked my first commercial and that was the first big job I’d ever done then it kind of started to escalate and it got bigger and bigger. The roles got bigger and bigger and then it was kind of crazy. I didn’t know what it was like to be on prime time television every week. It was kind of cool. I saw all these other people doing it. I watched Modern Family for a couple of years before that and I was like, I could be one of these kids and then it all happened which was pretty cool.
Daniel DiMaggio on his first acting job and playing Kal-El
Michelle Tompkins: Now, what was your first paid acting job?
Daniel DiMaggio: If I can remember it was a Honda Accord commercial. A Christmas commercial where I played this kid who was writing a letter to Honda. His name was Pete and he was thanking Honda dealership for getting my dad a new deal on his Honda Accord and it was really cool and yeah. It was really fun. I remember that much. That’s how it all started.
Michelle Tompkins: How old were you?
Daniel DiMaggio: I was eight.
Michelle Tompkins: Oh, wow, and you also played young Superman. How was that? That sounds pretty cool.
Daniel DiMaggio: I did. I did play Kal-El. Yeah, that actually that I guess you could say I’m indented in the DC universe now, huh. It’s kind of cool to be a part of. There’s only so many people that got to play Superman and and I was one of them so it’s really cool to be in a league of your own, you know?
Michelle Tompkins: Yeah, it sounds good. Maybe one day you’ll play him again as an older guy.
Daniel DiMaggio: I hope so, if Henry Cavill’s okay with that.
Daniel DiMaggio on Oliver Otto from American Housewife
Michelle Tompkins: Now tell me how you got the part of Oliver Otto.
Daniel DiMaggio: I think we all, everyone went through an audition process. I know I did too, and nothing was guaranteed until I think I went in a couple times maybe and I didn’t really realize how serious it was until the final audition where it was in front of the ABC studio execs, and then I was oh, this is getting serious. And so I guess I just gave them my all, I just did what I did, and it worked.
Michelle Tompkins: What do you like best about playing him?
Daniel DiMaggio: I think that I could relate to the kid a lot, definitely the sarcasm. I mean I’ve let go of a lot of sarcasm because people couldn’t understand it, that’s how much I used to use it. So I definitely related to him in the sarcastic aspect. We’re both driven and I wouldn’t say I dressed like him or I want to do the same things as him, but it’s the little things, it’s definitely our personalities that were a match.
Michelle Tompkins: And I love your cast. I’ve actually spoken to Carly Hughes and Meg Donnelly.
Daniel DiMaggio: Oh, have you? She’s great.
Michelle Tompkins: They’re lovely people, I really like them.
Daniel DiMaggio: Oh, they’re both great, great singers too.
Michelle Tompkins: Tell me what it’s like to work with such talented people? I like every one of them.
Daniel DiMaggio: Yeah, it makes me look lucky, kind of like I won the lottery with all these people. I’m just here doing my best. I’m not trying to be humble or anything but I definitely I know I’m not as talented as any of these people because I can’t do as far as many things as they can, they’re all triple threats. I can’t sing for my life, but it’s really great I feel like just being around them I’ve become better and I’ve improved. It’s kind of nice to get that.
Michelle Tompkins: And your characters are also kind of a theater boy and is taking dance classes.
Daniel DiMaggio: Yeah, I guess not theater but definitely, ballet is his thing, that’s what he’s driven for. I don’t know if he’s touched theater yet, but ballet is his thing.
Michelle Tompkins: Now your character had to show a lot of emotion last season when his rich friend played by George Hamilton died.
Daniel DiMaggio: Spencer. Played by the wonderful George. Yeah, he did and it was different. You know you never saw that side of Oliver before and I don’t think you were expecting to see that side of Oliver until he saw George and the pig because like the pig they both got sent away and he had to let go and he never really let go of something before. And what he realizes is he kind of missed an opportunity with George’s character in a way because he kind of wanted him for the money like he did a lot of his relationships and he realized that it wasn’t all about the money it was also about the love that George gave to me.
Michelle Tompkins: What do we have to look forward to on American Housewife this season?
Daniel DiMaggio: Yeah, definitely this season’s very eventful. Oliver’s character definitely his relationship evolves and I think everyone’s character evolves. I think there will be a lot more music coming up in the next season, so that’s fun.
Michelle Tompkins: With some of the Broadway babies of your coworkers, I’m sure that’s true. It would be great to hear them all sing yeah. That’ll be nice. We’ll see if we can showcase all their abilities for you guys. I actually saw Carly Hughes on Broadway.
Daniel DiMaggio: Yeah. Wasn’t she in like Chicago or something?
Michelle Tompkins: I think she was in that too but I saw her in— I can’t believe I can’t remember the name of it now, the one where she was the ringmaster. [Note: I remembered right after the call, Pippin.]
Daniel DiMaggio: Okay. Yeah. That’ll be good. Oh, I know what you’re talking about.
Michelle Tompkins: But she was so good. I love that she and Meg are big into the theater.
Daniel DiMaggio: So is Katy.
Daniel DiMaggio talks about his personal life
Michelle Tompkins: What subjects do you like best in school?
Daniel DiMaggio: Yeah. I do care about school. I would say my strong suits are more like history. I’m decent at math. I’m not really good at science, that’s never been my thing. But yeah, and then a little bit of English.
Michelle Tompkins: Do you go to a regular school or are you tutored on set?
Daniel DiMaggio: Yeah. It is kind of like a regular school. I guess it’s like an independent school. It’s kind of like half and half. I’m mostly tutored on set.
Michelle Tompkins: You have something that most 15-year-olds don’t, you work almost every day.
Daniel DiMaggio: Yeah. It’s different.
Michelle Tompkins: Can you tell what your schedule is like, please?
Daniel DiMaggio: Yeah. You can either work at 7:00 AM or go to work at 12:00 PM. It’s a lot different than most kids. I would say, yeah, I get to work every day. As soon as I get there, I get in the works like hair and makeup. That’s never something I imagined nor something I ever wanted to imagine, it just wasn’t ever my thing and then I do it every day so it’s become a routine for me. And then I hit rehearsal for my scene and then we try to get little blocks of school in and then we shoot. And then that’s pretty much our day. We get like a break for lunch so we’re okay. It’s not all labor. No, I’m just kidding. But yeah, it’s fun.
Michelle Tompkins: Is it all-week-long? Is it five days a week?
Daniel DiMaggio: Usually. I usually work three to five days a week depending on the workload.
Michelle Tompkins: Do you have expectations of going to college?
Daniel DiMaggio: In real life, not like Oliver does. I don’t think my passion is going to Harvard. But I would say that it would be a great accomplishment. I wouldn’t mind getting like a GED or something and that would be fun and graduate, that would be cool. I’m focusing on graduating on high school if we’re being honest. I think I’m okay. But if I’m good enough to get into college, then I’ll take that opportunity any way I can get it.
Michelle Tompkins: What kind of student are you?
Daniel DiMaggio: As I said, I wouldn’t say I’m getting A’s in biology but I’m getting A’s in geometry.
Michelle Tompkins: That’s pretty good.
Daniel DiMaggio: So I have my strong suits. But if that’s what’s going to get me to college, then so be it.
Michelle Tompkins: And what kind of part do you want to play that you haven’t played yet?
Daniel DiMaggio: I’d like to play a kid with, I don’t want to sound too dark but, who’s had a rougher background. I have before but maybe like yeah, I’m more like a drama. Because I’d like to flip that switch a little because I’ve been on a comedy for the past three years. It’s not like I’m getting tired of it but I’d like to switch it up a little, you know?
Michelle Tompkins: I get that. What do you like to do for fun?
Daniel DiMaggio: I like to hang out with friends. I like to watch sports, play sports and traveling. I do love traveling. With LA, you don’t really travel because there’s so much culture around you already which is pretty cool. I’m very grateful to live in this city. But yeah, still it’s cool to see other cultures and stuff. That’s why I love traveling so much.
Michelle Tompkins: Where are some places you’ve traveled to?
Daniel DiMaggio: I’ve only traveled out of the country once. I went to Italy recently which is pretty fun. It’s pretty great. That whole place is a walking site for artifacts and stuff. I mean you’re walking on history, basically. It was pretty cool.
Michelle Tompkins: And you’ve traveled a bit around the US?
Daniel DiMaggio: Yeah. I’ve been around the US. I don’t travel enough which is why I want to. I don’t like the flying part, not that I have vertigo, but it’s just so tiring.
Michelle Tompkins: It can be. What are your favorite sports team?
Daniel DiMaggio: I’m an LA kid, so I’d say the Dodgers, Clippers, Lakers. Kings. But then I’m a Jets fan because I have family there. When I was growing up, the Rams weren’t in LA. I mean they were in LA but they moved to Saint Louis and they weren’t LA while I was into football so I became a Jets fan, and I’ll say a Jets fan. But the Rams are looking good right now, that might have to be a team I’d join the bandwagon for.
Michelle Tompkins: Now, what is your favorite sport?
Daniel DiMaggio: I was always a baseball kid. It was my favorite sport. I think it is so special, like there’s no time. Like I just watched the Dodger game that went 13 innings. There’s no clock. It can be the ninth inning, you’re down five runs and it’s still a game, that’s what I love about it. Unlike basketball where you’re down 20 with 3 minutes left, there’s pretty much no point in trying to come back.
Michelle Tompkins: Now, what did you do over the summer?
Daniel DiMaggio: I went to Italy which was probably the main thing.
Michelle Tompkins: Have you played any sports?
Daniel DiMaggio: Yeah. I played baseball. I played travel. I played competitively. I tried soccer, I tried basketball but I think baseball stuck with me the most and I’ll probably carry it on with me my life.
Michelle Tompkins: Is it too hard to play right now with your shooting schedule?
Daniel DiMaggio: Yeah. And if I try to get back into it, I wouldn’t be too good. I don’t think I’d be able to hit a fastball or a curveball if I see one because I don’t know what kids are throwing like these days. I can do a plié or a releve but I don’t think I can hit a fastball.
Michelle Tompkins: Did you take ballet classes before the show?
Daniel DiMaggio: Never. I didn’t come from a dancing background, if we’re being honest. I started taking ballet lessons because of the show. I started dancing because of the show which is different.
Michelle Tompkins: Did anyone tease you about the ballet?
Daniel DiMaggio: My dad might but he can’t do a plié anyways so I’m like, ‘What are you talking about?’ [laughter]. I’m the one with all the chops. But yeah, so I’ve gotten teased. It’s fine—I take it like a man.
Michelle Tompkins: Well, the families that tease each other, I think, are some of the strongest ones.
Daniel DiMaggio: Yeah. I’m an easy target.
Michelle Tompkins: Now, if you weren’t an actor, what other careers would you like to try?
Daniel DiMaggio: Yeah, I’ve considered it. It’s just acting is so unique. You’re never really in that office. It’s kind of nice. There’s a lot of room, literally. I don’t know what I wanted to do when I grew up. I always wanted to be a baseball player— I wanted to be an athlete. That’s what I strived to become, but I knew there’s only so many people who play professional baseball and I think I had a better chance of becoming a good actor or a successful actor than a successful baseball player, so.
Michelle Tompkins: And so you think acting is where you want to stay?
Daniel DiMaggio: If all goes well, yeah why not? I mean, I’ll probably take a break. I’m already a little tired of the industry, to be honest. But yeah, I’ll probably take a break, but I do love it and I do love the craft and all. And I always know there’s room for improvement. It’s kind of nice. This is just a learning experience. This is just the first step in a good direction for me, so that’s kind of cool.
Michelle Tompkins: Now is there anything you want to add about your family?
Daniel DiMaggio: No, I think I said all I can say. Just that it wasn’t me who wanted to be in the industry. I mean, I did, but I guess it was kind of meant to be because I had family that was in it. So it was kind of cool that I wasn’t thrown into it. I went to a couple auditions and then I kind of liked it and now I’m here, so it’s not like they never made me or anything.
Michelle Tompkins: Now, what are some of your favorite movies and TV shows to watch?
Daniel DiMaggio: These days for, yeah, I mean TV I’ve been watching this HBO show called Succession. I mean, it’s not like I watch half-hour comedies because I’m on one. But yeah, I’ve actually been watching an hour drama, which is pretty ironic and it’s called Succession on HBO and it’s actually really good. I don’t watch a lot of TV and movies because I don’t really have time. I don’t have cable, but I do watch this HBO show called Succession and it’s pretty good.
Michelle Tompkins: Are you more of a homebody guy or just use your free time being more active and doing stuff?
Daniel DiMaggio: I would say, yeah. I’m more free willing. If I had the option to sit down and watch a movie or go outside, I’d go outside probably.
Michelle Tompkins: Okay. So you just completed your first marathon. Tell me about that.
Daniel DiMaggio: I did, yeah. Well, it was two years ago, but it felt like yesterday because all those 26.2 miles really add up. But that’s one thing I can brag about. And if you don’t think that’s accomplishment, there’s only so many people that have done it. I take a lot of pride in that. I’m glad I did it. There were times where I wanted to turn back. And I’m glad I did it looking back. And that may be the only marathon I do in my lifetime, but at least I did one. I can check that off the bucket list, which is pretty cool.
Michelle Tompkins: You don’t think you’ll do another?
Daniel DiMaggio: I was 12 when I did it, so I might do it in another 10 years, say. So when I’m 22, maybe. Every 10 years. That’s what I’m thinking. I know only time can tell. Maybe I will. Maybe later. But I don’t think I’m going to do one any time soon. I think I’m still recovering, if I’m being honest.
Michelle Tompkins: What do you do to stay in shape?
Daniel DiMaggio: Yeah, I workout. I still run. Running has always been a really great thing for me. It relieves a lot of stress. I do love to run as you can tell by my being in the marathon. Yeah, a lot of training, a lot of endurance. It definitely put me in great shape. But I would say that ballet probably put me in the best shape that I’ve ever been in. It just engages all the muscles and I feel like I have ballet to thank for that. I feel like I got a better workout in ballet than I ever did in baseball, even though I love baseball. But still, all those years of baseball, I still would say I worked hard and I’m in better shape than ever from ballet. Yeah.
Michelle Tompkins: Do you watch ballet now that you’re into it a little bit more?
Daniel DiMaggio: I remember at the beginning when I was just starting to do it, I remember I watched a movie called White Nights with—
Michelle Tompkins: With Mikhail Baryshnikov.
Daniel DiMaggio: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, Baryshnikov. And I liked it a lot. That guy’s insane.
Michelle Tompkins: So how do you like your fans to connect with you?
Daniel DiMaggio: If I have any. But I guess, hey, they get to see me every Wednesday. I guess that’s not enough. Yeah, I guess at this point, hey, if you see me on the street, you can come up to me. I’ll say hi. And I like to be open.
Michelle Tompkins: Yeah, my niece thinks you’re cute. She’s 16.
Daniel DiMaggio: Oh, she’s 16. I thought she was going to be 10. Most kids who think I’m cute are 10, but that’s cool.
Michelle Tompkins: Well, you like your fans to connect with you on the street. Are you on social media?
Daniel DiMaggio: I am on social media. You can find me on Twitter @DDiMaggio and on Instagram I’m da_real_dimag. But just look up Daniel DiMaggio you’ll find me.
Michelle Tompkins: Now, do you have a message for your fans?
Daniel DiMaggio: Just, there’s more to see of me in the future. Just know that I won’t let go of you guys.
Daniel DiMaggio can be seen on American Housewife on Wednesdays on ABC.