Tommy James Mannausa was wearing new white jeans, a black T-shirt and brown high-top shoes. He put on a brown sports coat as an afterthought. It was August, and Mannausa, 51, a Longboat Key and Bay Harbor, Mich., resident, was on his way to Lionsgate Studio to meet the director of the Starz Network’s TV show, “Crash.” His friend and music partner, Rick Derringer, who has a small part in the show, had arranged for the meeting.
Maybe it was the brown sports coat he added at the last minute. Or the fact that he had grown his hair long three years earlier, much to his mother’s dismay. Or the glowing review that Derringer gave of Mannausa as a songwriter. Or the fact that when the director asked Mannausa if he had ever acted before, Mannausa leaned over his desk, shoulders square, and declared: “I’ve been acting all my life.”
Whatever the reason, Mannausa didn’t end up on the “no wall” filled with photos of hundreds of rejected actors. Instead, he landed a small non-speaking role in the series, playing an executive to the show’s main character, a billionaire who decides to donate $1 billion in a community serving 100,000 homeless people.
The first episode featuring Mannausa aired Friday, Nov. 27. He had approximately seven seconds of screen time.
Acting is a new role for Mannausa, who has worked in real-estate development and management for the past 32 years and continues to serve as president of T. Mannausa & Co., AMO, Realtor. Now that he is semi-retired, he can focus on his creative endeavors, which extend beyond acting.
He has written more than 90 songs, 11 of which will debut on his 2010 CD, tentatively called “Time Keepers,” a collaboration between Mannausa and Derringer, of the Rick Derringer band.
Mannausa never knows when a song will hit him.
“It’s spontaneous,” he said.
For example, one day he was driving to Derringer’s house in Rio Rancho, N.M., with his car top down and his hair blowing in the wind. A few hours later, he wrote the song “Tattoos, No Teeth, Long Hair,” about a tough-looking guy riding into town.
“Pretty much, it all starts with lyrics,” he says.
Mannausa’s experience in music goes back even further than his real-estate career. When he was in second grade, his mother told him, “Whatever you do, Tommy, do not play that piano in the basement.”
Looking back, he knows that she was using reverse psychology. Clearly, it worked.
Contact Robin Hartill at email@example.com.
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