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Actor Tim Daly will climb Tampa tower for lung disease

Tim Daly stars in Madam Secretary on CBS. He'll visit Tampa this weekend to support the American Lung Association.

Tim Daly stars in Madam Secretary on CBS. He'll visit Tampa this weekend to support the American Lung Association.

People climbing the Bank of America tower in Tampa on Saturday will be joined by actor Tim Daly, the Madam Secretary star who is using the opportunity to support his mother.

In a telephone interview with the Tampa Bay Times, the actor best known as Joe Hackett on the 1990s sitcom Wings, said he plans to participate in the American Lung Association's Fight For Air Climb on Saturday in downtown Tampa to raise awareness about pneumococcal pneumonia, which sent his mother to the hospital for 10 days.

This will be Daly's second trot up the stairs of a tall building since he teamed up with the American Lung Association for Who Pneu? — a campaign in partnership with Pfizer to remind older adults to stay up to date on immunizations and be aware of pneumococcal pneumonia.

Earlier this month, Daly climbed 45 floors of the Presidential Towers in Chicago, which he described as "really weird."

"It's like being stuck in a stairwell with all these people, and stairwells don't exactly have the best smell, and all these people are there," Daly said. "But it's for a really good cause and I was so amazed and proud of the people in Chicago. They raised a lot of money for research and spirits were really high."

On Madam Secretary, Daly plays the husband of Tea Leoni, the secretary of state. When told that more people watched Madam Secretary than one of the presidental debates between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders he said, "That's a little depressing."

"I hope they DVRed the Democratic debate."

He wouldn't be surprised if viewers sought relief in the fictional world, he said, "where a huge political crisis is solved every week, in 42 minutes."

"One of the brilliant things about the show is, we never say that someone is a Democrat or a Republican, so it forces people to listen to the ideas." Party loyalty clouds vision, he noted.

"This whole thing of getting people to sign a pledge that they will back their party no matter who the nominee is," Daly said. "That would be like me saying, 'I'm going to bet everything on the New York Giants next year no matter who the quarterback is. Even if it's the kid who gets the water.' That's nuts."

The 60-year-old actor first came to prominence on Wings, the sitcom that also launched Steven Weber (Single White Female), Tony Shalhoub (Monk) and Thomas Haden Church, who was nominated for an Oscar for Sideways.

Daly was nominated for an Emmy for his role as J.T., a troubled screenwriter on The Sopranos, before he took the role of Dr. Pete Wilder for five years on Private Practice.

"Comedy is hard, man," Daly said. "It it a lot easier to disguise bad acting when you are crying."

Daly comes from a family of actors. Both his parents were accomplished stage and TV actors, his Emmy-winning sister Tyne Daly has starred with him on stage and screen and now his son Sam Daly has joined the family business as an actor. The two are hoping to start production on a movie in 2016, Daly said.

Sam and Tim Daly have built a following on YouTube with a series of parodies called DalyShowTV. It's shot in his home or on the sets of his latest projects and often has appearances by celebrity friends like Weber or Betty White.

"My dad (Broadway's James Daly) was really all about the theater, and that was really our temple, our place of worship, that we treated with upmost respect," Daly said. "Tyne and I still do a lot of theater, and then we started making a living in television. I never thought I'd do film or television, but then I had a family and wanted to feed them."

He was "totally surprised" by his son Sam's decision in college to pursue acting. "But he's going into it for the right reasons, that he wants to tell stories and not just because he wants to be famous."

His son has opened his eyes to the world of alternative media that allows filmmakers to ply their craft without studio backing, he said, but there's little money in it.

"Sam seems to work all the time, but in some ways it's a lot more difficult to make a living."

Fans looking for Daly at Saturday's climb should be patient. Daly will be participating in the event starting at 8 a.m. but wasn't quite sure when he would be climbing.

"At events like this I feel like a child in a stroller," Daly said. "I have babysitters who tell me what to do."

Contact Sharon Kennedy Wynne at swynne@tampabay.com. Follow @SharonKWn.

If you go

Fight for Air Climb: Tim Daly will join the fundraiser for the American Lung Association in Tampa on Saturday. Racers will climb to the 42nd floor of Tampa's tallest building, the Bank of America Plaza, 101 E Kennedy Blvd., starting at 8 a.m.

Registration: $35 with a minimum of $100 in donations at fightforairclimb.org.

Actor Tim Daly will climb Tampa tower for lung disease 03/16/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 16, 2016 4:29pm]
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