An ankle injury his junior year at Horace Greeley High School ended up being very fortuitous to Lowell Byers.
Byers, a Chappaqua native, is an actor based in New York City. He recently gained notice for a Choice Hotel commercial now running frequently on TV in which he says the catchphrase, "Badda book. Badda boom."
For Byers, he started taking acting seriously after the ankle injury derailed a promising football season.
"Everything I worked for was gone," Byers said. "We were the No. 2 team in New York State."
While at Greeley, Byers played quarterback, was a sectional champion in the javelin his sophomore year and was state runner-up in swimming in the 50 and 100 freestyle his senior year.
During his injury, Byers started taking acting classes at Greeley and once he saw his dad in a Broadway production of "The Music Man," he was officially bitten by the bug.
Acting runs in Byers' family. Besides his father, who has done numerous films and TV shows, his great aunt was Margaret Hamilton, who portrayed The Wicked Witch of the West in "The Wizard of Oz."
After Greeley, Byers went to Denison University where he did theater and swam, becoming a four-time national champion and 26-time All-American.
"I learned how to budget time and how to be disciplined. I would have practice and rehearsal throughout the day while I tried to get enough sleep," Byers said. "I loved what I was doing."
After graduation, Byers moved to New York City, where he began his career as a working actor. He has also written a play about a relative who was shot down over Yugoslavia during World War II called "Luft Gangster," and earned his Masters in Fine Arts from the Old Globe Acting Program in San Diego.
Byers said he was happy to book the Choice Hotel commercial and said it is surreal seeing himself on TV. He said when he travels, he makes sure to stay at Choice Hotels.
Being a working actor can be a tough business and Byers said you learn to deal with rejection.
"You never necessarily know what is going when they make the casting decision," Byers said. "The best thing is to be as prepared as possible."
For the Choice Hotel commercial, Byers said he made sure he was clean shaven and showed up wearing a suit and tie. Byers said he makes sure he is not crushed if he doesn't get a part.
"You just have no idea what the director and producer are looking for," Byers said. "A lot of it is being in the right place at the right time. You never know who might be in the room. Even if you don't get the job, they might want you for another job."
When he's not acting, Byers is also working as a fight choreographer, which he learned in graduate school. As a fight choreographer, Byers said he makes sure fights end up as realistic as possible.
"You have to figure out the angles of the audience and the angels of the camera work," Byers said.
Any aspiring actor needs to have a thick skin, Byers said.
"If you really want it, go after it," Byers said. "Don't give up. It's a business where you have to take the punches but it can be worth it."
To view one of Byers' commercials, click here .
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