You may have seen Mark Axelowitz – a managing director at UBS Wealth Management — on television before.
We don’t mean on CNBC or Bloomberg TV either even though he’s appeared on both financial networks.
The 53-year-old Wall Street financial advisor has played roles on hit television shows “Law & Order”, “Blue Bloods” and “Boardwalk Empire.” He was also in “The Three Stooges” movie (2012).
It’s a hobby that he accidentally fell into while in his 40s.
In 2004, at an event benefiting the Boys & Girls Harbor, an education and performing arts non-profit supported by many in the finance industry, “Law & Order” executive producer Dick Wolf donated a speaking role on the popular television show as an auction item.
That evening, Axelowitz engaged in a bidding war against actor Chevy Chase for the coveted auction item. In the end, the Wall Street financial advisor won the role for $US10,000.
For the part, Axelowitz got to play a jury foreman in an episode called “Fixed” (Season 15, episode 11). He went to Chelsea Piers in Lower Manhattan for a weekend of filming.
It was his first time being exposed to the world of television and he was pumped. He got to get his make-up done for the first time, and excitedly told the other actors how he had 19 words to recite.
People on set thought that was funny because “real” actors don’t memorise how many words they have.
The financial advisor, who is used to giving presentations and speaking publicly because of job, thought he would cruise through his part.
“Because I only had 19 words I did not rehearse my lines much at all before I got onto the set. Because I did public speaking over the years, I did not think I would get nervous,” he told Business Insider.
He admitted that he was “dead wrong” on that one. When it was time for him to deliver his lines, he stuttered.
“It was a whole different ball game. When you are on set and all the lights, and all the cameras and all of the celebrities are looking at you, in my case, I got nervous, which is why we had to do a number of takes because I stumbled on one particular word.”
Even to this day, he still remembers those 19 words. It was the word “degree”, that couldn’t spit out.
Judge: “Have you reached a verdict?”
Jury Foreman (Axelowitz): “Your honour.”
Judge: “How say you?”
Jury Foreman (Axelowitz): “On the charge of murder in the second degree, we the jury find the defendant not guilty.”
When Axelowitz is on the set of a show, he doesn’t advertise that he’s a Wall Streeter. Most folks on set assume that he’s a working actor.
“I’m not doing it for the money,” he explained. “I do not golf. I do not play tennis. My philanthropic work and my acting are my passions and my hobbies.”
When he’s compensated for acting, he donates it back to charity. For example, for “Law & Order” he would receive checks for $US2,000 making a total of $US10,000. All of that money went back to the Boys & Girls Harbor.
Other charities have benefited from Axelowitz’s hobby as well. He’s on the board of the Boys & Girls Harbor and co-hosts an annual investment conference alongside hedge fund manager Bill Ackman. He’s also been active with popular Wall Street charity the Robin Hood Foundation since 1992. He does giving outside of those as well.
While on set, he found a common interest with people through his involvement in philanthropy.
“What was interesting on the set of Law & Order as a rookie that I was, you don’t talk to the stars. Somehow, Sam Waterson and I ended up speaking and I ended up helping him do work on set in his dressing room putting together mailings for this Lutheran Church fundraiser helping him seal envelopes.”
Also, on the set, he met a director, Alison Thompson, who had a strong interest in volunteer work. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks Thompson spent months volunteering at Ground Zero. Axelowitz and his family helped support her volunteer efforts in Sri Lanka following the tsunami and in Haiti following the earthquake.
Since Law & Order, he’s been on “Blue Bloods” (crime scene detective) and HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” (court reporter). He also played the doctor in “The Three Stooges” movie.
He’s now member of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) thanks to the help of Alison Thompson.
He’s also been working with acting coach Gary Swanson, who was a student of legendary acting teacher Lee Strasberg.
Right now, Axelowitz is in the process of producing a short film with a few of his Hollywood contacts. It’s a 10-minute film that has a socially conscious message about the ill-effects of soda on children, he explained. The name of the short is “Can’t Beat The Real Thing” — meaning you can’t beat natural drinks.
Axelowitz certainly wants to be remembered for his acting in addition to his other roles in life.
“I define myself first as a father of three, a husband of 20-five years. And then a philanthropist. You don’t have to be a billionaire to be a philanthropist….as long as you give away some of your resources… most importantly your time and your talent. Third, what I do for my day job as a financial advisor of 27 years. And fourth, as an actor.”
“I believe life is very short. It’s not a dress rehearsal. I want to try as many things as possible.”
Now check out some photos of Axelowitz below:
Here’s Axelowitz getting his makeup done for “The Three Stooges.”
In his “Three Stooges” cast chair
On set of “Blue Bloods” with crime scene detective Jennifer Esposito
Axelowitz with “30 Rock” star Alec Baldwin
Axelowitz with Alison Thompson, producer of “The Third Wave”, and Tony Duke, the founder of the Boys & Girls’ Harbor.
On set of “The Three Stooges” with Will Sasso (Curly)
Axelowitz with one of his favourite actors, Paul Newman.
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