Posted: August 7, 2015 in Uncategorized


My relationship with the idea of fame spans decades now. I’ve been an actor for 30 years, so I’d like to say it starts there or from 25 years ago when I did the movie “Hook,” but in all honestly, it starts before that. See, fame, for lack of a better definition, is just people knowing you, that you don’t know. And being from a small town and being a performer, I got my very first taste of fame at a young age. I was probably around 8 when I won my first breakdancing competition, I remember getting a trophy bigger than me and just like that, I was everybody’s little cousin. To this day, if I run into a Filipino in Cali, the Bay or LA, there is a chance that they’ll tell me, “you know, I think we’re related.” and who knows… Maybe we are.
Now traveling around at that age, I remember getting confronted by another crew in Lake Tahoe of all places, who knew us, our crew, by name and challenged us to a break off right there in a hallway of a casino. We won… and yo, that’s a lot of fame for an 8 year old kid.
As I’ve grown up and have been fortunate to have a career span three decades so far in the crazy industry, where just surviving through a pilot season can be considered a success. I happened to do some roles that became iconic for certain generations or fan bases, namely Rufio and Zuko, and thus I become recognizable, some would argue, one of the most recognizable Asian in American.
Now fame, for those that don’t know or don’t have much fame… doesn’t really do anything. I mean, the fact that people recognize you or appreciate some of your past work, is nice, but there is no real tangible-ness to it. It doesn’t, in and of itself, doesn’t add to your pockets. What I mean to say is, fame… at least how I see it, is really just a tool. It’s something that if used right can be leverage to help create new projects or open up doors. But fame by itself, can get you in trouble. If you’re chasing fame to feel validated or fill some kind of hole you may have… That can get dangerous. Because it’s so elusive, and like I said, not that tangible. One day it can be here, the next day it can just float away.
But nowadays, it’s not just the artist in this fame game, all of us with social media accounts are out there, vulnerable to the public scrutiny. Many of us can get really depressed from the negativity that ultimately comes at all of us. But the reality is, we’re not as bad as anyone says we are… but on the flip side, we’re not really as good as people say we are either. You’re just you. For those of us that take the negativity too hard, it’s probably because we’re putting too much stock in the “likes” and “follows.” We just are who we are… I think we forget that sometimes, myself included.
So I’ve been lucky in my life, to have this so called “fame”, which can range from someone shaking with nervousness when meeting me for the first time, to someone who just knows he knows my face from somewhere… thinks we might of went to school together. Funny thing about fame, it’s not something you can create, sometimes it’s just something that happens, no matter how much we try, we can’t truly control what people care about. And it can be a blessing or a curse… and with that, we can give the guy tweeting at me a little negativity, a little fame for the moment.

  1. Joseph says:

    Don’t trip off this guy, you probably aren’t but you’ll be a man who will be remembered. Whether by fame, or something else, Dante Basco will be a cherished name. At least to me that is.

  2. Patrick Deguzman says:

    As an aspiring actor (even though in reality I’m really just a Filipino college student swimming in debt trying to get a health science degree haha) I always questioned what fame really was. In my mind, fame was the amount of people who know you or your work. Basically I wanted to make sure that literally EVERYONE knew about me. (Quite a task for someone who wants to be the Filipino Jackie Chan 😝) But after reading your post I’ve come to the conclusion that my mindset may be leading me to that dangerous path that you mentioned. I’m being consumed by my pursuit of fame.Like you said, fame is extremely elusive. I may never achieve my goal of being the pinoy Jackie Chan . Heck, I may not even make it as an actor! But when I eventually do finish school, pay off my debts, take that gamble and jump into this crazy world we call the acting business, I will remember this post. I’ll remember that fame, no matter how small, if used properly can lead to many opportunities in an industry where people’s careers can range from flashes in the pan or long-term success and at the end of the day, just be myself and don’t let negativity affect me too much. Well that’s my two cents after reading this lol Anyways, Thank you for putting the Filipino people on the map within the acting industry and for giving guys like me hope that one day i can do the same. Mabuhay!

    -Patrick Deguzman

  3. Tracy Cee says:

    People like Ethan seem rather insecure and look to their computers to put others down. Pay him no attention at all. Your known for the good works that you’ve down. Not everyone creates a little video message for an autistic kid who was being bullied in school. 😉 You’ve done a lot of good in the world!

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