Being on TV is not all it’s cracked up to be, according to “Fame” star Lee Curreri.
The actor, who played Bruno Martelli in the 1980 movie and its small-screen spinoff from 1982 to 1987, revealed that the show’s cast was not exactly well compensated.
“We were getting less than people in half-hour sitcoms were getting,” Curreri exclusively told Page Six. “So imagine you’re making sort of a middle-class salary but you’re on TV so everyone expects you to be wealthy.
“And you’ve got a manager and an agent and sometimes even a publicist,” he continued. “And that money goes really quickly unless you supplement it in other ways by reaching outside and doing other things.”
The Bronx-born musician, 60, was quick to note, however, that “breaking out on your own” can often upset network brass and producers because “then they have an unstable cast and they want everyone to be sort of subservient.”
He added, “It’s just all around a hard thing, and you don’t really get anywhere unless you’re a rebel.”
Curreri was just a 19-year-old student at the Manhattan School of Music when a teacher recommended him to the “Fame” movie’s casting agent to play the shy but talented pianist.
After starring in the Oscar-winning flick, the performer reprised his role as Bruno in the TV series. He called the show an “interesting” experience, as he did not have someone to guide him through the pitfalls and “Hollywood hierarchy.”
“It was a lesson for me,” he explained. “And it’s a lesson that is hard to learn until you’re out of it and then you go, ‘Oh yeah, I see what was happening there. And I see how I could have handled that differently. And I see how representation is supposed to take over at this point.’”
These days, Curreri is happy being behind the scenes. He is currently busy working on Christmas songs for holiday-themed shows.
He is also set to appear in Tuesday’s “Stars in the House” game night, which will feature the cast of “Fame” squaring off against “Glee” alums including Jenna Ushkowitz and Kevin McHale. All funds raised from the livestreamed event support The Actors Fund.
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