Actor Steve Valentine is loving life as one of Jill Hennessy's coroner cronies on Crossing Jordan (airing Mondays at 10 pm/ET on NBC). "Dr. Nigel Townsend is an amalgam of several jobs in the morgue," he tells TV Guide Online. "He's a forensic criminologist, pathologist and photographer. He's also a biker and does a bit of fashion designing on the side! Next season, his skills as an ex-British soldier will come into play, too."
The statuesque Londoner "I'm six-foot-four. Six-foot-seven, counting the hair!" calls his roots both a blessing and a curse to his career.
"Being English has its advantages," Valentine grins. "Everything you say sounds official. The bad thing is, there can be typecasting in this town. Tim Curry once told me, 'You'll have a wonderful life playing villains and maitre d's.' So it's been my goal to make sure that's not the case, that I'm not playing snobby caricatures."
Of course, Valentine's memorable TV commercials which he says tend to attract "unusual" fan recognition are an exception. "When I played the Earl of Sandwich in the Jack in the Box ad," he notes, "at the end of the spot, I say, 'Silence!' Now, people come up to me in the street who recognize me from Crossing Jordan and say, 'I know it's you. I know you're the Earl of Sandwich.' As if I'm trying to hide something! They go, 'I recognize you underneath that wig and all that pancake makeup.' And then they yell, 'Silence!' and walk away. It's hysterical, but it's quite terrifying, really."