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Nick Zano ( 1978 - )  Category ( Actor_Actress ) [suggest a correction]

Like a lot of actors, Nick Zano opted to change his last name early in life.

In his case, it was quite understandable. Zano came into the world March 8, 1979 in Nutley, NJ as Nicholas Crapanzano -- not exactly a handle suited for theater marquees.

According to most of his "official" biographies, it was Zano's exposure to "Goodfellas" at age 12 that prompted him to ditch his earlier dreams of becoming a Navy Seal and turn his aspirations toward the movies.

Or, first, television. When his family moved to Wellington, FLA, near West Palm Beach, Zano and a classmate began producing weekly skits on a local cable television channel. Their friends thought they were hilarious -- the school administration, not so much.

But Zano spliced together some of those episodes and entered them in a youth filmmaking contest sponsored by Universal Studios, making the national semi-finals for three years in a row. Thus validated, he crossed the country shortly after graduating from high school and landed a job producing and creating scripts for a small independent film company in Los Angeles.

For someone who wanted to be an actor, this was creating a resume in reverse. Usually, actors become producers, rather than the other way around. Zano's approach was similar to a football player starting out as a coach before taking the field.

Gradually, though, Zano began dipping his toe into the pool of on-camera talent and showing up for casting calls. His first of these was for a movie company looking for a Japanese acrobat -- a definite stretch for the half-Irish, half-Sicilian Zano. Later, he landed bit parts in such forgettable films as "Fat Albert," "Dead On," "Sweet Potato Queens" and "Everything You Want."

Yet something Zano showed during that period caught the eye of Lou Diamond Phillips, who brought him onboard to help produce "Living Positive," a television program for World AIDS Day.

Nevertheless, Zano was still a minor player in Tinseltown, to the point where he needed a job selling shoes to keep his checks from bouncing. In true Hollywood fashion, however, he charmed one of his customers, who went back and told her bosses at MTV that this gregarious guy who helped her try on a new pair of pumps would be perfect to host an upcoming program called "Movie House."

As it turned out, Zano was perfect -- not only did he have a host's gift of gab, but an encyclopedic knowledge of films. He started with "Movie House" in 2003.

A year later, Zano landed what is, to date, his signature gig -- the role of Vince in "What I Like About You," a sit-com starring Amanda Byrnes and Jennie Garth that lasted until 2006 on the Warner Brothers' Network and acquired a loyal following.

As befits a young and attractive young actor in the prime of his tabloid appeal, Zano's love life has become an open book during relationships with Haylie Duff and Kristen Cavallari, among others.

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