Primetime For Leland

Wheeling native and New York-based actor Leland Alexander Wheeler is scheduled to make his network primetime television debut with a guest appearance on “Blue Bloods” on CBS at 10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 29.

In this episode of the popular new show starring Tom Selleck, Wheeler plays a high school kid in the first scene of the show and has six or seven lines of dialogue.

In this scene shot on location in New York’s West Village, his character and two other teens die of a drug overdose.

The episode is titled “Smack Attack,” and CBS promotional material states that “Danny (who is played by series regular Donnie Wahlberg) works to discover the source of a deadly narcotic after three teenagers die from a drug overdose.”

Area fans will want to make sure they watch the episode from the very beginning; we’re told that Wheeler’s appearance takes place in the first three minutes of the episode. Not only is Wheeler making his primetime debut, but also he is appearing on one of this season’s few hit shows. In its Oct. 25-31 issue, TV Guide magazine reported that “Blue Bloods” is “the most-watched show of Friday night.”

Wheeler, the son of Phyllis Sigal and Bruce Wheeler of Wheeling, also traveled to Berlin, Germany, in October to film a commercial for Vodafone, a European cell phone company. In August, he played a vampire in a low-budget film, “Blood Junkies,” shot in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York; his photograph was featured in the center spread of the Brooklyn edition of the New York Daily News.

He also played a student in “We Need to Talk About Kevin,” a feature film starring Tilda Swinton and John C. Reilly, that is expected to be released in spring 2011.

Wheeler was “Tyler B.” in a national commercial for Epiduo acne medicine. Area viewers may be most familiar with his earlier, local commercials for Belmont Technical College.

He started acting at the age of 9 at the Cornerstone Project, which was run by Bob Athey in Wheeling. Wheeler’s first “big” role, at age 10, was Winthrop in “Music Man” at Wheeling Park High School. A 2006 graduate of Park, he acted in community theater at Towngate Theatre and in Wheeling Park High School’s fall plays and spring musicals.

Wheeler also attended Stagedoor Manor, a well-known and respected theater camp in the Catskills of New York.

(Other alumni include Robert Downey Jr., Zach Braff, Natalie Portman, John Cryer and Mandy Moore.

He graduated from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York in 2008.

Currently, Wheeler auditions for television, theater, commercials and movies, and is a bartender at Maxie’s Bar and Grill in New York.

His agent in New York is a friend of Mary Lou Birkett, the cook at King’s Daughters Day Care, Wheeling, where he attended as child. She hooked him up with the agent, John Shea, when he was in high school. They kept in touch, and Shea came to his final play at AADA, and took him on as a client four days after he graduated.

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The debate between the candidates in West Virginia’s First Congressional District race attracted considerable attention and an audience of more than 200 people at West Virginia Northern Community College in Wheeling Wednesday evening, Oct. 20.

But, lo, another popular event was taking place a block away in the Friendly City at the very same time. A crowd of 126 people filled the Ohio County Public Library’s auditorium for the second class of Dr. David Javersak’s popular History of Wheeling course. It is the initial offering in the People’s University program instituted by the library.

The third class in Javersak’s course will be held at the library at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 27. The free course is open to all adults in the community; each presentation is self-contained so new students can join the class at any time.

Linda Comins can be reached via e-mail at: