A journeyman finds a home 

click to enlarge Right, actor Patrick Noonan in the 2023 film "Jules."


Right, actor Patrick Noonan in the 2023 film "Jules."

When asked if he is a "journeyman actor," Patrick Noonan belts out a big laugh.

Not that he disagrees with the definition of an experienced, reliable performer who has made a living consistently for decades, enjoying little- to- no fame. In fact, that describes him perfectly. He's just never heard the term "journeyman" applied to his trade.

"I'm a lunch-box-carrying kind of guy," he says. "I just want to work."

He's hoping work becomes more plentiful now that SAG-AFTRA's 118-day strike has ended after a tentative contract deal was reached with television and film production companies on Nov. 8.

If union members ratify the agreement, the three-year contract will boost wages 7% in the first year, another 4% in July 2024, and 3.5% in July 2025. The deal also includes a bonus to existing residuals for performers whose work is featured on streaming services.

In a perfect world, Noonan would have preferred to get a revenue percentage for the streaming shows in which he appears, but says this isn’t a bad alternative.

"We won as far as getting our foot into the door,” he says. “We will renegotiate in three years, and at least now, we're coming from a position of at least a little power, as opposed to no power at all."

The television, film, and stage actor says the last few months have been difficult with fewer job opportunities, but regional theater has been one oasis. Noonan just wrapped up his 25th year in the cast of the romping comedy "Sheer Madness" at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

After the final curtain call, he's clearing out his apartment in Yonkers and moving back to Rochester to be near his wife, Leah's, family. (Editor’s note: Leah Noonan started a new job as WXXI’s Director of Leadership Giving in October 2023.)

The couple met in Rochester in 2011 when Patrick appeared in Geva's production of "On Golden Pond."

Noonan lived here for a few years while they dated and then early in their marriage, but commuting to New York for auditions became too much.

That was, of course, before remote auditions became standard. Like so many other industries, film and television had to become flexible to survive the pandemic. So when the Noonans find a home in the Rochester area, Patrick will set up his green screen, mic, and smartphone tripod and send his digital shoots to casting directors.

click to enlarge Actor Patrick Noonan relocated to Rochester in fall 2023 with his wife, Leah, a Rochester native. - PHOTO PROVIDED.
  • Actor Patrick Noonan relocated to Rochester in fall 2023 with his wife, Leah, a Rochester native.
He admits there is a geographic bias in regional theater, which he also plans to continue pursuing. New York City-based actors are given more clout and respect than actors from Rochester, Buffalo, or any other mid-sized city.

"I can be the same person that I would be in Rochester and New York, but the ‘New York Patrick’ actor is way more attractive than the 'Rochester Patrick’ actor," Noonan explains. "Very bizarre."

His solution is to continue telling directors that he's from New York. "Just because I'm six hours away doesn't mean I'm not local," he says.

Even though his acting credentials haven't led to stardom, a shrewd television viewer or film buff might recognize Noonan.

In season one of the “Sex and the City” reboot "And Just Like That,", he shares a poignant scene with Sarah Jessica Parker.

For those not up-to-date on Max's reboot, here's a spoiler alert. Noonan is the doorman who hands Carrie Bradshaw a package containing the cremated remains of her late husband, Mr. Big, who tragically died of sudden cardiac arrest in episode one.

Noonan had quite a bit of real-world, Big Apple experience to call on for the role.

"All those years - about a decade or more - (I spent) as a bellman, it was just leading up to that," he laughed.

But viewers might be more likely to recognize Noonan in the one role which he happily admits he's been type-cast: police officer. He plays one in "Jules," which hit theaters this summer, and in the upcoming psychological thriller, "Eileen" starring Anne Hathaway. It opens December 1.

"As long as there are going to be cops around," he says, "I know I'll have jobs."

Maybe it's in his DNA. Noonan comes from a law enforcement family — his father was a Milwaukee County deputy sheriff, and two of his uncles and a cousin wore badges. He almost became a cop himself.

"And now I'm an actor that just plays cops all the time," he says. "It's a lot safer; a lot less paperwork."

Based in Rochester again, the humble, hardworking 53-year-old feels lucky to be closer to the people and places he loves and still work as an actor.

“I get the best of both worlds,” he says, “and I did not expect that.”

Beth Adams is the Morning Edition host for WXXI. Feedback about this article can be directed to [email protected].
click image champion-story-banner.gif


Website powered by Foundation     |     © 2024 CITY Magazine