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Insider Profiles

From Child Star to Bonsai Master, Danny Pintauro Rediscovers Himself

Danny Pintauro"I finally bought a baby bonsai and before I knew it I had 15 of them all over the yard."


While "Jonathan," the character Danny Pintauro portrayed in the '80s hit sitcom "Who's the Boss?," was able to grow up in front of a TV audience, the actor's personal coming-of-age drama got derailed and played out in private. "I started acting at 2 and did that until I was 15," explains Pintauro. "I never really had a chance to say, 'I want to be a fireman when I grow up,' that whole thing that most kids get to do."

So after the show, he ventured off to rediscover himself. "I was never really convinced I was supposed to be an actor," admits Pintauro. That journey has earned him a degree at Stanford, taken him behind the camera in various roles, led to stage work, propelled him to New York, and ultimately brought him back to the city he's always called home, Los Angeles. Through it all, Pintauro has embraced his personal path with enthusiasm and determination, treating each phase as a precious gift. He's a living, breathing example of the old adage that it's the journey that matters, not the destination. "I don't think I could've come to the place I am now, this final rediscovery," Pintauro muses, "without learning that I really just need to focus on what I want."

And what Pintauro really wants next is to become a bonsai master. "I'd go to Yamaguchi Bonsai Nursery in West Los Angeles for garden supplies but would end up in the bonsai section in the back," he laughs. "I finally bought a baby bonsai, and before I knew it I had 15 of them all over the yard." Now every Saturday Pintauro drives to Fuji Bonsai Nursery in Sylmar, California, to study with bonsai master Roy Nagatoshi. "You bring in your bonsai and he'll tell you what's wrong with it," says Pintauro. "Or he'll challenge you to figure out what it needs."

The inspiration for his miniature trees often comes from Pintauro's sojourns to his favorite hidden horticultural paradise, the Huntington Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California. "The gardens are just astounding — nothing else compares," he enthuses. "It's so beautiful, and there's always something new to explore."

Eventually, Pintauro hopes to turn his bonsai hobby into a business, but in the meantime, he's found a fun way to put his acting skills to work in his new role as a Tupperware representative. "I needed time to develop the bonsai business but didn't want to sit behind a desk 9 to 5" explains Pintauro, who's grateful for having stumbled upon his present gig with Tupperware. "It's been a great ride," he says in typical wide-eyed fashion.

Although he claims to have left showbiz behind, Pintauro still enjoys a passion for theater. "I absolutely love theater and try to go as often as I can," he says. For great local drama, he heads to a neighborhood gaining recognition as the small-theater capital of Los Angeles: North Hollywood. "The whole area is known as NoHo," Pintauro explains. "The quality of acting is really great and none of those actors are going to find themselves in the bigger theaters downtown. So it's nice to see the local L.A. actors strutting their stuff."

And it's good to see a former child actor like Danny Pintauro thriving in a leading-man role as an adult.

Check out Danny’s L.A.