Go Away With … James Denton

(Denver Post file photo )

By Jae-Ha Kim
May 12, 2009

James Denton is best known for playing Mike Delfino on the ABC hit series “Desperate Housewives.” But some Chicago diners may remember him as the super friendly waiter who served them at Harry Caray’s or on the Odyssey dinner cruise.

“I really enjoyed being a waiter and took the job seriously,” says Denton, 46. “I never looked at it as something I had to do ’cause I was an actor. It was a really interesting and fascinating job.” Born in Nashville, Denton honed his acting chops at Chicago’s Griffin Theatre and Strawdog Theatre.

The two-hour season finale of “Desperate Housewives” airs May 17. When the series ends in a couple years, Denton says he’s moving his family from California to Montana.

“We bought a house in Livingston a few years ago and spend most of my hiatus time there already,” he says. “I really want my kids to grow up there, rather than Los Angeles.”

Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?
My favorite place is Bonaire. I’m a scuba diver, so I’m spoiled by the warm water there. I’m determined to get back there. They really cater to divers, which is great for someone like me who’s not a big partier. Another favorite place is Australia. My wife doesn’t dive, so I didn’t get many dives in. But there’s so much to do. We started in Sydney and then went to Cairns. We stayed at an eco lodge called the Sanctuary Retreat (www.sanctuaryretreat.com.au) that had rooms on stilts. It was amazing. You’d be in the city one day and then in a rain forest the next.

Q. Do you travel with your children?
My kids are four and six years old and they’ve been on planes a lot. We almost did a safari this year, because the six year old has been begging us to do it. But we’re going to put it off a little bit until they’re both older. It’s so expensive, so we want to make sure they remember it.

Q. Where are your favorite weekend getaways?
There’s nowhere that we go to regularly, but we go on short getaways to hear music or watch sports. We like Palm Springs. We went to Chicago to see the White Sox. (I went to) Denver to see Bruce Springsteen. It’s fun doing spur of the moment things.

Q. What are your favorite hotels and restaurants?
I love Harry Caray’s (www.harrycarays.com). When you hear the name, you think of ballpark food. But it’s fine dining. St. Elmo Steak House (www.stelmos.com) in Indianapolis is fantastic! Peyton Manning turned me onto that. We always swap things for charities. I’ll give him “Desperate Housewives” stuff and he’ll give me Indianapolis Colts items. As for hotels, we stay at the Fairmont in Chicago. But in general, Donald Trump really does it up right. Trump Towers Hotel in New York is fantastic. And the Ritz is great, too. I would like to point out that I would never pay that much money to stay at any of those places, though. I stay there for work. I’ll stay at the Motel 6 on my own money.

Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?
Just my laptop. People kid me ’cause I can’t bring myself to convert to a BlackBerry or something smaller. The set joke on “Desperate Housewives” is that they’re going to make me a huge leather case to carry my laptop around on my belt.

Q. What is your worst vacation memory?
I go to Phoenix every year for spring training. My car broke down and my friend and I had no money, so we had to sit around at the local Pep Boys waiting for the car to get fixed. We did manage to walk to the park and watch the game. And we stayed at a Motel 6.

© 2009 JAE-HA KIM

May 12, 2009

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