Actor Jerry Trainor was nominated last year as favorite TV sidekick in the Kids Choice Awards USA. The San Diego native is a veteran of numerous sidekick roles, most recently as Carly's protective big brother, Spencer, on iCarly. Now, however, he is co-starring in his own show.
Trainor, 36, who grew up in Scripps Ranch, is portraying Vinnie in Nickelodeon's new comedy series, "Wendell & Vinnie," premiering at 8 p.m. Feb. 16.
As a video game-loving adult who runs a pop culture memorabilia store, Vinnie unexpectedly finds himself in the role of guardian for his nephew, Wendell. Although only 12, Wendell often seems the more mature of the duo.
Trainor cut his acting teeth on school plays at the University of San Diego High School (now Cathedral Catholic) where his mother, Madelyn, taught calculus until retiring last year. His dad, Bill, is a former Navy fighter pilot who later became a San Diego public defender.
Trainor went directly from college to Hollywood, appearing in a series of roles: Crazy Steve on "Drake & Josh," a tech nerd on "Crossing Jordan," the voice of Dudley Puppy on the animated "T.U.F.F. Puppy" series, to mention only a few.
He says he knew immediately when he read Jay Kogen's "Wendell & Vinnie" script that he wanted to play the role, written with him in mind and, unlike "iCarly," taped in front of a live audience. Despite his busy schedule, Trainor says he and sister, Liz, now also working in Los Angeles as a script supervisor, will continue their visits to San Diego, both to see family and to "get away from it all."
History repeats: There was a whiff of déjà-vu when Greg Cox, chairman of the Board of Supervisors, gave the 2013 "State of the County" address this week. Among the 900 or so attendees was former Congressman Jim Bates, a county supervisor from 1974 to 1982. County clerk records show that Bates delivered the first official State of the County speech in 1977.
Now retired from public service, Bates was there with his daughter, Jennifer Bates Navarra. Born when he was a supervisor, she is now vice president of development for the ARC of San Diego, aiding people with disabilities.
Like Cox today, 36 years ago Bates had stressed the county's social services, keeping taxes in check and the need to coordinate with officials in cities throughout the county.
To this end, Cox confided that he already has spoken at length with newly elected San Diego Mayor Bob Filner about improving coordination between the city and county. They agreed to work together on several issues this year. "But Bob," interjected Cox, "I'm not going to help you plan your wedding."
This was the first "State of the County" delivered aboard the USS Midway, a longtime dream of Cox. It turned into a homecoming of sorts for county Chief Operating Officer Don Steuer. He had landed a helicopter on the Midway when he served in Operation Desert Shield.
Supervisor Dianne Jacob, the emcee, noted that Cox had wanted to make a Tom Cruise "Top Gun"-style entrance, arriving aboard the aircraft carrier in a jet fighter. Fortunately, she said, his staff talked him out of it. "Unfortunately," joked Jacob, "after the speech, he plans to go down the street to Kansas City Barbeque and sing 'You've Lost That Loving Feeling' to (fellow Supervisor) Bill Horn."
Brian's song: Baritone Brian Wahlstrom, a San Diego native, takes the stage of New York's Lincoln Center in "I Sing Beijing" tonight. This kicks off a new six-city tour of the innovative opera program that combines Western opera with Mandarin Chinese modern opera.
Wahlstrom, a graduate of Rancho Bernardo High School, UC San Diego and the Manhattan School of Music, has performed leading roles in "Don Giovanni," "Summer and Smoke," "La Vida Breve" and "Godspell." Now the son of San Diegan Teresa McCune has risen to the challenge of singing lyrics in Mandarin.