Consummate nice-guy David James Elliott has made his trajectory to success look deceptively easy, but is it all a convincing rouse? Can anyone actually escape Hollywood’s ego-inflating trance and live to tell about it?

By Adam Mimeles

Never trust a man with three first names. By all accounts, the story of David James Elliott is one of a bad boy gone good. The Canadian punk rocker turned actor takes his northern good looks to Los Angeles where he immediately finds success. He becomes the lead character on one of the longest running shows in television history and obtains fame and fortune, yet remains the same, modest Canadian who moved from Toronto to L.A. in 1990. He vacations at one of his four houses in the Bahamas and fishes off his 36-foot boat, Cuban cigars in hand. His own life could be a movie if it weren’t so perfect. But to all this I say... bullshit!

It can’t be that neat, that genteel, that... Canadian. It’s got to be a front for something more sinister. There must be more to David James Elliott, if that is his real name. I’m a cynical New Yorker and I’m not buying it. Alright, fine: I live in New Jersey, but you get my point. Geographical semantics aside, I’m here to expose David James Elliott not as the family man, triathlete, and portrayer of the righteous he seems to be, but as the cigar smoking charlatan he most certainly must be when no one is looking. Example: He says things like, “It helps to have money if you’re gonna smoke Cubans;” “I can be a compulsive guy. I can go two, three, sometimes four a day.”

This article is about more than good looking actors and cigars. This article will bust the lid off not just David James Elliott, but every pretend-to-be-modest, Mark Messier wannabe, have-it-all Canadian poseurs, once and for all.

Did I mention he’s Canadian? They just can’t all be so postcard-perfect. Are you telling me from the entertainment blitzkrieg from the great white north in the past generation (watch how fast you can actually come up with three to five insanely talented Canadians), Pam Anderson is the only one worthy of the paparazzi?

After dropping out of high school to pursue a rock career, returning to graduate, then announcing he was going to acting school, Elliot’s parents thought, “this kid is going to be a complete and total disaster,” Elliot explains. “Then, my dad came to my final performance in theatre school, he came backstage and said, ‘you know, I thought you were out of your mind and wasting your time, but you’re doing the right thing. Go for it’. That meant a lot to me.” So it’s not just a job? “This is my craft, man. It’s a business, but I didn’t go into it as a line of work, because that would be insane.” Or perhaps part of an insane plan.

My theory is that this whole veneer of Canadian down-to-earthiness is just a façade for some sort of evil plot coming straight from Celine Dion and her acolytes (minions, too), and David James Elliott—finalist to play James Bond—is their poster child. I mean, come on: he looks just like the guy whose picture comes when you buy the frame. I don’t know if the Canadians are trying to take over Hollywood, America, or the world, but I’m onto them. It’s always the quiet ones.

My first clue? Cigars. He knows ‘em. He smokes ‘em. Cubans. Lots of ‘em. Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 2’s; Cohiba Siglo VI’s, Montecristos... you name it.

He quit smoking cigarettes while on the set of “The Untouchables” but started puffing on cigars, “and somebody hooked me up with some Cubans and I went ‘wow, what a difference’.” Good thing all his beach houses are in the Bahamas.

Since he was able to smoke cigars on-screen when doing “JAG”, CBS picked up the tab (not knowing they were Cubans). Then the PC thugs complained about cigars on TV (and CBS figured out they were contraband) so, “I had to go into the closet, as it were. So much for the free Cubans.” Gaming the system, sticking it to the man. Not your average Canadian move. Cigars may be Elliot’s tell. And cigars are so aggressive, a trait only useful to a Canadian when playing hockey. Elliot said it himself, “You don’t look too tough holding a skinny little panatela, but if you got a double corona going, that’s the guy you gotta look out for.” He also warns they’re, “not for everyone. A lot of guys can’t handle it, they don’t have the stomach for it.” He later recommends I take double coronas on my fishing trip next month. Hmm.

What time is too early to light up the first cigar of the day? This, of course, is a trick question. Elliot says it’s never too early. This either means he’s the wolf in sheep’s clothing I always suspected of those shifty Canucks or he’s just sucking up because he knows I’m working for Smoke. Shifty Canuck.

Another hint he’s a front for some vast plot for Canadian world domination (which may or may not involve flannel): he’s the middle of three brothers. As the youngest of three brothers myself, I know first hand the middle never has his fingerprints on the murder weapon, but guess who ordered the hit? Elliot claims he was usually the perpetrator, egged on by his older brother. Not smart enough to be the puppeteer, only the puppet, eh? This runs deeper than I thought.

Finally, there’s the Swagger. Not a temporary “I’m smoking a really good cigar and there’s no place else in the world I’d rather be” swagger; I’m talking an “I can smoke cigars and run triathlons, full-blown, music boppin’ in your head all the time, capital ‘S’” Swagger. It seems clear David James Elliott, or DJE to the DJE Estrogen Brigade (website no longer active, sorry to say), walks around like this all the time. How gauche. Consider his own optimism in staying the course, even when a buddy he’d first arrived in Los Angeles with tossed in the towel. “I came with a friend who went back home after a little while of not making it and he said, ‘you gonna stay ‘til the bitter end?’” I said. “Jonny, I don’t think the end’s gonna be bitter.”

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SMOKE - Summer, 2007

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