Could you tell us about your charity?
Today I'm playing for Smile Train, and it's an organization that fixes cleft palates throughout the world, uh, for people who can't afford it. For $250 they're able to fix a cleft palate and give a child--people--40-, 50-year olds who've lived their whole lives debilitating cleft, uh, palates--uh, a chance to, y'know, lead a more normal life.
What would winning $1,000,000 mean to your charity?
I'm glad you're not going to force me to do the math, because off the top of my head, I couldn't figure it out, but it's an awful lot of cleft surgeries. Uh, I was recently in Haiti, and I saw how they do it, uh, and what's also great is they empower the locals, the local doctors to do the surgeries themselves. So, uh, winning this money would really be, uh, a wonderful, wonderful gift to this great organization.
Are you more or less nervous to play Jeopardy! this time?
I'm a little more nervous, uh, I think because, y'know, I don't know, once you've been through the fire--I don't know, it's not that you get more acclimated, I think you just get a little more nervous of, "Yeah, I have to live up." I actually won last time, so, that's why I'm back here. "I need to win again." I hope I win again.
What do you think of your competition?
Yeah, Harry I'm very worried about. Look, NPR. He's--he's part of NPR. You know, that's a smarty pants organization. Uh, Josh, he's the wildcard. Not too familiar. He's been playing dumb backstage. I got two worthy opponents to look at.
What categories are you hoping to see?
Yes, I--I--I'm hoping not to see MUSICALS, I'm hoping to see FOOTBALL. Uh, MIXED MARTIAL ARTS. Uh, anything having to do with my children. Uh--and not ALL MY CHILDREN. And, uh, I don't know. FILM? That's about it. FINE WINES. Yeah.
"On TV, he's worked both sides of the law. Once a serial killer on HBO's Oz, he's now in his 11th season as detective Elliot Stabler on Law & Order: SVU. Here's..."
Playing on behalf of Smile Train.
Emmy-nominated actor Christopher Meloni, perhaps best known for his role in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, continues to uncover success in television while cultivating a film career and a reputation as someone that directors and fellow actors want to work with again and again.
This past January he was at the Sundance Film Festival with Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, a drama starring Julianne Nicholson, Timothy Hutton and Bobby Cannavale that was nominated for the festival's Grand Jury Prize.
Upcoming for Meloni is Paramount's apocalyptic thriller Carriers, in which he stars with Chris Pine and Piper Perabo. He was recently seen in Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay (New Line), the sequel to the hit comedy Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, in which he also appeared, and Nights in Rodanthe (Warner Bros.) with Diane Lane and Richard Gere, who previously worked with Meloni and Julia Roberts in Runaway Bride. Starring with Amy Poehler, Bradley Cooper and Paul Rudd in the 2001 independent comedy Wet Hot American Summer, Meloni was singled out for his performance as a temperamental chef cooking at a summer camp. "Best of all is Christopher Meloni's Gene, the Vietnam-veteran camp cook whose delusions and fetishes grow ever more outrageous," wrote Daily Variety. His other feature films include two with director Terry Gilliam, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Twelve Monkeys, along with the Wachowski Brothers' Bound and Ivan Reitman's Junior.
On television, Meloni stars for his tenth season as detective and family man Elliot Stabler on NBC's top-ten rated Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. In a world of horrific sex crimes, his character is a solid, steady force with a great capacity for compassion. SVU is consistently the timeslot's highest rated show and has helped Christopher Meloni gain the second highest TV recognizability (TV Quotient) for a male star.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, for five seasons Meloni portrayed duplicitous inmate Chris Keller on HBO's intense prison drama Oz. Recently seen in Nickelodeon's Gym Teacher, starring as a humiliated former gold medal contender-turned-gym teacher who finally gets a shot at redemption, his additional work in television includes guest appearances on NYPD Blue, Homicide: Life on the Street and Scrubs. He also starred in the series Leaving L.A. and in several miniseries including In a Child's Name and Mario Puzo's The Last Don.
On the live stage, Meloni received critical praise for his 2005 starring role as Eddie Carbone in Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge at Dublin's prestigious Gate Theatre. He was honored as Best Actor in Ireland's highest theater awards from the Irish Times, which called him "...the real thing, tremendously forceful presence with all the confidence fame brings and none of the self-indulgence."
A native of Washington, D.C., Meloni attended the University of Colorado in Boulder, where he first became interested in acting. After graduation, he took a construction job in his hometown until a high school acquaintance inspired him to move to New York to study acting. It was there that Meloni apprenticed at the Neighborhood Playhouse, and got his first big break as the lead in the NBC comedy The Fanelli Boys. A resident of New York, Christopher Meloni enjoys traveling, athletics, martial arts and the joys of fatherhood.