When opera singer Anthony Laciura landed the role of Eddie Kessler in "Boardwalk Empire" last year, he not only launched a new career, he also made a new friend.
As Kessler, Laciura, of Teaneck, Bergen County, is the loyal valet to the main character, Nucky Thompson (portrayed by Steve Buscemi). He brought comic relief to the first season of the series as Thompson criticizes him for not knocking on a door in a manly fashion, which he later does overenthusiastically, and by telling a telephone to stop ringing as if the phone could hear him.
The Kessler character is the fictionalized version of Louis Kessel, who served as bodyguard and valet to the real-life Enoch "Nucky" Johnson.
Jamie Kessel Satz, who lives in Brigantine and is Louis Kessel's granddaughter, found out about the filming of "Boardwalk Empire" and learned her grandfather would be a character in the series.
Satz contacted HBO, spoke to the series' creator Terence Winter and offered to provide any assistance she could.
"I would love to meet her," Laciura told Winter. "I did my research, but there was not a great wealth of things on the Internet about Lou. Since then, we discovered a great deal of information about Lou," Laciura said.
Laciura and Satz talked on the phone and exchanged e-mails before meeting in person on the set. Both Laciura, 60, and Satz, 57, are married.
"When we met, it was love at first sight. What can I say," said Laciura, during a phone interview last month from Satz's house. "When I come to Brigantine, it's like coming home."
Satz has two brothers and a sister. They have all fallen in love with Laciura, who comes to Brigantine at least once per month.
"He's funny. He's talented, and he has such a big heart and is such a nice person," said Satz, who never met her grandfather, but heard her father talk about him. "My husband and I welcome him with open arms. He has his own room in our house in Brigantine. He has been down already three times this (summer) season. We went out on New Year's Eve. ... Anthony's brother came up to visit. He stayed with us."
"Nucky" Johnson gave Satz's grandfather a gold pocket watch with her grandfather's initials on it.
When Satz's grandfather died, one of the possessions Satz's grandmother had of her husband's was the gold watch. Satz gave Laciura the gold watch to use. It will be a focal point in one of the early episodes of season two, Satz said.
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