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posted: 11/12/2013 5:30 AM

History skits fed Odenkirk's acting bug at Naperville school

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Mentors? Comedian/actor/writer Bob Odenkirk from LaGrange and Naperville has had a few, most notably Second City fixture Del Close.

But reaching, way, way back, Odenkirk credited a social studies teacher at Jefferson Junior High School in Naperville with providing the pivotal moment that changed his life.

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"We had a social studies project on history and I wanted to do little performance themes," Odenkirk said. "This turned out to be my first foray into writing comedy. I did scenes about Ghana. the Chicago Fire and Abraham Lincoln. They were informative scenes and the teacher let me perform them for the class.

"Then he sent me around to other classes in school to do them. They were funny and they got laughs. That told me I could do comedy. That was incredible encouragement to write and perform and to get feedback from an audience. That was where I started. It gave me a great foundation."

Odenkirk couldn't quite remember the teacher's name, except to say it starts with a C and sounds Italian. We contacted the Naperville Unit District 203 superintendent's office in hopes of tracking down this amazing teacher (from the early 1970s), but so far, no leads.

So if you have any clues to the name of this mystery mentor, contact us at dgire@dailyherald.com or jsotonoff@dailyherald.com.

Like good teachers, we like to give credit where credit is overdue.

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