On the weekend that President Trump announced his travel ban, Alec Baldwin, 58, tweeted “when I travel back to the US, I hope they have a box for me to check that reads "Muslim Irish Catholic."
Irish Catholic he certainly is, of the Long Island kind, Massapequa on the south shore to be exact, the sixth most Irish town in New York state according to a 2015 survey.
Lots of famous Irish Americans share the Long Island Irish experience, including film director Ed Burns and TV hosts Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly.
The Long Island Irish experience featured large families, suburban sprawl, God, country, and JFK-loving parents back before Reagan grabbed them.
when I travel back to the US, I hope they have a box for me to check that reads "Muslim Irish Catholic."— ABFoundation (@ABFalecbaldwin) January 29, 2017
Long Island is a hot-bed of such Irish. Political differences apart, Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, Baldwin, and Burns all call Long Island home and share the same working class roots and gritty Irish endurance. Though Baldwin, of course, would not thank you for the comparison to O'Reilly and Hannity, they are all up from the bootstraps men.
Born not far away, twelve years earlier, was a man called Donald Trump, a Queens native who grew up in a mansion.
If Trump slumps he can lay some of the blame on his nearly neighbor from Long Island. Baldwin’s devastating put downs of Trump have become the force majeure of the campaign against him (who can forget “SIRI how do I defeat ISIS?”). Until Melissa McCarthy began savaging Sean Spicer, Trump's Press Secretary, Baldwin was pretty much holding the fort alone, tossing flaming arrows over the parapet every weekend on SNL. The new president did not like it one bit.
The name Baldwin descends from Norman settlers in Ireland and it is said to mean, “brave, bold,” though another interpretation says it means “wine drinker.” We’re sure neither description would bother Alec.
Alexander Rae “Alec” Baldwin is a man used to fame. The 58-year-old actor is an Emmy Award-winning performer, but his most recent role as Donald Trump on "Saturday Night Live" has propelled him into the political spotlight in a way few actors experience.
The Irish American’s weekly skit skewering the new administration is now compulsory viewing for political journalists, Washington insiders and bleeding heart liberals alike. The show has cemented its place in the national conversation with no rival even coming close to its influence.
The most recent clip, which parodied President Trump’s legal troubles with his travel ban, has 9 million YouTube hits alone and sketches about his debates with Hillary Clinton clocked up over 20 million.
Their reach even extends as far as the Oval Office. The Washington Post reported Trump to be particularly hurt by SNL’s portrayal of his Chief Strategist Steve Bannon as the real president and has lashed out on Twitter after several of Baldwin’s performances.
.@NBCNews is bad but Saturday Night Live is the worst of NBC. Not funny, cast is terrible, always a complete hit job. Really bad television!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 15, 2017
So all in all, it’d be fair to assume that the staunchly liberal Baldwin must be enjoying the howls of outrage that have emanated from Trump Tower, and now the White House, after each episode.
There was a time when his mother, Carol, predicted Baldwin would make it to the White House himself. Like many Irish American families in the 1960’s, the Baldwin clan was intensely political and huge Kennedy fans. When RFK was assassinated in 1968 young Alec and his father traveled south to Washington to witness the laying to rest of the second Kennedy brother that decade.
And while he has flirted with running for public office, his name has not yet appeared on a ballot, even though other prominent celebrities like comedian Al Franken and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger have successfully made the switch. When asked in 2006 what kind of job in politics he’d like, he told the New York Times, “If I ever ran for anything, the thing I would like to be is governor of New York.”
In 2013 he flirted with running for New York Mayor but eventually abandoned the plan to continue his career in the entertainment industry.
And no wonder. Reputedly Baldwin is worth $65 million and counting. His acting career started in television, playing the part of Billy Aldrich in the soap opera "The Doctors" from 1980 to 1982, and his bank balance has got progressively bigger ever since then.
Since then he’s wandered onto the sets of some the most iconic television shows in America’s recent history: "Friends," "Will & Grace," "The Simpsons," and "30 Rock." His filmography is equally varied. Some were huge successes, like "Pearl Harbor," while others, like "Thomas and the Magic Railroad," were ripped apart by critics. But his work in the movie industry changed his life forever in the early 90’s while working on "The Marrying Man" when he bumped into his future wife, Kim Basinger.
The pair got married in 1993 and welcomed into the world a daughter in 1995. Ireland Eliesse, as they called her, is now a successful actress and model in her own right. Her unusual name, he once tweeted, derives from her great beauty but poor ability to manage money. Both of which are clearly identifiable traits in newborns.
Baldwin and Basinger eventually split and in 2011 Baldwin began dating Hilaria Thomas, a New York yoga instructor. The two married the following year in St Patrick’s Old Cathedral, New York. They’ve since welcomed into the world in quick succession a daughter, Carmen, and two sons, Rafael and Leonardo.
A life well lived for sure, if not without controversy. In 1995 he allegedly assaulted a member of the paparazzi who photographed him and Basinger bringing newborn Ireland home from the hospital. He said at the time that he didn’t hurt the photographer. The photographer said he was punched in the nose.
In 2011 he hit the headlines after being thrown off a flight from Los Angeles when he was asked to turn his phone off. One staff member anonymously described his behavior to the New York Post as “violent, abusive and aggressive.”
But if Donald Trump’s victory is proof of anything it is that a man in public life can be forgiven any indiscretion. With an ever growing liberal following and a unique ability to rile Trump, who knows? We may even see Baldwin in the White House in 2021.