Longtime Packer-backer Tony Shalhoub admits to half-rooting for Vikings

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Acclaimed screen actor and Green Bay native Tony Shalhoub is as big a Packers fan as they come; but he admits that he once rooted for the Vikings because of his affinity of a former Green and Gold great.

During a recent phone call for the video release of his latest film "Pain & Gain," Shalhoub, 59, said, "I'm going to have to hang up" when I told him I was a Vikings fan. Eventually, though, he came around and said that shades of purple once ran through his veins.

"I saw Brett Favre play with the Vikings at Lambeau and it was fantastic," Shalhoub recalled. "I think it was the one time where I kind of became a half of a Vikings fan because I was such a huge fan of his."

Shalhoub, who was born in Green Bay in 1953 and lived there until he was 19, tries to carve out as much time as he can to see games at Lambeau despite his busy Hollywood schedule.

"I grew up in the Lombardi era, so you had to become a football fan, and I'm still a season ticket holder," Shalhoub said. "I have six of my dad's tickets -- because he had many when I was growing up -- so I try to get back for a game or two when I can."

If the timing's right, Shalhoub said he tries hard to make it Vikings-Packers games.

"I do love those games because the rivalry is just so heated," Shalhoub enthused.

Shalhoub has been a mainstay in Hollywood since the late 1980s, starring in such TV hits as "Wings" and in the title role on "Monk," which earned him three Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Emmys and another five nominations in the same category.

He's currently working on the new CBS sitcom "We Are Men."

The actor has also starred in several films, including "The Siege," "Galaxy Quest," "Men in Black" and its first sequel, and "Cars," where he voiced the character of Luigi.

"Pain & Gain," where Shalhoub plays the pivotal role of an arrogant businessman who is kidnapped by three bodybuilders, is on Blu-ray and DVD Tuesday.

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