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Q+A William L. Petersen

Sept. 13, 2004
Sept. 13, 2004

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Sept. 13, 2004

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Q+A William L. Petersen

The 51-year-old native of Evanston, Ill., and die-hard Chicago sports fan, is the star of the CBS drama CSI.

SI: What athlete would you like to see as a corpse on CSI?

This is an article from the Sept. 13, 2004 issue Original Layout

Petersen: Kobe Bryant, for my love of the Lakers.

SI: Your character likes to say, "Concentrate on what cannot lie: the evidence." So what does the evidence say about Chicago sports teams?

Petersen: That they ain't very good. But they do have heart and soul. Just not a lot of talent, although you can't say that about the Cubs anymore. But the Blackhawks have no talent, and they're not interested in getting any.

SI: CSI is often filmed in Las Vegas. Have you ever dropped some coin on the Cubs in a casino?

Petersen: Oh, yeah. When Kerry Wood is going and the Cubs are at minus-105. You just gotta get on them.

SI: As a kid, you wanted to be a sportscaster, right?

Petersen: I had a checkered high school career. I more or less dropped out. I wanted to learn how to do play-by-play. I used to make play-by-play tapes of Northwestern basketball games. I even once got an interview with Jack Brickhouse when I was 18. My dad knew him, but they were in cahoots because all he kept saying was, You have to go to college and get a degree.

SI: Give us your perfect sports day.

Petersen: I actually lived it one year in September. I went to a Bears game in the afternoon at Soldier Field and a Cubs game that night. The football ended at 4 p.m. You sober up for about an hour and a half, then you take the limo over to Wrigley, get dropped off at Clark and Addison, and start drinking again.

SI: You said Chicago is forgiving for actors, while in New York and L.A., if you fail, you're gone. Does that apply to sports?

Petersen: There's something wonderful about the fact that the Cubs don't win. It bonds the city. And we're special because we're not that bad. We're not the Expos. --Richard Deitsch

COLOR PHOTOLISA O'CONNOR/ZUMA PRESS (HEAD SHOT)COLOR PHOTOANDY LYONS/GETTY IMAGES (PETERSEN PITCHING)