Summer 2016

In the Spotlight

Anthony Paolucci, D85, had a role in this year’s Oscar winner for Best Picture

By Helene Ragovin

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Anthony Paolucci says acting is a good release from the operatory. Photo: John Soares (Location courtesy of the South Street Diner in Boston)

Tufts dental folks watching the Academy Award-winning film “Spotlight” may have noticed a familiar face: Anthony Paolucci, D85, D11P, D15P, an assistant clinical professor of comprehensive care, who has developed a nifty avocation acting in movies and on TV. In the film, this year’s selection for Best Picture, he plays a victim of clergy sexual abuse who tells his story to Boston Globe editor Walter “Robby” Robinson (Michael Keaton).

“I never even thought we’d be nominated for Best Picture,” says Paolucci. The film “has no love story, no sex, violence, no shoot-’em-up, none of the stuff that usually sells—just a story of deep, old-fashioned, investigative journalism, similar to “All the President’s Men.” While he wasn’t able to get tickets for the Oscar ceremony, Paolucci, at the insistence of his son, Anthony Paolucci Jr., D11, headed out to L.A. with family members to attend the after-party.

“Acting is a lot like dentistry—to do it right requires precision.”

The film’s subject matter—the Globe’s investigation of widespread sexual abuse of children in the Boston area by Roman Catholic priests—makes its Oscar triumph that much more meaningful, Paolucci says. “I’m Catholic, and it hit home for me. I think in the long run, it will do so much more good for the church and the world, because of a film like this.”

While Paolucci’s heart has always been in dentistry, a part of him had also been seduced by the idea of appearing on-screen—so about 25 years ago, his wife gave him acting classes as a gift. He’s been balancing roles and root canals ever since. He appeared in the 2009 film “Brooklyn Rules” and had a recurring role in the TV series “Brotherhood,” among other gigs.

“It’s a great outlet from dentistry; it gets you out of the operatory,” he says. “But acting is also a lot like dentistry—to do it right requires precision.”

Contact Helene Ragovin at

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