The Dear Reader: DPRK Observations & Musings


From Capone to Kim Jong-il

When Euna Lee’s husband Michael Saldate was asked what he did for a living during a June 1st broadcast of Larry King Live, he stared down at his hands for a moment and then answered rather sheepishly, “I’m an actor.” The reason for his hesitation was not one of embarrassment about his chosen profession; rather, it was because the 5’11”, 210-pound purveyor of Spanish, British, New York and Southern accents has, like so many other aspiring actors, yet to reach that first tier of paid professional success.

The most prominent credit on Saldate‘s acting resume is arguably his role as Al Capone in a 2006 episode of the History Channel series Man, Moment, Machine. Ironically, program host Hunter Ellis is just the kind of guy who in a perfect world could help the affable Saldate solve his current predicament, what with his 2,000 hours of flying time and two Middle Eastern deployments as a former U.S. Navy fighter pilot.

A few weeks after the @kingsthings appearance, Saldate found himself during a June 24th Laura LingEuna Lee rally speaking from the very same @Academy_of_Art stage of Lee‘s San Francisco Alma Mater where he had once played the part of a husband in a play. He couldn’t help but note the strangeness of having returned there in the guise of his toughest role yet – powerless real-life husband.

It’s unclear what kind of psychological damage will be carried back to the United States by Ling and Lee, or how long they may respectively need to recharge their batteries before ostensibly returning to their jobs @Current. But here’s a very pragmatic way for Los Angeles area talent agents, personal managers, casting directors and acting coaches to help with the situation; once Euna returns, consider throwing her long-suffering husband the bone of a representation meeting, cold reading, SAG-credit audition or free workshop. For starters, here’s Saldate’s demo reel.


Filed under: Euna Lee

8 Responses

  1. Spelunker says:

    This is so cold. Poor guy doesn’t deserve this scrutiny. I never Googled his name once and still refuse to do so.

    Here’s a man who doesn’t even know how to tell his daughter Hana the truth about mommy’s whereabouts. Can’t blame him. Can’t do it.

    Unlike Laura’s husband Iain Clayton, who is surrounded by Ling’s sister and parents, Michael Saldate is alone without support. Only Hana.

    He has had to borrow a friend’s camera to take photos of his daughter because his wife took their only camera with her on assignment.
    How many of us have spare cameras just sitting idly around our homes; I would have given him my new video camera and then bought another one.

    Euna once begged the North Korean guard to pass an urgent message to Swedish ambassador Mats Foyer and then the State Department. Why? Medical emergency? No, it was to remind Saldate to register Hana for summer school.

    Hollywood has hundreds, if not thousands of Michael Saldates. It is the least fair and most cruel playing field in America. There is no logical or rational explanation why unfunny Artie Lange is a big time celebrity and comic Michael Saldate is only known as the Current TV video editor’s husband. It all comes down to luck, and Saldate is undeniably down on his.

    • liberatelaura says:

      Actually, I didn’t seek him out per se. Early on in the Euna Lee research process, I became familiar with his vocation-career because he shares a website with her ( Kind of a cute reflection of their relationship that they would present themselves together like this as the actor & editor.

  2. Bettie says:

    I feel sorry for him, too. But, I still maintain he needs to call Gloria Allred and sue Current. Euna Lee had no business being in that situation. I’m sure Current must be still paying them and their benefits, but how about the per diem?

  3. Spelunker says:

    I seriously question the validity of that article in the Philippine Daily Mirror which claims that Michael Saldate received a new message from his wife before the Chicago vigil.

    I don’t believe Euna would have written a request for Michelle Obama to intercede as a mother. Maybe this was Saldate’s idea alone, as the Chicago Sun-Times article implies:,CST-NWS-vigil20.article

    There was no news of a new message from Euna in the report by Chicago’s local ABC affiliate:

    If Euna was allowed to call or write such a message then wouldn’t it have been reported in US media as soon as it happened? I think Saldate was misquoted, or the Filipino reporter in Chicago may have added his own imagination.

    • liberatelaura says:

      Well, there was that report recently of Euna sending a message to her husband to not forget to register their daughter Hana for summer school. So perhaps it was part of the same message/letter. E.g., even though Saldate allegedly said this 7/19, he was referencing a relatively older communication.

      Also, a lot of the people involved w/Chicago Ling-Lee vigils follow @LiberateLaura, so I’m thinking one of them would have let me know if it was inaccurate. Perhaps this was simply something the other outlets chose not to cover, as quite frankly, I don’t think it’s a logical way to keep the pressure on.

  4. Spelunker says:

    An older communication involving Euna urgently reminding her husband to register Hana for summer school would likely have been back in May or even April. The summer school Korean immersion program in Los Angeles began on June 1. (I just checked!)
    Would Euna really tack on this Michelle Obama mother idea to her urgent message? Why didn’t we hear Saldate tell us about Euna’s alleged Michelle Obama message at the June 24 vigil in San Francisco? How did this become news in Chicago exclusively through the Philippine Daily Mirror?

    I still think it’s Saldate’s idea and the Filipino reporter in Chicago somehow made it sound as if Euna told him to do it. I’m not buying this story until I hear it from a second source. So far I have not heard one other journalist or local blogger mention that this idea somehow came from Euna by phone or mail to Michael.

    • liberatelaura says:

      The idea that this was an impromptu thought from Saldate and somehow got mangled in the translation is definitely a possibility.

  5. Spelunker says:

    Not any more. The Filipino reporter, Joseph Lariosa, now claims it was the latest message from Euna in a recycled version of the story published today at an alternative Philippine news site called “Tempo”:

    “He said he received the latest message from his wife, suggesting that she is appealing to all mothers to write a letter to First Lady Michelle Obama and appeal for her intercession to ask the North Korean government to cause their release.”

    This is world exclusive news from a Filipino reporter in Chicago; which begs 2 questions:
    How many legitimate reporters attended this vigil? Was Michael Saldate standing alone at the refreshments table while other journalists grabbed a drink and flocked toward celebrity Jesse Jackson?

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