Hungry "E.R." fans who venture to Tommy's House of Pizza after watching their favorite television show may experience a bit of deal vu.
Mike McHale, often seen throwing pizza dough into the air behind the counter of the legendary Harvard eatery, bears a striking resemblance to the actor Anthony Edwards, who pays Dr. Mark Greene in the popular NBC television series about a hospital emergency room. "E.R." ranked first in the Nelson prime-time ratings in the week of Jan. 13.
McHale, who has owned the Mount Auburn Street pizzeria since 1994, says that people tell him he looks like the actor at least three times a week.
"I tell people that 'E.R.' doesn't pay that well and i need to supplement my income," McHale says. "That's why I make pizza."
McHale says all of the Anthony Edwards comments began about a year ago when a customer came in one Thursday night-after watching "E.R."-and asked him "Why do you look so familiar?"
Like so many customers to follow, she then made the observation that the blading and bespectacled McHale, 29, bears a remarkable likeness to Edwards, 35.
Edwards has appeared in the films "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," "Top Gun," "Revenge of the Nerds" and "The Client."
He also played a hyperallergic lawyer for ten episodes of the television series "Northern Exposure."
"It's been fun," McHale says of the stream of comparisons. "It's very amusing."
Sometimes when people tell him that he looks like Edwards, he jokingly responds, "Yeah-the old, bald guy from 'E.R.'"
McHale says that any resemblance to Edwards is unintentional.
In fact, he says he has never seen the show because he is too busy working 75 hours a week.
He has only learned that the name of the character Edwards plays is Dr. Greene from customers who watch the show.
McHale says it is fun looking like a celebrity, especially when he hears customers whispering in the corner about his uncanny resemblance to Edwards.
When Edwards appeared on "The Late" Show with David Letterman" a friend jokingly called McHale to tell him he'd seen him on the show.
But few people on the street have done double takes and accosted him, thinking that he is actually the actor who earns a reported $100,000 per episode, McHale says.
McHale says that he does not think he looks very much like the NBC star, though people may see a resemblance if they have just seen Edwards on television.
McHale says that if someone were to hold up pictures of the two side by side, the likeness would not seem especially strong.
"He has glasses and is going bald and so am I," McHale says.
McHale has owned Tommy's for the past two-and-a-half years, the third owner of the 36-year-old store.
He has been in the pizza business for 13 years, and owned pizza joints in New York and Vermont before moving to Boston to attend Boston University.
In his college days, he had long hair and looked nothing like Edwards.
He decided to keep the name "Tommy's House of Pizza," named after the original owner, because it is a "legacy, a tradition at Harvard" for the past 36 years.
Currently, McHale says he has no plans to trade in his pizza dough for a shot at acting.
Edwards has received two Emmy nominations for his work on "E.R.," which airs at 10 p.m. Thursday nights on NBC, Channel 7.