Ian Ziering admits he took his role in the first Sharknado movie in 2013 for a very practical reason. "I accepted the job to procure my health insurance," the Beverly Hills, 90210 alum tells Us. "I was having a baby four months later and I needed to provide for my family. I thought the movie would be horrible and I prayed that it would disappear and no one would watch it!"
Little did he know that the Syfy TV movie would go on to be a cult classic that has now spawned three sequels! Ziering, 52, who stars in tonight's brand-new installment, Sharknado: The 4th Awakens, shares 25 things you didn’t know about him exclusively with Us Weekly.
1. I’m a lefty.
2. My favorite place I’ve ever vacationed is Jade Mountain Resort in St. Lucia. I went there for my honeymoon with my wife. There’s really nothing to do there, which makes it perfect for a honeymoon! It was the most spectacular view I’ve ever seen in my life.
3. If I wasn’t an actor, I’d be a teacher. I would love to teach creativity and imagination.
4. I’m pretty handy around the house. I’m my own handyman.
5. My wife and I love to watch Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead — we never miss them.
6. I work out every morning that my schedule permits — about an hour, five days a week.
7. When I’m in the car, I like to listen to easy-listening jazz stations. I enjoy rock and top 40, but in the car, I want something to de-stress me from the traffic.
8. I’m good at being healthy, but my splurge food is Thrifty Cookies & Cream ice cream. And Oreo cookies!
9. When I was a kid, my celebrity crush was Farrah Fawcett. Of course, I had the poster and everything!
10. I enjoy barbecuing. My favorite cut of beef is the tri-tip.
11. I have two girls — Mia is 5 and Penna is 3. People would be surprised to know that they were born on the same day, two years apart!
12. Penna was named after my father, Paul, who passed away, and Mia was named after my mother, Mickie, who also passed away. Penna’s middle name, Mae, is a fourth-generation name — my wife’s mother, grandmother and great-great grandmother all have the middle name Mae.
13. I have my own clothing line called Chainsaw Brands. After I was on The Apprentice, I got so supercharged being a project manager, I decided to be a project manager for myself and set my foot into the business world.
14. My favorite color is purple.
15. I love playing with my daughters. I am the prince to their princesses, I am the maker of tea for the tea parties and I am the ultimate sofa-pillow fort-builder in the mornings.
16. I have played a ton of different roles over the years, but the craziest role I ever played was in a Russell Crowe movie called No Way Back. I played a skinhead who had tattoos and earrings, and I shaved my head. It was only one scene but being a villain was such a departure from anything I’d ever played before. Normally, having blond hair and blue eyes doesn’t bring the villainous character to mind.
17. I would love to star on a sitcom that films in front of a live audience because I love the fact that it’s a mix of theater and television.
18. I love theater! I played Nils in I Remember Mama (a role originated by Marlon Brando) on Broadway when I was 14 and I got to sing in the 1979 Tony Awards. I was also a drama major in college.
19. When 90210 wrapped, I kept a countertop jukebox from the Peach Pit. It’s in my living room.
20. I was a little nervous joining the Chippendales, but then again, I walk around the house in my underwear, so I tried to tell myself it wasn’t that different!
21. My exposure to Donald Trump on The Apprentice was fantastic. He couldn’t have been nicer. I think he’s a very effective businessman who’s done some amazing things in New York.
22. My mom would never let me have two things when I was growing up: a dog or a motorcycle. The first two things I got when I moved out of my parents’ house were a dog and a motorcycle! I have two dogs, an 80-pound goldendoodle named Sparky, and a terrier mix, Oscar, who’s mine through marriage.
23. Chicken Parmesan is my favorite meal.
24. One of my good friends is astronaut Mark Kelly. When his brother Scott spent a year in space, I had him take my wedding band into space and take a photo of my ring floating in space with the Earth behind it! When I announced I was having a baby, Scott was one of the first people to congratulate me — from 250 miles above Earth from the International Space Station.
25. No one’s more surprised than me that the Sharknado movies have been such a hit. I accepted the job to procure my health insurance — I was having a baby four months later and I needed to provide for my family! I thought the movie would be horrible and I prayed that it would disappear and no one would watch it! But then it blew up and spawned three sequels. I think it’s the perfect movie to escape to in the middle of the summer. When turning on the news every evening is so dire, it’s good escapism and so much fun.
Sharknado: The 4th Awakens airs on the Syfy channel, Sunday at 8 p.m. ET.