Alum takes career to the silver screen

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Wrestling in high school helped set Josh Romeo up for parts in the upcoming “Transformers: The Last Knight” and “The Russian Bride” movies, among others.  

Two-thousand nine Notre Dame alum Josh Romeo earned many accolades as a student and wrestler at Notre Dame. His high school resume included a Catholic League wrestling championship, an All-Catholic listing, a top-12 state wrestler listing and All-County accolades. During his senior year, he set records for the Fighting Irish in most takedowns, most two-point near falls and most total points scored in a season.

But a career in athletics wasn’t at all on his list of possible future jobs when he got to the University of Miami in Florida. In fact, Romeo finished up at Miami with a bachelor’s degree in criminology and psychology.

“Yes, I ended up getting a job in the psychology field,” he said. “But I wasn't enjoying it like I had hoped and needed a change of pace, so I ended up doing a few entertainment auditions.”

He noticed at the time that Cirque du Soleil was holding auditions, so he flew out to Las Vegas to give it a try, knowing that it was a long shot. 

“Somehow, I ended up making it through and it was one of the proudest days of my life,” he said. “After that, I knew that working in stunts and circuses was something that I could actually pursue. I put all of my efforts into training and making a living out of doing something that I love.”

What Romeo ‘loves’ currently is his work on a number of film and TV projects, including the movies “Transformers,” “I First Kill,” and “The Run” as well as ‘The Russian Bride,” where he is lead actor Corbin Bernsen’s stunt double.

Most recently, he had a speaking role in the hit TV series on WGN, “Outsiders.”

He said now that he looks back at his time at college in Miami, he realizes that it was a major influence on his new career as an actor and stuntman.

“I stayed really busy at Miami and since it was hot and sunny year round, I had the opportunity to play outside and learn new skills everyday,” Romeo said. “My freshman year, I walked on to the co-ed cheerleading team since I could do a few flips. As school went on, I ended up meeting other people with similar interests and during my sophomore year, we founded a parkour club [parkour is a training discipline using movement developed from military obstacle-course training] called Prism Parkour. Plus, with all my adventurous friends, we got into acrobatics, slacklining, rock-climbing, and a bunch of other activities.” 

Besides his current work in film and television, Romeo also keeps busy with a local circus company called Detroit Acro. 

“We do partner-acrobatics, hand-balancing, juggling, etc.,” he said. “You can check out all the fun stuff that we're doing at facebook.com/romeoacro.”

Romeo currently is living in Michigan, but he believes that will change soon. 

“Unfortunately, there's not much opportunity for film here,” he said. “I travel out of state a lot for work so moving is a pretty good probability for me.”

While he’s still here, however, Romeo finds time to reminisce about Notre Dame Prep.

“First of all, the academics at NDP helped me get into an awesome university,” he said. “I had a lot of fun there and had the opportunity to learn new skills and train with new friends. So I'm very fortunate for that chain of events.”

Wrestling, obviously, was a huge part of his high school life.

“I was a very competitive wrestler and my dad ended up coaching the team at NDP,” he said. “That wrestling background also helped me with stunts like those on a recent episode of "Outsiders,” which just aired on WGN. I used some of my Notre Dame wrestling skills as an MMA fighter character on the show.”

Comments or questions? mkelly@ndpma.org.

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About Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy

Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy is a private, Catholic, independent, coeducational day school located in Oakland County. The school's upper division enrolls students in grades nine through twelve and has been named one of the nation's best 50 Catholic high schools (Acton Institute) four times since 2005. Notre Dame's middle and lower divisions enroll students in jr. kindergarten through grade eight. All three divisions are International Baccalaureate "World Schools." The Marist Fathers and Brothers sponsor NDPMA's Catholic identity and manages its educational program. Notre Dame is accredited by the National Association of Independent Schools, the Independent Schools Association of the Central States and the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement. For more on Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy, visit the school's home page at www.ndpma.org.

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