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The Transformation Of Daniel Kyri From Childhood To Chicago Fire

Portraying "Chicago Fire" firefighter Darren Ritter, Daniel Kyri joined the rest of the first responders at Firehouse 51 back in the hit series' 7th season. As most loyal "Fire" viewers can tell you, the Chicago-centric action-drama launched in 2012 as the founding show in producer Dick Wolf's three-tiered "One Chicago" lineup on NBC.

Teaming up with series favorites including Rescue truck leader Kelly Severide (Tayor Kinney), firefighting veteran Christopher Herrmann (David Eigenberg), Lieutenant Stella Kidd (Miranda Rae Mayo), and others, Kyri's Ritter has earned a rep as a reliable, relatable character on the long-running procedural. That's in addition to suiting up to douse flames, save lives, and generally live the life of a Chi-town public service hero on the show, Ritter also has an entrepreneurial side. In this regard, he threw in with squadmates Violet Mikami (Hanako Greensmith) and Blake Gallo (Alberto Rosende) to open a microbrewery to sell their beer at the crew's fave off-duty hangout, Molly's Pub. 

While Kyri's lengthy screen time on the show makes him a well-known face to fans, here's a quick overview of the life events they might not realize contributed to Daniel Kyri's transformation from childhood to his current role on "Chicago Fire."

His first on-screen gig was on a reality TV series

Born and raised in Chicago, Daniel Kyri got in touch with his creative side at an early age, a realization that would eventually lead him to write and act in local theatrical productions, and, ultimately, to regular work in both TV and film. In school, he majored in drama at the University Illinois at Chicago, graduating with a B.A. in Theatre Performance (via Stewart Talent).

In 2007, Kyri would make his first credited appearance on a TV show in the CBS production, "Kid Nation." Playing himself on the reality series and going by the name "D.K.," Kyri was one of 40 kids aged 8 to 15 years old who were thrust into a world without adult supervision or many modern conveniences. Tasked with living in a "ghost town" and making it on their own, the kids had to cook for themselves, maintain their own outhouses, lug their own drinking water, and generally provide for all their basic needs, all on a show with the tagline, "40 kids for 40 days with no grown-ups. Can they do it?" 

His uncle cast him in his first on-stage role

Queried about his love for the stage during an interview by Michigan Avenue, Kyri said that his early creative drive came from both books and poetry, citing his favorite authors as Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou, and Gwendolyn Brooks. "At some point, almost without being aware, I began to understand words as a kind of bridge on which I could travel," he said, adding that it was, in fact, a close relative who gave him his first break as a performer. "I started supplementing my imagination with film and TV and what struck me most in all those worlds and places I visited were the people: Denzel [Washington], Will [Smith], Wesley [Snipes] ... [and] my uncle Reuben Echoles. He is a theatre mastermind, and he cast me in my first show when I was a kid," Kyri recalled.

Kyri added that performing in plays gave him a chance to see the world — and life — from novel perspectives. "I went downtown and did musical theater for a while. I've always known I wanted to act; I liked the idea of stepping into another person's skin. I found a lot of what I care about as an actor and performed in Chicago's theater scene." The truth is, Kyri would soon turn this early fascination with acting into an all-consuming passion in his life, as he found himself starring on the stages of the most prestigious names in Chicago's thriving theatrical community.

He acted with Chicago's top theatre companies -- and made his film debut

As a young performer in the vibrant Chicago area theater scene, Daniel Kyri would make a name for himself with major roles in plays staged by some of the city's best-known companies. In this regard, he would star in productions like Steppenwolf Theatre's "Ms. Blakk for President," the Goodman's "Objects in the Mirror," the Lookingglass Theater's "Moby Dick" and other high-profile Chi-town theater works. 

Interviewed on the official Wolf Entertainment site, Kyri discussed his early love for anything that sparked his young imagination, saying, "I was from the South side of Chicago, and I was always a creative kid," he said. "I read a lot, I was a Sci-Fi and fantasy fiction nerd." In the same vein, he noted that his appreciation for fiction also fed into performing on stage, saying that being in plays immediately appealed to him, saying "I feel like theater is the actor's playground. You can play or exploit different emotional beats or moments."

In addition to his stage work in Chicago," Kyri would find further success on screen in the role of Logan in the 2015 feature "Henry Gamble's Birthday Party" and portray Brock in the TV mini-series "Saranormal."

He went from a web series to Hamlet to battling blazes on Chicago Fire

The year 2018 would prove to be a genuine breakthrough period creatively for Daniel Kyri as he found himself co-creating and starring in his own web series as well as making his first entry into the "One Chicago" universe of producer Dick Wolf.

As co-creator/writer/director and star of the web series "The T.," Kyri would produce, write and act in six episodes of the online series, debuting with the "Team T Part II" episode and running up through the final "History Part II" installment.

Then, in the summer of 2018 in Chicago, Kyri was starring in "Hamlet" in the Gift Theater production of the Shakespeare classic, which the Chicago Tribune wrote, "features a standout performance from Daniel Kyri as Hamlet." It was during this production that Kyri auditioned for a part in Dick Wolf's Chicago-verse, resulting in his appearance not in "Fire," but in "Chicago Med," where he portrayed the character Lane Tucker in the episode "Devil in Disguise" (per IMDb). In fact, that character was only seen once before vanishing. But Kyri himself would re-appear a few months later, suiting up for the role that today he is most recognized for, and completing his transformation from his youth in the Windy City to a star performer on the long-running "Chicago Fire."