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The Transformation Of Christian Stolte From Childhood To Chicago Fire

Fans of NBC's "Chicago Fire" are likely well acquainted with Randy "Mouch" McHolland. Since the birth of the "One Chicago" franchise back in 2012, Mouch has been a staple at Station 51, and can usually be found on the couch when he's not saving lives. Mouch's nickname may be inspired by his lazy tendencies, but don't be fooled — he's an extremely hard worker. He's one of the longest-serving members of Truck 81 and the president of the firefighter's union. Additionally, he can often be seen on "Chicago P.D." thanks to his relationship with Trudy Platt (Amy Morton). 

Christian Stolte has embodied the role of goofy, yet wise Mouch since the beginning. He's one of three actors on the show to appear in every single episode of the series. Fans have watched him outrun death, struggle with dating, and deal with dilemmas about his sperm donations, and those are things that don't apply to other characters. Mouch has given fans plenty of storylines throughout the show's history, and Stolte has become a mainstay on NBC week after week. 

While Stolte might be best-known for his role on "Chicago Fire," he's a veteran actor who has appeared in a variety of TV and film roles. 

Stolte grew up wanting to go into law enforcement

Stolte was born on October 16, 1962, in Black Jack, a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri. He attended the University of Missouri-Columbia and the University of Missouri-St. Louis, but didn't do any acting while at school. After college, Stolte spent some time figuring out what he wanted to do with his life. He worked for a funeral company for a bit and even entertained the idea of going into law enforcement (via Ladue News). 

In fact, Stolte told St. Louis Magazine that he enrolled in St. Louis Police Academy, as he wanted to follow in his father's footsteps. However, one of his friends suggested that Stolte pursue a career in acting, so he could play a cop on TV rather than putting his life in danger.

In the end, he's happy with his decision. "I don't care if anyone's ever heard of me, or recognizes me, and I have no particular need to be wealthy," he told St. Louis Magazine back in June 2012, or just months before "Chicago Fire" premiered. "If I can pay the mortgage by doing something that doesn't seem like toil to me, I feel like I've won." 

His first role was in a '90s mob film

Prior to his screen acting roles, Christian Stolte spent years acting in the theater district of Chicago (via KGET). Then, in 1992, he landed his first film role in "The Public Eye," a crime thriller starring Joe Pesci, Barbara Hershey, Stanley Tucci, and Richard Schiff. The film follows Pesci as Leon "Bernzy" Bernstein, a freelance crime photographer in New York City in the 1940s who gets a little too involved in the investigations he documents. It includes all of the elements that make an old-school mob drama great, and Stolte plays a small, but important role. 

Stolte appears in "The Public Eye" as an ambulance attendant who appears at the scene of a crime. The gig was pretty telling for his future career, especially since his biggest role has been portraying a hero in the fire/EMT realm. The film set him up for future roles in the '90s, including guest roles on TV shows like "Turks" and "Cupid" and work on films like "Stir of Echoes" and "Bruised Orange" (via IMDb).

He has a history of playing law enforcement officials

One of the most standout points of Stolte's acting credits is the overwhelming number of law enforcement officials he has portrayed. He's been a police officer time and time again, like in the 2001 film "Ali" or the 2007 film "The Lucky Ones." In 2001, he portrayed a court guard in "Novocaine." However, one of his biggest roles as a cop was his portrayal of Corrections Officer Keith Stolte on Prison Break. 

Stolte's character was introduced as a loyal soldier to prison warden Henry Pope (Stacy Keach). He was pretty heavy-handed with the Fox River prisoners and liked to give off a tough-guy attitude despite being a pretty regular dad. He shows Linc (Dominic Purcell) a bit of compassion before his scheduled execution in Season 1, but little is seen of him in the series beyond the initial set of episodes. 

However, while he has portrayed plenty of good guy roles, he often gets to play the bad guy, as St. Louis Magazine pointed out. He was a bank robber alongside Johnny Depp in "Public Enemies," among other roles where he's on the wrong side of the law.

2009 was a big year for Stolte's film career

Stolte's biggest year as far as film acting goes has to be between 2009 and 2010, where he stayed booked in Hollywood. Within that time frame, he portrayed Charles Makley in "Public Enemies" and Hank Bailey in "Under New Management." Additionally, he had arguably his biggest film role as Clarence Darby in "Law Abiding Citizen." 

The thriller film stars Gerard Butler and Jamie Foxx, but Stolte portrays Darby, quite a prolific criminal. He's a murderer who has no problem stealing cop cars and making deals with dirty cops. He's probably best remembered for his gruesome death scene, where he is tortured and decapitated by the man whose family he killed years previously. 

Then, in 2010, Stolte was part of the cast of the remake of "A Nightmare on Elm Street." He portrayed the father of Jesse (Thomas Dekker), which was a minor, yet prominent role.

One Chicago will always be important to the actor

Christian Stolte's homebase, however, is clearly on the set of "Chicago Fire." He's appeared in 200-plus episodes of the long-running series, and that isn't even counting his cameos on "Chicago Med" and "Chicago P.D." The show wouldn't be the same without his ability to bring dramatic moments and comedic relief alike. In an interview with KGET, he said he is only get more comfortable with the role as his tenure goes on. "The writers keep finding ways to explore new facets of this cat and I am constantly amazed at what they pull out of their hats," he said. He added that he doubts he'll ever feel so at home on a set again.  

While his character has been around the block for a few seasons, it's been a rewarding experience. He also recognizes how it's unique for an actor to have such a steady job. "The idea of consistent employment for an actor is insane," he said.