A handsome, dark-haired and intense rising player, Rick Stear made his feature film debut as the alcoholic Stan who with his pal Richie (Jon Cryer) seeks out a missing buddy and discover that some things from youth cannot be recaptured in "Went to Coney Island on a Mission From God. .. Be Back By Five" (1998). The native Pennsylvanian received his training at the North Carolina School of the Arts and honed his skills on stage in a variety of productions ranging from Shakespeare (Tybalt in "Romeo and Juliet" at the Hartford Stage) to more contemporary fare ("Indiscretions" at the Coconut Grove Playhouse. Stear made his NYC stage debut as Sebastian, the twin of Helen Hunt's Viola in "Twelfth Night" at Lincoln Center. (The production was later broadcast live over PBS near the end of its run.) He also earned high marks from critics for his turn as Edmund Tyrone in Eugene O'Neill's powerful "Long Day's Journey Into Night" at Houston's Alley Theatre in 1999. More than holding his own against such powerful heavyweights as Oscar-winner Ellen Burstyn and David Selby, he proved a real find and with the same actors (joined by Andrew McCarthy), he recreated the role at the Hartford Stage later in the year. By that time, "Astoria" (1999), Nick Efteriades' coming-of-age tale in which Stear had the leading role of a young man seeking to escape from the confines of his Greek neighborhood, was screening at festivals. His fine performance in that film marked Stear as one to definitely watch.