Tim Walsh never expected to become an NBA basketball player, even though he scored 1,113 points during his Bombardier heydays as a most productive pepper-pot in the backcourt at Attleboro High School.
The Attleboro resident never anticipated being drafted or invited to an NFL training camp, despite having spent two seasons slinging the football as a quarterback with the Bentley University Falcons.
Walsh never had to hoist up and make a free throw, nor toss a touchdown pass to earn a cameo role in a Hollywood feature movie.
An unkind athletic fate led not just to spending three or four seconds on the screen in a movie starring Ben Stiller, but also to a career with a Hollywood talent agency.
Of course, it would be a far more glamorous tale to tell if one evening a Hollywood movie mogul or talent recruiter spotted Walsh basking in the bright lights of Madison Square Garden as he sat along the baseline at a Big East Tournament game with former Dighton-Rehoboth High and Elmira College star and friend Johnny Egan.
“When I was playing football at Bentley, I didn’t have much time to think about anything other than football and school,” said Walsh, a 2014 graduate from AHS and May graduate from Bentley.
During his sophomore season, he suffered severe swelling of the acromioclavicular joint while taking part in weight training drills. The swelling required two surgical procedures.
“It didn’t heal well after the (first) surgery, so I needed another surgery (capsular shift to tighten the joint) to try and correct it,” Walsh said.
The acromioclavicular joint, or AC joint, is at the top of the shoulder — the junction between the acromion (part of the scapula that forms the highest point of the shoulder) and the clavicle.
During his rehab and recovery process on Bentley’s Waltham campus, Walsh began asking himself, “I’m not going to be playing in the NBA, I’m not going to be playing in the NFL — what am I going to do? I mean, I probably could make a few free throws, a few shots, but I can barely throw (a football) that much anymore.”
Walsh prepared to pack his personal belongings and head to the Hollywood area to establish a foothold personally and professionally.
He accepted a position with the William Morris Talent Agency in Beverly Hills and will begin a career 3,000 miles away from the 02703 area and the basketball courts at the Attleboro YMCA and the Attleboro Recreation Center, where he spent many an hour and day.
Walsh has been on sort of a whirlwind tour since his athletic career closed at Bentley — working with the Boston-based production company Atomic Monster, landing a spot with Boston Casting for movies and advertisements, working with the Katz Media Group in New York City, and walking the red carpet for premieres at the Cannes Film Festival in France while serving an internship with the United Talent Agency.
“I was spending 35 hours a week playing football, and in a snap it was gone,” Walsh said. “It was a blessing in disguise. None of this would have happened had I not gotten injured. I never would or could have projected any of this, absolutely not.”
The movie, “Brad’s Status,” features Stiller as Brad Sloan, the owner of a non-profit organization who is often comparing his profession and lifestyle to his wealthier friends. The comedy-drama, directed by Mike White, was released in the fall of 2017.
Filmed at Milton Academy, Walsh is seen in the background late in the movie — naturally on court with a basketball in his hands — while Stiller and Austin Abrams, who plays Sloan’s son, film a campus scene.
It was a one-day shoot and Walsh was on site from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m.
“They did a ton of different shots, but they only used a few of them,” he said. “I’m about an hour into the movie. I saw the movie when it came out and I’m in the background. But, if you blink, you might miss me!”
Walsh has not yet applied for his Screen Actors Guild card.
A double major (cum laude graduate in marketing and film studies) from Bentley, Walsh did several internships, one of which was with Boston Casting. The agency was looking for people his age for extras for commercials, movies and television programs. For Walsh, it served as an avenue for a spot in the Stiller film.
Walsh worked with Atomic Monster at the Warner Brothers Studio in Los Angeles and attended the Hollywood Film Festival.
“I was basically reading incoming scripts to see if they would want to produce it,” Walsh said of the company, which specializes in horror movies. “I kind of served as the first round of defense, whether or not it was something that would be considered red-hot.
“Then I’d do a write-up, why or why not the script would work or not. I wanted to see things that caught my eye. It had to fit in with the type of movie that they were going for — something dark, not so much blood and guts.”
Last spring, Walsh did an internship with United Talent Agency, one of the Hollywood’s big three in casting. It was through UTA that Walsh found himself at the Cannes Film Festival, a member of the support team for UTA’s clients.
“We were making sure that the clients were set up for meetings and trying to get other people who weren’t in the industry represented with us,” Walsh said. “I mean, it was glamorous. One night, our overseer asked four or five of us (if) we wanted to go to the opening-night premiere.
“It wasn’t like I was valeting cars! I got my tuxedo and we assisted all of our clients and I got to walk the red carpet. How cool is that? Tim Walsh from Attleboro!”
Walsh had quite a fabled football career at AHS, owning the Bombardier record for most TD passes in a single game (six against eventual Super Bowl champion Mansfield), in a single season (29) and career (43). His brother Chris, a 2012 AHS and 2016 Bentley grad, works at WEEI, the sports radio station in Brighton.
Walsh also worked during the summer of 2016 with the Manhattan-based Katz Media Group, which produces television and radio advertisements and pilot TV series for NBC, ABC and CBS and its affiliates.
“That was really my first step into all of this, my first exposure to the media and entertainment,” Walsh said. “It was cool to figure out what advertising to use and how the programming was set up.
“They do a ton of sports programming and something like 20 pilot TV shows, but only about three of those actually make it out into full production and maybe one makes it long-term.”
Walsh worked primarily with the scheduling of ads within TV productions.
“I was learning what people were watching and what the advertisers wanted to capture, the business side of it,” he said. “Like there would be six spots for 30 minutes of programming, a TV show or an NFL game for example. So we would pick which ones and then determine the price.
“You can tell the difference between a national commercial and a locally created commercial. It takes a lot of time to put together a radio ad, never mind a TV ad and all the filming that goes into it.
“That’s the beauty of me being able to work at the Morris Agency, working with radio, TV and movies. You’re kind of the middleman between the actual talent — the actors and actresses, the writers and directors, the production company.
“It’s project management.”
While in Los Angeles last summer, Walsh was networking and hit it off with a Morris Agency representative who suggested he contact the firm.
“I got an interview, I could tell right away that I would love to work here. I kept following up and they offered me a job in March.
“At one point, after I got injured, I was so down about it, that my playing days were over. Truly, it was one door being closed and another opening up. When I was at Attleboro High, I’d watch movies, but it was never something that I wanted to do.
“Now, I look at movies and advertisements totally different. I’m watching how they were produced, the placing of ads on TV. It’s kind of cool to figure out what advertising to use for different programs and how they’re produced.
“After a few of those internships, I kind of figured out that this was what I wanted to do.”