Northern Illinois University

NIU Office of Public Affairs

NIU alum Justin Mentell (right) with William Shatner
NIU alum Justin Mentell (right) with William Shatner

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News Release

Contact: Mark McGowan,
NIU Office of Public Affairs
(815) 753-9472

September 26, 2005 

Waukegan native, NIU alum Justin Mentell
to debut Tuesday on ABC's ‘ Boston Legal'

DeKalb — Justin Mentell, a Waukegan native and May graduate of Northern Illinois University, will make his debut Tuesday evening on ABC's “Boston Legal.”

The 22-year-old Mentell will star alongside recent Emmy winners William Shatner and James Spader as well as Hollywood legend Candice Bergen. Mentell portrays young attorney Garrett Wells, who, according to the ABC Web site, is “an ambitious junior associate who sometimes has trouble recognizing when to back off.”

“I feel very blessed to be here,” Mentell said. “I only had two or three credits on my resume when I got this part.”

At the NIU School of Theatre and Dance, housed in the College of Visual and Performing Arts, Mentell's credits include “Never the Sinner,” “The Play's the Thing” and “Balm in Gilead.” In 2003, he participated in NIU's unique partnership with the Moscow Art Theatre School in Russia, where for a month in the summer NIU theater students learn the methods of Stanislavsky at the school where the master himself taught.

Among Mentell's NIU instructors were Katherine Gately (who also taught “Sopranos” star James Gandolfini), Christopher Markle, Richard Poole, Patricia Ridge, Deborah Robertson, Robert Schneider and Phillip Timberlake.

“I learned a lot from all of them – movement, voice, directing and acting. Each also imparted something personal,” he said. “The training program at NIU is top-notch, not only as an actor but also with the business: dealing with agents, auditions and other people.”

For more information on Mentell, visit For more information on the NIU School of Theatre and Dance, visit

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