Who Is CSI Star Eric Szmanda's Famous Uncle?

When "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" first came on to screens in 2000, little did Eric Szmanda know that he'd portray one of the show's most familiar characters (via Cinema Blend) until the series ended in 2015. Throughout the series' run, Szmanda played DNA technician and investigator Greg Sanders. While it was only a supporting role at the beginning of the series, the actor was soon promoted to the main cast during the third season as his character cemented himself as part of the team.

During his time on the series, Szmanda branched out and appeared in the likes of "True Vinyl", "Rules of Attraction", and "The Division" (via IMDb). And since the show came to an end, Szmanda has starred in "Shangri-La: Near Extinction" in 2018 and "Adverse" in 2020.

Szmanda has obviously gained a lot of experience in the entertainment industry thanks to "CSI," but he also had a famous relative that may have given him some valuable advice.

Eric Szmanda's uncle will be very familiar to those who grew up in the Midwest

As it turns out, Eric Szmanda's great-uncle was Ray Szmanda. For those who grew up in the midwest, you'll definitely be familiar with Ray as he was the star of some commercials for the home improvement store Menards. As TV Over Mind notes, Ray became somewhat of a local celebrity which would have given Eric a lot of inspiration growing up.

Ray starred as "The Menards Guy" for over two decades, filming hundreds of advertisements featuring "his trademark smile, infectious enthusiasm, and passion for telling you about great deals" as Menards wrote in tribute to the actor, who sadly passed away in 2018.

Prior to landing the Menards role, Ray studied at the American Institute of the Air (via People Pill), and also took writing courses at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. All that studying and experience led Ray to operate the Trans-American School of Broadcasting situated in his hometown of Wausau, Wisconsin. Unsurprisingly, Eric also grew up in the state, but in the town of Milwaukee and then the small town of Mukwonago.