With his Hyde Park floral shop sold and his acting career — including a role on “Hill Street Blues” — in his past, Mike Rothermel doesn’t know what to do with his retirement years.
Rothermel, the former owner of the Cornell Florist, sold the 1645 E. 55th St. store he ran with his wife, Lana, for 25 years on Christmas Eve. But the former actor is still trying to figure out retirement.
“I haven’t really had time to think about it yet,” Rothermel said at the re-opened store on Jan. 4 as he helped the new owners, Amanda El-Khoury and Steven Lucy, finish up his last wedding order. “My thought was always that I’d get back to sculpture or acting, but the way my memory is, I don’t think acting is a possibility.”
Rothermel once had a promising, though ultimately cursed, career as an actor in Los Angeles.
He was cast in “Once Upon in America,” the 1984 gangland drama starring Robert De Niro. Rothermel lost the role when an elevator carrying him and a case of booze up to a cast party suddenly dropped four stories and left Rothermel bed-ridden for nearly a year.
Rothermel was let go from "Hill Street Blues," a serial police drama, in a shakeup of cast and crew after season five.
Rothermel could no longer remember the roles, but said he usually played the good guy.
He does still remember the floral business he took over after his acting career plummeted, and has been on hand to train the new owners.
“It’s a whole skill set — even learning the names of the flowers is an undertaking,” Lucy said between calls for arrangements for a funeral and the coming wedding.
Rothermel said the two new owners, who also own the Open Produce grocery store, approached him at the right time about buying the store as his arthritis was acting up and have taken to the business well.
“I think vase arrangement comes naturally to some people — Amanda took to it right away,” Rothermel said. “Steven is coming along.”