The League's Steve Rannazzisi claimed for years that he survived the World Trade Center on 9/11. He lied.

Actor Rannazzisi lied about being at the Trade Center on 9/11.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Actor and comedian Steve Rannazzisi — best known for his starring role in seven seasons of the hit FX drama The League — has long claimed that he was inspired to begin his comedy career after surviving a harrowing experience at the World Trade Center on 9/11. On Tuesday, after being confronted about inconsistencies in his story by The New York Times, he confessed that his story was a fabrication.

"I was not at the Trade Center on that day. I don't know why I said this. This was inexcusable. I am truly, truly sorry," he said in a statement issued by his publicist.

Rannazzisi had previously claimed he had worked as an account manager for Merrill Lynch on the 54th floor of the World Trade Center's south tower during 9/11. When the first plane hit the north tower, he said, he was "jostled all over the place"; in fear, he ran down to the street, arriving on the ground just minutes before the second plane hit the south tower. He claimed to have been so shaken by the experience that it inspired him to move to Los Angeles to pursue his dream of a career in comedy.

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In reality, Rannazzisi was working in Midtown Manhattan, blocks away from the World Trade Center. And he wasn't working for Merrill Lynch, which has no record of his employment, and didn't have an office in either World Trade Center tower.

In his statement, Rannazzisi says his fabricated story "was profoundly disrespectful to those who perished and those who lost loved ones" on 9/11.

"The stupidity and guilt I have felt for many years has not abated. It was an early taste of having a public persona, and I made a terrible mistake," he said. "All I can ask is for forgiveness."

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Scott Meslow

Scott Meslow is the entertainment editor for He has written about film and television at publications including The Atlantic, POLITICO Magazine, and Vulture.