Joe Pantoliano

Joe Pantoliano

Actor
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Life Story

With more than 100 film, television and stage credits to his name, Joseph Peter Pantoliano is a prolific American character actor who has played many diverse and memorable roles, from Guido in Risky Business (1983) to Eddie Moscone in Midnight Run (1988), Cosmo Renfro in The Fugitive (1993), Cypher in The Matrix (1999) and Teddy in Memento (2000).

Pantoliano was born September 12, 1951 in Hoboken, New Jersey, the son of Mary (Centrella) and Dominic Pantoliano, first-generation Italian Americans who split when Joe was twelve years old (though they never officially divorced). His mother was a seamstress and bookie, and his father was a hearse driver and foreman at a factory. Despite suffering from severe dyslexia that made studies difficult for him, Pantoliano displayed acting talent from an early age and moved to Manhattan after high school to pursue an acting career.

After four years in Manhattan that included auditions, acting classes, waiting tables and a role as Billy Bibbit in the touring production of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest", Joe Pantoliano moved to California to pursue television and film acting. Joe was successful in landing a number of television roles before getting his feature film debut in The Idolmaker (1980), but his true Hollywood breakthrough came with his turn opposite a 21-year-old Tom Cruise as ruthless pimp Guido in 1983's Risky Business (1983). A wide array of TV and film roles followed that have led Joe to work with many of Hollywood's brightest talents, both on-screen and off, including Richard Donner, Steven Spielberg, Lilly Wachowski & Lana Wachowski, Harrison Ford, Tommy Lee Jones, Wesley Snipes, Christopher Nolan and many others.

Winner of a primetime Emmy for his work on The Sopranos (1999), for which he also received two SAG Award nominations, Joe Pantoliano is married to former model Nancy Sheppard, with whom he has two daughters, Daniella and Isabella. Pantoliano also has a son, Marco, from a previous marriage, and a step-daughter, Melody.

 
Family
 
Nancy Sheppard (18 February 1994 - present) ( 3 children)

Trivia

Daughter Isabella Grace born 27 August 1998.
Has a younger sister named Mary Ann.
Son Marco born in 1981.
Parents are Dominic and Mary.
Has a son and two daughters: Marco Pantoliano, Michelle Rinaldi, and Melody Pantoliano.
Formerly co-owner of Beverly Hills' Grand Havana Room.
One of his favourite movies is Shrek (2001).
Keen wine buff. On a recent episode of Jon Favreau's Dinner for Five (2001) on IFC, he was choosing the wine, inquiring about a '97 Ornellaia before settling on a '79 Tignanello. When the wine was presented to him for tasting, he picked up that it was corked and asked the sommelier to taste it himself, and the sommelier concurred.
Italian-American.
At age seventeen he moved from his hometown of Hoboken, New Jersey, to Manhattan to study to become a barber.
Often works with Carrie-Anne Moss.
He landed his first professional role in 1972 when he played Billy Bibbit in the national touring company of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. He worked in regional theater appearing in more than 40 Off-Broadway productions including Vision of Kerouac at the Lion Theater and The Death Star at the Theater of St. Clements.
Studied acting with Michael Howard in New York City.
Lives in Wilton, Connecticut.
He studied drama at HB Studio in Greenwich Village in New York City.
According to his book, "Who's Sorry Now?", at age 12 during an argument in a grocery store, his mother, Mary Centrella Pantoliano, told Joe that his real father was her third cousin, Florio "Florie" Isabella, a made man who had spent several years in prison. Shortly before, Joe's father, Monk, and Mary had separated and Florie moved in with the family. Monk and Mary never got divorced, and Joe never found out which man was actually his father.

 

Personal Quotes 

My real fear playing Ralphie in The Sopranos was that I would be typescast. Luckily, like Jimmy Gandolfini, I was able to get plenty of other work - Bad Boys 2 and Daredevil in particular. But in a way, Ralphie encouraged me to do more, to ensure he didn't define me. That's why I did Frankie & Johnny on Broadway and, to be honest, it's why I took the role in The Handler - to show my fanbase that there's more to me that just that nutcase, Ralphie.
Going to work for me is very reminiscent of high school. You go and you've got your clique of friends. You go to the cafeteria with everybody. If you can do it, it's the best job in the world.
I liked Matrix Reloaded better than I liked the first one. I haven't seen Revolutions. I loved Cypher. He was very human. He was the one guy that doubted Morpheus, that doubted the real world. He was best served to go back into The Matrix and be a movie star and never know he was out of it. What a deal that would be!
They say that politics is show business for ugly people.
On making the transition from character actor to leading actor: It doesn't make any difference if you're a lead. It's all playtime.
A character actor to me was someone who played a bunch of different roles versus a leading man or supporting actor, I wanted to be a character actor and do good parts. The guys that inspired me were Spencer Tracy, Robert Duvall, Albert Finney and Michael Caine, you, know, urban guys that came from the street. I just thought if they could do it, then so could I. They were the kinda guys who started out being the fourth guy through the door and then, at last, they get a line of dialogue.

 

 
Filmography

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