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Chazz Palminteri Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trade Mark (1) | Trivia (11) | Personal Quotes (4)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 15 May 1952New York City, New York, USA
Birth NameCalogero Lorenzo Palminteri
Height 6' 2½" (1.89 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Bronx-born and raised Chazz Palminteri was a natural choice to continue the Italianate torch in film. In the tradition set forth in the 1970s by such icons as director Martin Scorsese and actors Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, John Cazale and Joe Pesci, Palminteri has brought grit, muscle and an evocative realism to the sidewalks of his New York neighborhood, violent as they are and were.

Born in 1952, Palmintieri grew up in a tough area of the Bronx and it gave young Calogero (Palminteri's given first name) the life lessons that would later prove very useful to his career. He graduated from Theodore Roosevelt High School and started out pursuing his craft in 1973 studying at the Actor's Studio. He appeared off-Broadway in the early 1980s while paying his dues as a bouncer and doorman in nightclubs, among other jobs.

In 1986 he headed west and found that his ethnic qualifications was well-suited for getting tough-talker parts. Slick attorneys, unflinching hoods and hard-nosed cops were all part of his ethnic streetwise persona in such TV shows as Wiseguy (1987), Matlock (1986) and Hill Street Blues (1981). In films he started off playing a 1930s-style gangster in Sylvester Stallone's Oscar (1991). Although his roles were sharp, well-acted and with a distinct edge to them, there was nothing in them to show that he was capable of stronger leading parts.

In 1988 he wrote for himself a play entitled "A Bronx Tale," a powerful one-man stage commentary in which he depicted his bruising childhood in great detail, which included witnessing gangland slayings. Palminteri brought each and every character to life (18 in all) in this autobiographical piece -- his friends, enemies, even his own family. He showcased for years in both Los Angeles and New York, finally sparking the interest of his film idol, Robert De Niro. DeNiro, wanting to direct for the first time, saw the potential of this project and brought both it and the actor/writer to the screen. Palminteri played one of the flashier roles, Sonny, a gangster, in the movie version. An unknown film commodity at the time, Chazz had stubbornly refused to sell his stage property (the offers went into the seven figures) unless he was part of the package as both actor and screenwriter. DeNiro, who became his mentor, backed him up all the way, and the rest is history. A Bronx Tale (1993) earned strong reviews.

At age 41 Palminteri had become an "overnight" star. Other important projects quickly fell his way. He received a well-deserved Oscar nomination the following year for his portrayal of a Runyonesque hit man in Woody Allen's hilarious jazz-era comedy Bullets Over Broadway (1994). He was on the right side of the law in both The Perez Family (1995), his first romantic lead, and then the classic crimer The Usual Suspects (1995). He played the ill-fated brute in Diabolique (1996) and wrote a second screenplay, Faithful (1996), in which he again plays a hit man, terrorizing both Cher and Ryan O'Neal.

Though Palminteri was invariably drawn into a rather tight-fitting, often violent typecast, it has been a secure and flashy one that continues to run strong into the millennium. Surprisingly, the one obvious show he missed out on was HBO's The Sopranos (1999). True to form he has been more recently spotted in gritty urban settings playing a "Hell's Kitchen" cop in One Eyed King (2001) starring actor/producer Armand Assante; a pool hustler and mentor in Poolhall Junkies (2002); a mob boss in In the Fix (2005); a dirty cop in Running Scared (2006); the titular scam artist as Yonkers Joe (2008); a karaoke-loving Italian psychiatrist in Once More with Feeling (2009); and an abusive husband and father in Mighty Fine (2012). Occasionally he has lightened up a bit as in his recurring role as Shorty on Modern Family (2009)

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net

Spouse (1)

Gianna Palminteri (6 June 1992 - present) (2 children)

Trade Mark (1)

Gravelly Voice

Trivia (11)

Daughter Gabriella Palminteri born 25 December 2001 in Greenwich, Connecticut.
Son Dante Palminteri born October 11, 1995.
Chazz used to bounce at The LimeLight in New York City.
He was initially offered $250,000, then a seven-figure amount, for the film rights to his play "A Bronx Tale," but he refused to sell out, insisting that he write the screenplay and play the lead, which he did (A Bronx Tale (1993)).
Although "A Bronx Tale" was his first play, he had written skits for a comedy troupe for about four or five years prior to that.
Began as a long-haired lead singer for a band called "Razzamachazz."
Is a frequent caller to WFAN sports radio in New York.
Italian-American
Was considered for the role of Dean Martin in The Rat Pack (1998).
Got his role in The Usual Suspects after it was turned down by Al Pacino.
Voiced two animated characters who were junkyard animals that hated house animals. In Stuart Little (1999) he voiced Smokey a junkyard cat who hated house cats and in Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure he voiced Buster a junkyard dog who hated house dogs.

Personal Quotes (4)

I speak as much as I can about the working man in the Italian-American community. It's the working man who makes up the heart of the community. The Italian-Americans I play are mobsters who have a heart or a positive element.
I think the lessons I learned growing up in the streets in the Bronx were never tip your hand too soon. Always keep your cards close to the vest.
On the Waterfront (1954) is still the greatest movie ever made.
[re his Bronx childhood] The big guys used to beat up the little guys, and the little guys used to beat up the real little guys. If you were a little guy, you'd become a big guy and then beat up the little guys underneath you. Kids now, all they do is sit down and play Facebook. I was on the stoop, and I saw a man kill another man right in front of me. People go, 'You must have been traumatized!' I really wasn't. I just saw this guy kill a guy, and my father dragged me upstairs, we talked about it, I didn't rat on the guy, and that was it.

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