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Bobby Cannavale Poster

Biography

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Overview (3)

Date of Birth 3 May 1970Union City, New Jersey, USA
Birth NameRoberto M. Cannavale
Height 6' 2½" (1.89 m)

Mini Bio (1)

In both career and in real life, Bobby Cannavale tends to choose the unconventional way of doing things. In the beginning, his decisions may have cost the dark, swarthily good-looking actor some acting roles and/or good-paying money but, in the end, his strong work ethic and sense of self, despite a lack of formal training, allowed him to take a successful path off the crowded acting trail. From character goofball and cut-up, he has broken into the leading man ranks with his recent starring role as a reincarnated matchmaker in the TV series Cupid (2009).

Born Roberto M. Cannavale in Union City, New Jersey, to an Italian father, Sal, and Cuban mother, Isabel, he was involved in various activities at his Union City Catholic school, St. Michaels, while growing up. An altar boy, choir boy and lector, he also appeared in the church school's various musicals including his very first, "Guys and Dolls", in which he showed up as one of the gangsters, and "The Music Man", appearing as the lisping, scene-stealing tyke, "Winthrop".

Bobby's parents divorced when he was five years old and his mother moved the family to Puerto Rico for a couple of years. Eventually, they returned to the States and settled in Coconut Creek, Florida, where he attended high school. Restless and uncomfortable in any sort of regimented setting, he often got suspended for playing the class clown. Graduating in the late 1980s, and bitten by the acting bug, Bobby chose to return to the New York/New Jersey area in order to jump start an acting career. Working in bars to support himself, he again avoided the confines of an acting school and, instead, gained experience as a "reader" on occasion with the Naked Angels theatre company. During this time (1994), he met and married Jenny Lumet, the actress-daughter of director Sidney Lumet. They had son, Jake, the following year. The couple divorced in 2003.

Spotted by playwright Lanford Wilson while performing in an East Village production of Larry Kramer's "The Normal Heart", Bobby was invited to join Wilson's prestigious Circle Repertory Theatre. As a "reader" for the company, he eventually earned stage parts in "Chilean Holidays" (1996) and in Wilson's "Virgil Is Still the Frog Boy." He also went on to serve as understudy to Mark Linn-Baker in a 1998 production of "A Flea in Her Ear" and later replaced him. A noticeable role in the company's play, "The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told" by Paul Rudnick led to Bobby's being cast in the recurring role of a tugboat operator in the TV series Trinity (1998). Having only appeared in bit parts thus far in such movies as Night Falls on Manhattan (1996), directed by Lumet, and I'm Not Rappaport (1996), it was "Trinity" creator John Wells who caught Bobby's stage performance and handed him this career-making break on camera.

Bobby's "nice-guy" aura and blue-collar charm proved invaluable, if a bit restrictive. Once the "Trinity" series ended, Wells cast the 6'3" lug with the trademark caterpillar brows and crooked smile as lovelorn paramedic "Bobby Caffey" in his series Third Watch (1999). The character became quite popular but Bobby, again feeling restricted and wishing to broaden his horizon as an actor, asked to be released from the show -- but "in a big way". Creator Wells obliged and had the paramedic fatally shot in the chest and then experience a "beyond the grave" union with his character's deceased, ne'er-do-well dad.

Bobby next joined the cast of father-in-law Sidney Lumet's acclaimed TV courtroom drama 100 Centre Street (2001), starring Alan Arkin, cast against type as a brazenly opportunistic prosecutor. He subsequently earned recurring roles on Ally McBeal (1997) (in 2002) and Six Feet Under (2001) (in 2004). As for films, Bobby was featured in Gloria (1999), The Bone Collector (1999), Washington Heights (2002) and The Guru (2002) by the time he scored as the gregarious truck driver in the critically-hailed indie film The Station Agent (2003), which paired him intriguingly opposite the diminutive actor Peter Dinklage.

Unwilling to shirk away from more controversial roles such as his gay drug dealer who has the hots for a fellow prisoner in the acclaimed series Oz (1997) or his closeted dancing neophyte in the film comedy Shall We Dance (2004) starring Richard Gere, Bobby continued to elevate his status seesawing between film (Shortcut to Happiness (2003), Happy Endings (2005), Romance & Cigarettes (2005)) and TV assignments (the miniseries Kingpin (2003)). He earned big viewer points with his recurring portrayal of "Will Truman"'s dour cop/boyfriend on the hit sitcom Will & Grace (1998) in 2004 and won a "Guest Star" Emmy award in the process. Elsewhere, on stage, he merited attention in such productions as "Hurlyburly" and earned a Tony Award nomination for his 2007 Broadway debut in "Mauritius".

After five consecutive failed pilots, Bobby has come front-and-center with his quirky starring role in the ABC series Cupid (2009), recurring roles in Cold Case (2003) and Nurse Jackie (2009), and topnotch Emmy-winning part in Boardwalk Empire (2010). He also continues to rake up credits on the big screen (The Merry Gentleman (2008), Diminished Capacity (2008), The Take (2007), 100 Feet (2008), Roadie (2011)). This is a guy definitely here to stay.

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

Spouse (1)

Jenny Lumet (December 1994 - 2003) (divorced) (1 child)

Trade Mark (1)

Deep gravelly voice

Trivia (23)

He is a member of the Circle Repertory Theatre and the Lab Theatre Company, both based in New York City.
His father is Italian and his mother is Cuban.
He was born in Union City, New Jersey, but grew up in Coconut Creek, Florida.
He studied acting at the Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute in New York.
Became a father for the 1st time at age 24 when his [now ex] wife Jenny Lumet gave birth to their son Jake Cannavale on May 1, 1995.
Ex-brother-in-law of Amy Lumet and P.J. O'Rourke.
Has played roles covering each of the New York City's three major emergency response agencies (police officer on Will & Grace (1998), firefighter on The Guru (2002), paramedic on Third Watch (1999)).
Attended Coconut Creek High School, where he graduated in 1987. He was a member of the school's drama troupe. He was slated to play "Sir," one of the two lead roles in the school's spring, 1987 production of the musical "The Roar of the Greasepaint, the Smell of the Crowd," but was suspended from school days before opening night for allegedly leaving an explicit letter critical of the school staff in a library copy machine. An understudy from BCC's theater program (himself a Coconut Creek High School graduate) agreed to step in to replace the suspended Cannavale.
Always knew that he wanted to be an actor, and as a child seeking refuge from his bad neighborhood, started performing in a church theater company.
Coming from a broken home, he sought teenage solace watching movies. Rebel Without a Cause (1955) and Cool Hand Luke (1967) impacted him the most.
Was nominated for a Tony Award in 2011 for Best Performance by an Actor in a Play for Stephen Adly Guirgis's "The Motherfucker with the Hat.".
Was nominated for a Tony Award in 2008 for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play for "Mauritius".
Following his divorce, he had relationships with Annabella Sciorra (2004-2007), Alison Pill, and Sutton Foster.
His son Jake Cannavale played his character's son on Nurse Jackie (2009).
Reached a milestone in his life when he landed the part of Ricky Roma in the Broadway revival of David Mamet's "Glengarry Glen Ross" opposite his lifelong idol Al Pacino. Pacino had played Ricky in the film adaptation, but was now playing Shelley Levene (originally played by Jack Lemmon in the movie).
In the 1980s he asked, and was allowed, to clean the bathrooms at the New York City theater called P.S. 122 in order to earn admission to see Eric Bogosian perform his one-man show. Later he also worked at a doorman at night clubs.
He lives in an apartment in Manhattan's Upper West Side, where his son Jake stays with him every other week.
His parents married when his mother, Isabel, who had emigrated from Cuba when she was 13, was only 16 years old. She gave birth to Bobby when she was 18. When she divorced his father, she remarried and moved to Puerto Rico with Bobby when he was 13.
In 1994, after playwright Lanford Wilson came to see him perform in "The Normal Heart", Bobby 'said he 'didn't leave his side for like the next two years.' Later, Wilson brought him into the prominent Off-Broadway Circle Repertory Company, which he had co-founded, and which served as Bobby's virtual home.
Has been in a relationship with actress Rose Byrne since December 2012.
To date, he is the only cast member of Boardwalk Empire (2010) to win an Emmy for their performance.
Became a father for the 2nd time at age 45 when his girlfriend Rose Byrne gave birth to their son Rocco Robin Cannavale on February 1, 2016.

Personal Quotes (13)

I'm not very good in a classroom sort of setting. I never was. I was kind of a clown in high school--got suspended a lot.
I think what makes really good drama is that the event that's happening in the two hours that you're watching is the biggest event of [the character's] life. Even if it's mundane, even if it's somebody going through some sort of midlife crisis that on the page seems very mundane, to me, their inner life has to be that it's the biggest event of their life.
I like flawed characters very much. A lot of times I get asked to do parts that are kind of small but key -- three-scene roles that are three kick-ass scenes. Growing up, watching as many movies as I did, I was always into character actors like that.
I don't go see big, silly movies. I like small things about regular folks, you know? I always wanted to have a career that would keep me at home in New York so I can work in the theater all the time and be involved in the creative process from the ground up. I don't think there's a lot of room for vanity when you're developing things.
I was in Cannes a couple of years ago. Which, you know, I was like, Wow, holy s-, I'm in Cannes. I've never been there before. I was there with a movie. And it was the anniversary of Platoon (1986), which is another movie that if it's on, it just brings me back to being 15 years old and memorizing every monologue from that movie. It was like a real actor movie. And Tom Berenger was freaking' great in that movie, and I met him at this anniversary screening. We're all black tie, and I walked up to my lawyer, who also represents him, and I had a glass of red wine in my hand. And he said, "This is Tom Berenger." I said, "Oh, man. I gotta tell you, I memorized that whole monologue." And I start doing the monologue, and he was so flattered. And we're laughing, laughing, and it's like two minutes in, and I'm drinking my wine, and this other guy made a joke and I spit my red wine, all of it, all over Tom Berenger. I mean, like, I just projectiled all of it, all over him. And as he stood there looking down at his shirt and at me, from the dais Oliver Stone said, "I want to introduce the cast. First, Tom Berenger," and he just looked at me, like, Who the f- are you? And he went up on stage covered in wine.
I never thought I would get married and have kids. I thought I was going to be a gypsy actor, traveling all over the world playing the great roles. I ended up having a kid very young, and it put things in perspective. He became the most important person in my life, and everything else seemed to fall into place. I've made decisions that perhaps have not let me go as far in my career, but I'm totally fine with that because it's kept me close to my son.
[on his high school days] The town, Margate [Florida], was just white, what they called Florida crackers. They were the kids with the desert boots who used to chase me home and put holes in my tires and call me Dorito. High school was four years of craziness. I was disruptive in class. I got suspended all the time. They would give you the option of getting suspended for five days or getting corporal punishment. Finally, my mother was like, 'That's it with the suspension, now you get hit.'
[reason he was expelled from Catholic school in 7th grade] For finally losing my temper with the principal who's been on me since I was 5 years old. Sister Joanna. She was my kindergarten teacher when I was skipped to first grade, and I think she always held that against me. When she became principal, she got on me, and I finally lost it, and like pushed her in the coat closet.
[re Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and mentor Lanford Wilson] That's very much in my history that I've attached myself to older men. Lanford was one of those people I could learn from. Years later, when I was in a play of his at the Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor, where he lived, it was also where I conceived my son, in Lanford's garden. I reminded him of that till the day he died.
Between the career and my partial custody [of son Jake] and the fact that I didn't have my dad growing up, I knew I had to work extra hard to always be here for him. I've never had discipline for anything like I do for raising Jake. I needed to make sure this home was our home. So if you got into a relationship with me, I made that clear, and that can be frustrating. I've had people want to move into this apartment, and it just wasn't going to happen. I need my son to be able to come out of that bathroom in his underwear any time he wants and not worry about who's here.
I can also be stubborn. I'm an idealist. I used to say to Sidney [Lumet], 'Pop, your movies are always about people fighting against something, the system or corruption,' and he said, 'That's what life is about.' I loved that. I'm fighting complacency. Most people think good enough is good enough. I go to the theater a lot, and communion doesn't always happen, but when it does, it's indescribable. I don't come from anywhere, man, but I am always on the search for excellence.
[re Sidney Lumet] Sidney was the most down-to-earth guy you could meet. He loved me because I didn't have anything and he came from nothing. By the way, [re Lumet's mother-in-law Lena Horne] I didn't know who she was But I think she liked that I was a little dirty. She, like Sidney, would love to say around her friends, 'Bobby, tell that story,' and I'd tell some story they would all be charmed by. Nothing is more charming than poor folks. They were all great, but it was Sidney, that guy. To the end, he was like a dad to me.
I don't come from an intellectual family. I fly [my parents] in for the opening night of whatever show I'm in, and it's great, they love me, they're proud of me. But we don't ever talk about what the play is about. So I was always in search of people I could talk to. I guess you could pull apart psychologically why it's always a guy this happens with. My father-in-law [Sidney Lumet] was like a dad to me, and we talked about this art form ad nauseam.

Salary (1)

Annie (2014) $750 000

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