Born in the Italian section of East Boston to a hardworking Italian family (his father was professional trombonist with the Les Brown Orchestra), Pilato admits that his flair for performing was discovered quite by accident, when he became an alter boy. Still, it wasn't until his college years that he took the big step towards honing his love for performance into a craft. Unfortunately, once he got there, he realized that his only points of reference for law were those found on television and film. He realized quickly that he didn't want to be a lawyer, so much as he wanted to PLAY a lawyer. Acting classes followed at Emerson College and Suffolk University, in Boston, and soon he was on stage with such notable troupes as Boston Repertory Theatre, Stage One Theatre Company and Reality Theatre. Though the progression seems almost natural, he still credits both religion and law as his main influences for taking the big leap of faith. Savagely bitten by the acting bug, the fledgling actor made his way to New York City, where he was an original member of the Working Theatre, studying with such luminaries as Joe Chalkin, Kristin Linklatter and Peter Kass. It was while in New York that he also began his collaboration with Jersey Growtowski's Polish Laboratory Theatre. In the late 70s, Pilato relocated to Pittsburgh, where he was a resident actor with the Pittsburgh Public Theatre and the Three Rivers Shakespeare Festival. He also picked up a few gigs as an acting coach at local colleges. His career took an upswing when he became a member of the Pittsburgh Film Family and consequently met the Godfather of cult cinema, George A. Romero. As odd as it may seem for a theatrically trained actor to pair up with a filmmaker of Romero's stature, the match appeared to be a heavenly one. Pilato's first role, a small part in 'Dawn Of The Dead' (as a police officer), led to yet another small part in 'Knight Riders' (as a disgruntled fair worker), alongside Ed Harris, followed closely by his signature role as Captain Rhodes in 'Day Of The Dead.' In fact, it's his memorable death scene that really grabbed the attention of fans. Since that auspicious "debut," Pilato's resume has grown over the years to include roles in Ron Howard's 'Gung Ho,' Charlie Peter's 'Music From Another Room,' and Quentin Tarantino's 'Pulp Fiction' (as Dean Martin), as well as such cult fare as Bob Kurtzman's 'The Demolitionist' and 'Wishmaster,' 'Alienators,' 'The Ghouls,' 'Last Seduction' and Zebediah de Soto's 'Wardog.' His voiceover work includes that of Metal Greymon in the children's animated series, 'Digimon.' It's also a little known fact that Pilato was in the original trailer for the low-budget version of Tarantino's 'From Dusk Til Dawn,' where he can be seen wearing the infamous black suit, white shirt, and black tie, which later became a Tarantino trademark in such films as 'Reservoir Dogs' and the afore-mentioned 'Pulp Fiction.' Even so, he's never forgotten the role that made him famous and can often be seen at conventions, signing autographs and talking to enthusiastic fans about his experiences on the film. Ask him what his favorite roles to date have been, however, and you may be surprised. Though Captain Rhodes will always be near and dear to his heart, he waxes nostalgic about his roles as a professional Christmas caroler at Gimbel's Department Store in Pittsburgh, where he founded the Dickens Carolers, and as a stand-in for Robert DeNiro in 'The Deer Hunter.'
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