Chazz Palminteri is an American actor, screenwriter, playwright, and producer. He is best known for his roles in films, such as ‘Bullets over Broadway’, ‘A Bronx Tale’ and ‘Down to Earth’. Palminteri was born in the Bronx, New York. He began his acting career by appearing in Broadway plays. He made his film debut in the comedy drama ‘Home Free All’, where he portrayed a truck hijacker. His first important role was in the crime drama film ‘A Bronx Tale’. The film was a commercial success and was also met with positive reviews. He next appeared in the black comedy crime film ‘Bullets over Broadway’, where his performance earned him an Oscar nomination in the ‘Best Supporting Actor’ category. Other than his work in films, Palminteri has also appeared in some TV shows in guest roles. He has acted in some TV films such as ‘Excellent Cadavers’ and ‘Boss of Bosses’. He has also worked as a voice actor in the video game ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops II.’
Childhood & Early Life
Calogero Lorenzo Palminteri was born on 15th May 1952 in the Bronx, New York. He and his two sisters were raised by their mother Rose, who was a homemaker, and their father Lorenzo, who was a bus driver. His family is of Italian descent. From an early age, he used to be a jokester and he decided to become an actor in his youth.
His early days were full of struggles, as he worked as a bouncer along with acting in Broadway plays. He started gaining attention in 1988 after he starred in the play ‘A Bronx Tale’ which was an autobiographical play.
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Chazz Palminteri made his film debut playing a minor role in the 1984 movie ‘Home Free All’. After appearing in movies such as ‘The Last Dragon’ and ‘Oscar’, he was seen playing an important role in the 1993 crime drama film ‘A Bronx Tale’, which was based on the autobiographical play of the same name. The film was a commercial success and it also won Palminteri the Jordi Award for Best Foreign Actor.
In 1994, he was seen in the film ‘Bullets over Broadway’ which was directed by the renowned filmmaker Woody Allen. Though the film was a commercial failure, it was praised by critics. It also won several awards. Palminteri himself earned an Oscar nomination for ‘Best Supporting Actor’.
He played a main role in the mystery film ‘The Usual Suspects’ in 1995. The film did well commercially, and was met with positive reviews. It was nominated for an Oscar in the category of ‘Best Original Screenplay’. It was cited by Entertainment Weekly as one of the ’13-Must See Heist Movies’.
He was next seen in films, such as ‘The Perez Family’ (1995), ‘Diabolique’ (1996), ‘Faithful’ (1996), ‘A Night at the Roxbury’ (1998), ‘Stuart Little’ (1999), ‘Down to Earth’ (2001) and ‘Running Scared’ (2006). More recently, he has appeared in the 2013 film ‘Once Upon a Time in Queens’ and the 2015 film ‘Legend’. The latter was a commercial success and won several awards and nominations as well.
‘A Bronx Tale’ an American crime drama film is one of the most important works in Chazz Palminteri’s career. Directed by Robert De Niro, who also played a main role, the film was adapted from Palminteri’s autobiographical play of the same name. It told the story of Calogero Anello, who after encountering a mafia boss, has to make the decision between joining the world of organized crime and following the values of his honest and hardworking father. The film was a commercial success and was also praised by critics.
Another one of the important works in Palminteri’s career is the black comedy crime film ‘Bullets over Broadway’ directed by Woody Allen. The story was about a playwright, who, in order to gain finance for his play, has to hire an actress who is the girlfriend of a gangster. The film was a commercial failure. However, it was reviewed positively by critics. It also earned several awards and nominations. The film earned seven Oscar nominations, out of which it won one.
One of his recent works was the 2015 crime thriller ‘Legend’. Directed by Brian Helgeland, the film also starred actors Tom Hardy, Emily Browning, David Thewlis and Christopher Eccleston. Adapted from a book named ‘The Profession of Violence: The Rise and Fall of the Kray Twins’ written by John Pearson, the film was a biopic of two English gangsters known as the Kray Twins. The film won several awards and nominations.
Awards & Achievements
Chazz Palminteri earned a nomination for the Academy Award in the category of ‘Best Supporting Actor’ for his role in the film ‘Bullets over Broadway’ (1994). He won an Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male for the same role.
He has won a few other awards as well, such as the ‘National Board of Review Award’ for Best Cast (shared with rest of the cast) for his role in the film ‘The Usual Suspects’ in 1995.
He won the Sant Jordi Award for his performance in the film ‘A Bronx Tale’ (also for ‘Bullets over Broadway’ and ‘The Usual Suspects’).
Chazz Palminteri is a devout Roman Catholic. He has been married to Gianna Ranaudo since 1992. They have two children, Dante and Gabriela. The family resides in New York.