Birthday: June 21, 1954
Died At Age: 49
Sun Sign: Gemini
Also Known As: Robert Joseph Pastorelli
Born in: New Brunswick, New Jersey
Famous as: Actor
Height: 5'10" (178 cm), 5'10" Males
father: Ledo Pastorelli
siblings: Gwen Pastorelli
children: Gianna Li Pastorelli, Giannina Marie Pastorelli
Partner: Charemon Jonovich; (20 Aug 1973–15 - March 1999; her death)
Died on: March 8, 2004
U.S. State: New Jersey
Robert Pastorelli was an American actor who appeared in many Hollywood films and TV series as a character actor. Born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and raised in Edison, New Jersey, Robert aimed at a career in boxing during his teenage years. However, a fatal accident at the age of 19 changed his life. He narrowly escaped the clutches of death, and when he recovered from the wounds, he took to drugs. He started his acting career in the 1970s, appearing in theatrical productions, and studied acting in the ‘Actors Studio,’ New York. He moved to Los Angeles to build a career in Hollywood in the early 1980s. He made his acting debut in 1983, with the series titled ‘Knight Rider.’ Throughout his acting career, he appeared in supporting roles in films such as ‘Outrageous Fortune,’ ‘Dances with Wolves,’ and ‘Eraser.’ In addition, he also managed to have a moderately successful TV career with roles in series such as ‘Murphy Brown’ and ‘Cracker.’ His career was ruined in 1999, after the death of his then-girlfriend, Charemon Jonovich, though Robert was exonerated later and not held responsible for her death. He died of a narcotic overdose in 2004.
Childhood & Early Life
Robert Pastorelli was born on June 21, 1954, in New Brunswick, New Jersey, to Ledo and Dotty Pastorelli. His mother was an artist, and his father was an insurance salesman. Robert grew up with his sister, Gwen, who later became a real-estate agent and an opera singer.
Robert grew up in Edison, New Jersey, and enrolled at ‘Edison High School,’ from where he graduated in 1972. While in school, Robert became an avid boxer and hoped to build a career in the sport. A dangerous car accident at the age of 19 ruined Robert’s plans of becoming a boxer. He escaped death narrowly. He claimed to have had a near-death “out of body” experience in his hospital bed.
Although he recovered from the accident, his life was not the same. He was engulfed by depression and took to narcotics. He recovered soon, but he never quite managed to stay away from drugs completely for the rest of his life.
The difficult period in his early 20s pushed him into performing arts. He learned acting from the ‘New York Academy of Theatrical Arts’ and the ‘Actors Studio’ in New York. He also participated in many theatrical plays during that time. To make ends meet, he also worked part-time as a bartender.
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His first notable appearance as a theater actor was in 1977, with the classic play titled ‘Rebel without a Cause.’ He also played key roles in productions of other popular plays, such as ‘Death of a Salesman’ and ‘The Rainmaker.’
He was part of many theatrical plays in the late 1970s and the early 1980s. In 1982, he finally decided to make the big move to Los Angeles.
In 1983, he made his TV debut with the small role of ‘Leroy’ in the TV series ‘Knight Rider.’ The same year, he also appeared in the series titled ‘Newhart.’
In 1984, he starred in the first TV film of his career, ‘I Married a Centerfold.’ The film featured him in an unnamed character of a security guard.
In 1985, he starred in the TV series ‘The A-Team’ and the TV film ‘California Girls.’ The next year, he managed to bag a bigger role, in the series ‘Beauty and the Beast.’ The series featured him in the role of ‘Vick Ramos/Tony Perotta.’
In 1987, he made his big-screen debut with the small role of a dealer in the comedy film ‘Outrageous Fortune’ and then appeared as ‘Vinnie’ in the film ‘Beverly Hills Cop II.’ The same year, he also appeared in a supporting role in the TV film ‘Hands of a Stranger.’
In 1988, Robert appeared in the first supporting film role of his career, in the comedy–drama film ‘Memories of Me.’ Although the film was a commercial failure, it earned some good reviews.
The same year, Robert had a major career breakthrough when he starred in the sitcom ‘Murphy Brown,’ playing ‘Eldin Bernecky,’ one of the main roles. Robert’s character was part of the main cast in the first seven seasons of the show. In the ninth and the tenth seasons, Robert’s role was reduced to a guest appearance.
The success of ‘Murphy Brown’ was followed by the supporting role of ‘Timmons’ in the 1990 film ‘Dances with Wolves.’ The film was a huge commercial and critical success and won seven ‘Academy Awards,’ including one for the ‘Best Picture.’
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In 1992, Robert appeared in the supporting role of ‘Fred’ in the comedy–drama film ‘Folks!.’ which was a major critical and commercial debacle.
In 1995, Robert was offered the leading role of ‘Johnny Verona’ in the TV series titled ‘Double Rush.’ The series received poor ratings and was taken off-air after one season.
In 1996, Robert was offered a supporting role in the action–thriller film ‘Eraser,’ which also starred Arnold Schwarzenegger. The film received average reviews but was a major box-office success.
In 1997, Robert appeared in a leading role in the crime-drama series ‘Cracker,’ which was canceled after one season. Just when his career was on the verge of turning successful, his girlfriend died under unexplained circumstances. This impacted his career negatively, and he never quite recovered from it.
In the early 2000s, Robert appeared in the TV movie ‘South Pacific’ and the comedy film ‘Be Cool.’ The latter was his final (posthumous) appearance.
Family, Personal Life & Death
On March 15, 1999, his 25-year-old girlfriend, Charemon Jonovich, died from a gunshot to her head. Robert claimed that following an intensely heated argument, she had taken a gun and had shot herself in the head. However, the ‘Los Angeles Coroner’s Office’ declared that the cause of death was undetermined.
Robert Pastorelli received sympathy from Hollywood and the media, but his career went downhill after this incident.
On March 8, 2004, Robert was found dead in his house located in the Hollywood Hills. The cause of death was confirmed to be a narcotic overdose.
Robert had two daughters: Gianna Li Pastorelli, with Charemon, and Giannina Marie Pastorelli, with another girlfriend, Jalee Carder.