Oscar Actors: Palminteri, Chazz–Background, Career, Awards

Updated July 12, 2020
Chazz Palminteri Career Summary:

Occupational Inheritance:

Social Class: working class; father buss driver

Race/Ethnicity/Religion: Sicilian

Family:

Education:

Training: struggling actor; moonlighting as bouncer

Teacher/Inspirational Figure:

Radio Debut:

TV Debut:

Stage Debut:

Broadway Debut:

Film Debut:

Breakthrough Role: A Bronx Tale, 1988; age 36

Oscar Role: Bullets Over Broadway, 1994; age 42

Other Noms:

Other Awards:

Frequent Collaborator:

Screen Image: character actor

Last Film:

Career Output:

Film Career Span:

Marriage:

Politics:

Death: NA

 

Calogero Lorenzo “Chazz” Palminteri, the American actor, screenwriter, producer and playwright, is best known for his Best Supporting Actor nomination in “Bullets over Broadway,” the 1993 film A Bronx Tale, based on his play of the same name. he played Special Agent Dave Kujan in The Usual Suspects, Primo Sidone in Analyze This, and has recurring role as Shorty in Modern Family.

Palminteri was born on May 15, 1952, in the Bronx, the son of Rose, a homemaker, and Lorenzo Palminteri, a bus driver.

He was raised in the Belmont neighborhood of the Bronx. Palminteri is of Sicilian origin, his grandparents, Calogero Palminteri and Rosa Bonfante, married in 1908, immigrated to the United States in 1910 from Menfi in the province of Agrigento, Sicily.

He struggled to become an actor, splitting his time between acting in off-Broadway plays and moonlighting as a bouncer, alongside Dolph Lundgren. His big break came in 1988 with the premiere of his autobiographical one-man show, “A Bronx Tale,” which he wrote after being fired from a club for refusing entry to talent agent Swifty Lazar; Robert De Niro later developed and directed a film version (1993).

Palminteri has had acclaimed performances in A Bronx Tale, The Usual Suspects, The Perez Family, Jade, and Diabolique, as well as comedic roles in films such as Oscar, Analyze This, and Down to Earth.

During its run, he appeared in many advertisements for Vanilla Coke, in which he portrayed a mob boss who would threaten celebrities if they did not praise the taste of the product in question, and then let them walk away with the Vanilla Coke to “reward their curiosity”, touching on its slogan at the time. Palminteri has voiced characters in various animated films, the most notable being Smokey in Stuart Little and Woolworth in Hoodwinked.

He made his directorial debut with an episode of Oz, then the TV film Women vs. Men and the 2004 feature film Noel.

Palminteri’s recent acting efforts include A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints, Running Scared, and Arthur and the Minimoys.

In 2004, he received the “Indie Hero Award” from the Method Fest Independent Film Festival for his artistic achievements in film.

Palminteri starred on Broadway in A Bronx Tale, the semiautobiographical one-man show he first performed (as A Bronx Play) at Theatre West in Los Angeles in 1989. The Broadway production, directed by Jerry Zaks and with music by John Gromada, began previews October 4, 2008, at the Walter Kerr Theatre and opened on October 25, running for 18 weeks. Palminteri plays 18 roles in A Bronx Tale, which depicts a rough childhood on the streets of the Bronx. The play ran for two months at Playhouse 91 in 1989. Robert De Niro saw this show there and made his directorial debut with the big-screen version, co-starring with Palminteri.

Palminteri starred opposite Kenny D’Aquila in D’Aquila’s play, Unorganized Crime.

Palminteri always appreciated the shot that Robert De Niro gave him, so he in turn agreed to star in D’Aquila’s mafia-themed drama.

Palminteri is performed in the Broadway musical version of A Bronx Tale since May 2018.

On January 20, 2010, Palminteri guested on Modern Family and played the same character on the November 2, 2011, episode.  Palminteri has reprised the role twice more in season 5. In June 2010, Palminteri began guest-starring on the TNT crime drama Rizzoli & Isles as Frank Rizzoli, Sr. He guest starred twice on the CBS drama Blue Bloods as Angelo Gallo, a mob lawyer and childhood friend of main character Frank Reagan.

Palminteri portrayed deceased mobster Paul Castellano in the 2001 TV film Boss of Bosses.

In 2011, Palminteri opened a restaurant, Chazz: A Bronx Original, in Baltimore’s Little Italy neighborhood; their main foods are coal-fired pizza and Italian food. However, the restaurant closed in 2015. Palminteri opened an Italian restaurant, Chazz Palminteri Ristorante Italiano, in New York City on Second Avenue.

Also, Palminteri did the voice acting for the Call of Duty: Black Ops II character Sal De Luca in the zombies map Mob of the Dead, and his likeness was used for the character as well.

Palminteri lives in Westchester County, New York. He describes himself as a “very spiritual”, devout Roman Catholic. He has two children. He is a self-avowed New York Yankees fan.