- NAME: Chazz Palminteri
- OCCUPATION: Film Actor, Theater Actor, Television Actor, Television Producer, Writer
- BIRTH DATE: May 15, 1952 (Age: 61)
- EDUCATION: DeWitt Clinton High School, Theodore Roosevelt High School
- PLACE OF BIRTH: The Bronx, New York, New York
- Originally: Calogero Lorenzo Palminteri
- ZODIAC SIGN: Taurus
Best Known For
Actor Chazz Palminteri starred opposite Robert De Niro in the 1993 film adaptation of A Bronx Tale, and performed in Woody Allen’s Bullets Over Broadway (1994).
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Chazz Palminteri was born on May 15, 1952, in the Bronx, New York. In 1988, he wrote and starred in the play A Bronx Tale, and went on to star in the film adaptation, directed by Robert De Niro, in 1993. Palminteri next landed a role in Woody Allen’s 1994 film Bullets Over Broadway, followed by a part in The Usual Suspects (1995). Other notable films include The Perez Family (1995),
Hurlyburly (1998), Analyze This (1999), Down to Earth (2001) and Push (2006).
Born Calogero Lorenzo Palminteri on May 15, 1952, Chazz Palminteri grew up in an Italian-American home in the Bronx, New York. Palminteri and his two sisters were raised by their mother Rose, a homemaker, and their father Lorenzo, a bus driver. Palminteri has very fond memories of his upbringing in the Belmont section of the Bronx.
"I loved my neighborhood; I loved my childhood," Palminteri remembers. "Was it a little dangerous? Was it a little racist? Sure. But there was a decency there. It was a working-class neighborhood with fathers who woke up every morning to jobs they didn't like but did it for their families. They were firemen or cops or sanitation workers or bricklayers or bus drivers, like my father. These people are the glue that holds together Italian-American communities around the country."
A natural-born entertainer, as a child Palminteri was known as the neighborhood jokester and storyteller. He began dreaming of becoming an actor at the age of 10 when he saw the classic film On the Waterfront (1954) starring Marlon Brando. Palminteri originally attended DeWitt Clinton High School, but transferred to Theodore Roosevelt High School because he did not like the all-boys environment at DeWitt Clinton. Despite being a poor student—"I would make girls do my homework," he recalls—Palminteri graduated from Roosevelt High in 1973 and immediately set out to make it as an actor.
He studied theatre with Lee Strasburg at the Actor's Studio in New York and worked as a singer and doorman at New York nightclubs while landing a few off-Broadway roles. His biggest part during this period was a role in the 1984 film project Fine Line by then-NYU film student Ang Lee.
Unable to make any significant inroads into the New York theatre scene, in 1986 Palminteri packed his bags and moved cross-country to try his luck in Los Angeles. He quickly landed guest spots on popular TV shows such as NBC's Hill Street Blues and CBS's Wiseguy, but failed to land any more permanent roles. When he lost his job as a bouncer at a Los Angeles nightclub, Palminteri felt that his career had hit rock bottom. "I had no money in the bank," he remembers. "I started to cry. And then I remembered my dad, who always told me the saddest thing in life is wasted talent."
It was from this despair that Palminteri found the inspiration to embark on the project that would re-launch his career.
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