- 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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He recalls, "I got very discouraged and said to myself, if they won't give me a great part then I'll write one for myself and I'll do a one-man show and do all the parts." Palminteri followed through on his ambition, writing and starring as all 35 characters in A Bronx Tale, which opened in 1988 to rave reviews at the West Coast Theater Ensemble in Los Angeles. In 1989, Palminteri moved his one-man show to Playhouse 91 in New York City,
where it ran for four sold-out months. Palminteri's semi-autobiographical script for A Bronx Tale follows an Italian-American teenager in the Bronx who navigates his way between two role models: his hardworking and honest bus driver father and a smooth-talking crime boss.
In 1993, Palminteri received a call from legendary actor Robert De Niro, who said that he wanted to transform A Bronx Tale into a feature film. Palminteri agreed and the two co-starred in the highly acclaimed 1993 film adaptation. Propelled by A Bronx Tale, Palminteri landed a role in Woody Allen's 1994 film Bullets Over Broadway, for which he earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. In 1995, Palminteri's career again soared to new heights with his role as a customs officer in the universally beloved crime drama The Usual Suspects. Palminteri's other notable films include The Perez Family (1995), Hurlyburly (1998), Analyze This (1999), Stuart Little (1999), Down to Earth (2001) and Push (2006).
In addition to acting, Palminteri has continued to write and has also forayed into directing. As a writer, he followed up A Bronx Tale with the 1996 films Dante and Debutante and Faithful. He began his directing career in 1999 with an episode of the HBO prison drama Oz, and has since directed two films: Women vs. Men (2002) and Noel (2004).
A devout Roman Catholic, Palminteri first noticed the woman who would become his wife, Gianna Ranaudo, at church in Los Angeles in 1990. The couple married in 1992 and they live with their two children, Dante (born 1995) and Gabriella (born 2001) in upscale Bedford, New York. Palminteri later recalled how his family "used to drive out [to Bedford] and look at those houses and wonder who the hell lives here. Then you know what? One day I said to myself, 'I'm going to live here.'"
Palminteri is known as one of the most productive actors in Hollywood. His good friend Robert De Niro said about Palminteri, "He does a lot, you know? He does more than I can." However, Palminteri says that he was not always the hard worker he has become. When asked about the turning point in his life, Palminteri does not point to any role or film, but instead to a 1997 cancer scare.
Palminteri's masseuse found a growth on his neck that turned out to be a malignant tumor. The cancer was successfully removed and has not reocurred, but it made a lasting impact on Palminteri. "I spent the first half of my life being lazy, and finally I woke up and said I'm not going to waste my talent," Palminteri said about his brush with cancer. "Ever since that day I've tried to be as productive as lean."
© 2014 A+E Networks. All rights reserved.
© 2014 A+E Networks. All rights reserved.
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