Joe Pantoliano biography
SynopsisJoe Pantoliano was born September 12, 1951 in Hoboken, New Jersey. After appearing on several sitcoms and TV movies, he had a film role in Risky Business in 1983. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, he was one of Hollywood's busiest character actors. In 2001, he joined the cast of HBO’s hit dramatic series The Sopranos as Ralph Cifaretto, for which he earned an Emmy for Best Supporting Actor in 2003.
ProfileActor. Born September 12, 1951 in Hoboken, New Jersey. The son of a hearse driver and a bookie, Pantoliano was raised in a public housing project where his family was dependent on welfare. Due to severe dyslexia, Pantoliano did poorly in school, and when his stepfather saw his performance in his senior play, he encouraged the young man to pursue a career in theater. Pantoliano moved to New York after high school where he studied acting under Herbert Bergoff and John Lehne while waiting tables. In 1972, he landed the plum role of Billy Bibbitt in the traveling stage production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Four years later, he headed to Hollywood.
After cutting his teeth on several television sitcoms and TV movies, Pantoliano delivered the unforgettable role of Guido the pimp in the Tom Cruise hit Risky Business in 1983. Throughout the 1980s, Pantoliano became one of Hollywood's busiest character actors, often stealing scenes from his leading counterparts in such hit films as 1985?s The Goonies, 1987?s Empire of the Sun, 1988?s Midnight Run and 1993?s The Fugitive.
After garnering the attention of directors Andy and Larry Wachowski, Pantoliano appeared in several of their films, including Bound and The Matrix. In 2001, he joined the cast of HBO?s hit dramatic series The Sopranos, for which he earned an Emmy for Best Supporting Actor in 2003.
Pantoliano married model Nancy Sheppard in 1994; the couple has two daughters, Daniella and Isabella. He also has a son, Marco, from a previous relationship. In 2002, the actor published Who's Sorry Now: The True Story of a Stand-Up Guy, a memoir about growing up in the New Jersey projects.