Joe Mantegna Bio - Biography

Name Joe Mantegna
Height 5' 11¾"
Naionality American
Date of Birth 13 November 1947
Place of Birth Chicago, Illinois, USA
Famous for
Joe Mantegna began acting while in high school by participating in several school plays. Upon earning his degree, he made his professional stage debut playing Berger in a touring production of “Hair.” Returning to his hometown of Chicago, Mantegna was cast as Judas in “Jesus Christ Superstar” before joining the Organic Theatre Company in which he acted in several productions, including “The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit” and “Cops.” In 1977, he staged and co-authored the award-winning off-Broadway play “Bleacher Bums,” which was subsequently produced for TV. The actor debuted on Broadway a year later in the musical “Working.” Shortly thereafter, he moved to Los Angeles with his wife.

A year after the move, Mantegna landed his first primetime TV gig in the ABC biopic “Elvis” (1979), which starred Kurt Russell as the famous rock singer. He followed it up with a recurring role in the ABC sitcom “Soap,” in which he played Juan One from 1980 to 1981, and a series of guest spots in shows like “Bosom Buddies” (1981) and “Simon & Simon” (1982). He then appeared in the unmemorable independent movie “Second Thoughts” (1983), helmed by Lawrence Turman. It was in 1984 that Mantegna scored success on stage when he was cast by David Mamet as the foul-mouthed real estate broker Ricky Roma in the Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Glengarry Glen Ross.” Delivering a bright performance, he was handed a Tony for Best Actor. Before “Glengarry Glen Ross,” Mantegna and Mamet had worked together in the plays “A Life in the Theatre” (1976) and “The Disappearance of the Jews,” both at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago.

Following his award-winning performance, Mantegna had his first major feature role in 1985's “Compromising Positions,” where he was cast opposite Susan Sarandon and Raul Julia, Mamet gave the performer his first leading role in a feature, “House of Games” (1987). The crime/thriller movie saw Mantegna play a con man named Mike. They went on to work together in the Broadway play “Speed-the-Plow” (also 1988) and the films “Things Changes” (1988), and “Homicide” (1991).

Mantegna also portrayed small-time hoodlum Joey Zasa in the highly acclaimed movie “Mario Puzo's 'The Godfather: Part III'” (1990), directed by Francis Ford Coppola and starring Al Pacino. He also starred with Mia Farrow in Woody Allen's “Alice” (1990), played Hollywood veteran George Raft in the Barry Levinson-directed “Bugsy” (1991), supported Madonna in “Body of Evidence” (1993) and delivered an impressive change-of-pace turn as the father of a chess prodigy in Steve Zaillian's “Searching for Bobby Fischer” (1993). His other film credits include “Baby's Day Out” (1994), “Forget Paris” (1995), “Above Suspicion” (1995), “Up Close & Personal” (1996), “Eye for an Eye” (1996) and “Stephen King's 'Thinner” (1996). Meanwhile, on the small screen, Mantegna acted in several TV films, most notably playing the lead role of a genius inventor in the TNT drama “The Water Engine” (1992), based on a play written by Mamet, and an emergency room physician in HBO's “State of Emergency” (1994). Beginning in 1991, his voice could be heard as gruff mobster Fat Tony on the popular Fox series “The Simpsons.” He revisited the stage in 1994 by directing Mamet's play “Lifeboat” at the Tiffany Theater in West Hollywood, which was later made into a feature film called “Lakeboat” and earned the director a Grand Prize at the 2001 Savannah Film and Video Festival.

The remainder of the 1990s saw Mantegna add movie credits with performances in such films as Woody Allen's “Celebrity” (1998, as a TV producer), the well-received “Jerry and Tom” (1998, opposite Sam Rockwel), the Sundance-screened “The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit” (1998, as Gomez) and Barry Levinson's semi-autobiographical coming-of-age tale “Liberty Heights” (1999, as Nate Kurtzman). During this period, Mantegna was probably most known for his television work. In CBS’ miniseries “Mario Puzo's “The Last Don” (1997), he was nominated for an Emmy in the category of Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Special for his role of Pippi De Lena, a role he subsequently recreated for the 1998 sequel “Mario Puzo's “The Last Don II.'” He picked up his next Emmy nomination and a Golden Globe nomination after playing Dean Martin in the HBO biopic “The Rat Pack” (1997). He also starred as Fidel Castro in the drama “My Little Assassin” (1999), opposite Gabrielle Anwar, teamed up with Blythe Danner to portray Holocaust survivors in “Call to Remember” (1997) and was cast in the title role of Spencer in the first of a series of films based on Robert Parker's Spenser novels, “Small Vices” (1999).

In 2002, the veteran actor ventured to a weekly series by taking on the starring role of the Justice Joseph Novelli on the CBS Supreme Court drama “First Monday.” Unfortunately, the show had a short life and was canceled after only 13 episodes. He fared better as Will Girardi, the patriarch of the young Girardi clan, in the surprise hit CBS series “Joan of Arcadia” (2003-2005). In 2004, Mantegna could be seen as the father of Mark Deloach (played by Jonathan Tucker) in “Stateside,” a drama film directed and penned by Reverge Anselmo. He next joined the ensemble cast of Rodrigo García's “Nine Lives,” from which he jointly netted a Gotham nomination for Best Ensemble Cast, costarred with Anne Archer in “Uncle Nino” (2005), a comedy/drama about a dysfunctional family brought closer by a visiting relative, and appeared as Jack Rossati in the made-for-TV film “Let Go” (2006).

From January to July 2007, Mantegna made four feature films. First, he had a supporting role in the Max Minghella/Blake Lively vehicle “Elvis and Anabelle,” then was featured as Tom Benike in the thriller “Naked Fear” and costarred with Jason Jurman and Warren Kole in the comedy “Cougar Club.” He also recreated the voice character of Fat Tony for “The Simpsons Movie.” On TV, the skilled performer took home his third Emmy nomination for his work in the miniseries “The Starter Wife” (2007), opposite Debra Messing. More recently, he signed on to replace departing star Mandy Patinkin on the CBS crime/drama series “Criminal Minds,” playing retired FBI special agent David Rossi. He is set to make his first appearance in the fifth episode of the new season.

“We are all thrilled to have Joe Mantegna joining our family. He's an incredible actor, a genuinely nice person.” “Criminal Minds” executive producer Ed Bernero on Mantegna

Mantegna has completed filming David Lee Miller's “Buster's Class Project,” the Ronnie Marmo-penned “West of Brooklyn” and the based-on-novel “Lonely Street” (all 2007), and has roles in four films still in post-production, namely “Childless” (2007), “Witless Protection,” “Hank and Mike” and “Redbelt” (all 2008). In addition, the busy actor is scheduled to play Jason Steele in the upcoming film “The Flicker's Dance” (2008).

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