Date of Birth : May 15th 1952
New York-born and raised Chazz Palminteri was a natural choice to continue the Italianate torch in film. In the tradition set forth in the 1970s by such icons as director Martin Scorsese and actors Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, John Cazale and Joe Pesci, Palminteri brought grit, muscle and an evocative realism to the sidewalks of his New York neighborhood, violent as they were. Born in 1952, Palmintieri grew up in a tough area of the Bronx and it gave young Calogero (Palminteri’s given first name) the life lessons that would later prove very useful.
He received a well-deserved Oscar nomination the following year for his portrayal in Woody Allen’s hilarious jazz-era comedy Bullets Over Broadway (1994) of a Runyonesque-type hit man. He was on the right side of the law in both The Perez Family (1995) – his first romantic lead–and The Usual Suspects (1995). He was the ill-fated brute in Diabolique (1996) and wrote a second screenplay, Faithful (1996), in which he again plays a hit man, terrorizing both Cher and ‘Ryan O’Neal (I)’. Though finding himself invariably caught in a rather tight-fitting typecast, it has been a secure and flashy one that continues to run strong into the millennium. Surprisingly, the one obvious show he has yet to be featured in is HBO’s “The Sopranos” (1999), but it’s probably just a matter of time.