Date of Birth : Apr 26th 1958
American film and television actor. He made his Broadway debut (1966) at age eight playing a slave child opposite Shirley Jones in the short-lived Maggie Flynn. He did not take offense at the play’s racial politics then; he was thrilled. “I had a solo and everything.”
In the 1980s, Esposito appeared in small roles in films such as Maximum Overdrive, King of New York, and Trading Places and TV shows such as Miami Vice and Spenser: For Hire. In 1988, he landed his breakout role as a college student labeled a “wannabe” by his peers in director Spike Lee’s film School Daze. Over the next four years, Esposito and Lee collaborated on three other movies: Do the Right Thing, Mo’ Better Blues, and Malcolm X. He also appeared in Reckless with Mia Farrow.
Esposito is known for his portrayal of FBI agent Mike Giardello on the TV crime drama Homicide: Life on the Street. That role reflected both his black and Italian heritage. He played it 1998–1999 until the series’ cancellation. The character’s father Al is portrayed as subject to colorism, something Esposito’s character practiced in School Daze. Another biracial role was Sergeant Paul Gigante in the television comedy series, Bakersfield P.D. (Fox Broadcasting Company, 1993–1994). Other TV credits include NYPD Blue, Law & Order, The Practice, and Fallen Angels: Fearless.
Esposito has portrayed drug dealers (Fresh), cops (The Usual Suspects), political radicals (Bob Roberts) and even a demonic version of the Greek God of Sleep from another dimension (Monkeybone.) He played Cassius Clay, Sr., in Ali and Nuyorican poet Miguel Piñero’s friend and collaborator Miguel Algarín in Piñero, both released in 2001. He also played J.C. Pierce, a cadet in the 1981 movie Taps.