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Kirby (standing at right) in The Super, 1972
|Born||Bruno Giovanni Quidaciolu, Jr.
April 28, 1949
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Died||August 14, 2006
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Other names||Bruce Kirby, Jr.
B. Kirby, Jr.
Bruno Kirby (April 28, 1949 – August 14, 2006) was an American film and television actor. He was known for his roles in the Hollywood films City Slickers, When Harry Met Sally..., Good Morning, Vietnam, The Godfather Part II, and Donnie Brasco.
Kirby was born Bruno Giovanni Quidaciolu, Jr. in New York City, New York. His father is actor Bruce Kirby (born Bruno Giovanni Quidaciolu). His brother, John Kirby, is a notable acting coach. Kirby attended Power Memorial Academy.
Kirby was a popular character actor through the late 1980s and early 1990s. His film debut was in 1971's The Young Graduates. It was his role in The Godfather Part II, as the young Peter Clemenza, that raised his profile in Hollywood. Richard Castellano had appeared in The Godfather (1972) as hefty Pete Clemenza, a prominent member of the Corleone crime family, and Kirby subsequently played a younger version of Clemenza in The Godfather Part II. Coincidentally, in the summer of 1972 Kirby, in one of his early television appearances, portrayed Anthony Girelli, the son of Castellano's character Joe Girelli, in the television situation comedy The Super.
Other television appearances include Room 222, and the pilot episode of M*A*S*H, playing the character Boone (he has no lines). He also appeared in the 1974 Columbo episode "By Dawn's Early Light" alongside father Bruce Kirby and in the season 2 episode "Seance" of "Emergency!", where he was credited as "B. Kirby, Jr.".
Described by film critic Leonard Maltin as "the quintessential New Yorker or cranky straight man", Kirby displayed his talents in a series of comedies, typically playing fast-talking, belligerent, yet strangely likeable characters. His best-known roles include a colleague of Albert Brooks' film editor in Modern Romance, a talkative limo driver in This Is Spinal Tap, the jealous, comedically impaired U.S. Army officer Lt. Hauk in Good Morning, Vietnam and a shifty assistant to Marlon Brando — a parody of his Godfather role — in The Freshman. Kirby balanced comedies with dramatic roles such as that in Donnie Brasco as a double dealing mobster.
Kirby and comedian Billy Crystal made a popular screen team in When Harry Met Sally... (1989) and City Slickers (1991). Both featured Kirby's character as the opinionated best friend to Crystal's character. However, Kirby refused to sign on for the sequel City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly's Gold unless script changes were made, and was subsequently replaced by Jon Lovitz.
In 1991, Kirby made his Broadway debut when he replaced Kevin Spacey in Neil Simon's Lost in Yonkers. In the last decade of his life, Kirby had success in the animated film Stuart Little, and was increasingly working on television. He starred as Barry Scheck in a 2000 CBS drama American Tragedy, played a paroled convict in a season three episode of Homicide: Life on the Street, and also directed an episode of Homicide: Life on the Street.
Personal life and death
Kirby married actress Lynn Sellers on September 29, 2003. Kirby died on August 14, 2006, from complications related to leukemia. According to the Associated Press and other news reports, his widow stated that he had only recently been diagnosed with the disease.
Kirby, like his character in This Is Spinal Tap, was a fan of Frank Sinatra. He enjoyed playing softball in the late 1970s. He was also very allergic to horses, and needed daily allergy shots on the set of City Slickers. In 2006, less than six months before his death, Kirby was invited to be a member of Actors Studio.
Awards and nominations
|Year||Result||Award||Category||Film or series|
|1992||Nominated||American Comedy Awards||Funniest Supporting Actor||City Slickers|
- Revealed in an interview on Bob Costas' Later show