Dallesandro at the 2009 Seattle International Film Festival.
|Born||Joseph Angelo D'Allesandro III
December 31, 1948
Pensacola, Florida, U.S.
|Other names||Joe Catano
|Spouse(s)||Leslie (1967–1969; divorced)
Terry (1970–1978; divorced)
Joseph Angelo D'Allesandro III (born December 31, 1948), better known as Joe Dallesandro, is an American actor and Warhol superstar. Having also crossed over into mainstream roles like Lucky Luciano in The Cotton Club, Dallesandro is generally considered to be the most famous male sex symbol of American underground films of the 20th century, as well as a sex symbol of gay subculture.
Dallesandro starred in Flesh as a teenage street hustler. Rolling Stone magazine in 1970 declared his second starring vehicle, Trash, the "Best Film of the Year", making him a star of the youth culture, sexual revolution and subcultural New York art collective of the 1970s. Dallesandro also starred in 1972's Heat, another Warhol film that was conceived as a parody of Sunset Boulevard.
He was born in Pensacola, Florida to Joseph Angelo D'Allesandro II, who was in the U.S. Navy. His mother, Thelma Testman, was 16 years old. By the time he was five years old, she was serving five years in a Federal Penitentiary for interstate auto theft. Dallesandro and his brother Bobby were taken to New York by their father, who worked as an electrical engineer. Both boys were eventually placed into the Angel Guardian Home in Harlem, prior to being fostered by a couple in Brooklyn. The family later moved to North Babylon, Long Island. The senior D'Allesandro would visit them about once a month at their foster parents' home. Dallesandro was initially happy living with his foster parents, but later reportedly began to resent them, thinking that they were preventing him from living with his father.
Dallesandro began acting out, and became aggressive. He repeatedly ran away from his foster home until his birth father finally relented and allowed him to live with him. At age 14, Dallesandro and his brother moved to Queens to live with their paternal grandparents and their father.
At age 15, he was expelled from school for punching the school principal, who had reportedly insulted his father. After this, he began hanging out with gangs and stealing cars. In one such instance, Dallesandro panicked and smashed the stolen car he was driving through the gate of the Holland Tunnel. He was stopped by a police roadblock and shot once in the leg by police who mistakenly thought he was armed. Dallesandro managed to escape being caught by police, but was later arrested when his father took him to the hospital for his gunshot wound. He was sentenced to Camp Cass Rehabilitation Center for Boys in the Catskills in 1964. In 1965, he ran away from the camp, and supported himself by nude modeling, appearing most notably in short films and magazine photos for Bob Mizer's Athletic Model Guild.
Underground film career
Dallesandro met Andy Warhol and Paul Morrissey in 1967 while they were shooting Four Stars, and they cast him in the film on the spot. Warhol would later comment "In my movies, everyone's in love with Joe Dallesandro."
Dallesandro played a hustler in his third Warhol film, Flesh (1968), where he had several nude scenes. Flesh became a crossover hit with mainstream audiences, and Dallesandro became the most popular of the Warhol stars. New York Times film critic Vincent Canby wrote of him: "His physique is so magnificently shaped that men as well as women become disconnected at the sight of him."
As Dallesandro's underground fame began to cross over into the popular culture, he graced the cover of Rolling Stone in April 1971. He was also photographed by some of the top celebrity photographers of the time: Francesco Scavullo, Annie Leibovitz, Richard Avedon.
Dallesandro appeared in Lonesome Cowboys (1968), Trash (1970), Heat (1972), Andy Warhol's Frankenstein, and Andy Warhol's Dracula (both 1974), also directed by Morrissey. These last two films were shot in Europe. After filming was complete, he chose not to return to the U.S. He appeared in Serge Gainsbourg's Je t'aime moi non plus (France, 1976), which starred Gainsbourg's wife, British actress Jane Birkin.
Dallesandro continued to star in films made mainly in France and Italy for the rest of the decade, returning to the U.S. in the 1980s. He made several mainstream films during the 1980s and 1990s. One of his first notable roles was that of 1920s gangster Lucky Luciano in Francis Coppola's The Cotton Club. Working with manager/attorney Stann Findelle, his career enjoyed a resurgence. He had roles in Critical Condition (1987) opposite Richard Pryor, Sunset (1988) with Bruce Willis and James Garner, Cry-Baby (1990) with Johnny Depp, Guncrazy (1992) with Drew Barrymore, and Steven Soderbergh's 1999 film The Limey. He has also worked in television. In 1986, he co-starred in the ABC drama series Fortune Dane. The series lasted only five episodes. Dallesandro has also made guest appearances on Wiseguy, Miami Vice, and Matlock.
The Teddy Award, an honor recognizing those filmmakers and artists who have contributed to the further acceptance of LGBT lifestyles, culture, and artistic vision, was awarded to Joe in February 2009. A biography, "Little Joe: Superstar" by Michael Ferguson was released earlier in 2001 and a filmed documentary, Little Joe (2009), has been released with Joe serving as writer and producer. His adopted daughter, Vedra Mehagian, also served as a producer of the film.
Dallesandro is bisexual, has married three times, and has three children. He married his first wife, Leslie, the daughter of his father's girlfriend, in 1967; their son, Michael, was born circa 1968. The marriage was dissolved in 1969.
His second marriage was to Theresa ("Terry") in 1970, and their son, Joseph A. Dallesandro, Jr., was born November 14, 1970. The couple divorced in early 1978. He has a grandson and a granddaughter by his son Michael, and a grandson by his son Joseph. Dallesandro also adopted Vedra, the daughter of former girlfriend Nancy Mehagian, a vegetarian chef, restauranteur, and cookbook author. Nancy has stated that although she had a relationship with Joe in the 1980s, Vedra was not Joe's biological daughter. However, "Vedra and Joe have always been like father and daughter, since Vedra has never met her biological father." In 1987, Dallesandro married a third time, to Kimberly ("Kim"); the couple renewed their vows. Dallesandro is semi-retired from acting, and currently manages an apartment building in Los Angeles.
In popular culture
- Dallesandro has a scroll tattoo which he did himself on his upper right arm that reads "Little Joe". Dallesandro's nickname was used in Lou Reed's song, "Walk on the Wild Side", about the characters Reed knew from Warhol's studio, The Factory.
- A Warhol photograph of the crotch bulge of Dallesandro's tight blue jeans graces the famous cover of the Rolling Stones album Sticky Fingers. Dallesandro explained to biographer Michael Ferguson, “It was just out of a collection of junk photos that Andy pulled from. He didn't pull it out for the design or anything, it was just the first one he got that he felt was the right shape to fit what he wanted to use for the fly.”
- The 1980s British band The Smiths would later use a still photograph of Dallesandro from the film Flesh as the cover of their eponymous debut album.
|1967||Four Stars||College Wrestler||Alternative title: The 24 Hour Movie|
|1968||San Diego Surf||Joe|
|1968||The Loves of Ondine||College Wrestler|
|1968||Flesh||Joe, the hustler||Alternative title: Andy Warhol's Flesh|
|1968||Lonesome Cowboys||Little Joe||Alternative title: Ramona and Julian|
|1970||Trash||Joe Smith||Alternative title: Andy Warhol's Trash|
|1973||Andy Warhol's Frankenstein||Nicholas, the stableboy||Alternative title: Flesh for Frankenstein|
|1974||Blood for Dracula||Mario Balato, the Servant||Alternative title: Andy Warhol's Dracula|
|1975||The Climber||Aldo, the Climber||Alternative title: L'ambizioso|
|1975||Black Moon||Brother Lily|
|1975||Savage Three||Ovidio Mainardi||Alternative title: Fango bollente|
|1975||Season for Assassins||Pierro Giaranaldi||Alternative title: Il tempo degli assassini|
|1976||Born Winner||Perikles||Alternative title: L'ultima volta|
|1976||Je t'aime moi non plus||Gary||Alternative title: I Love You, I Don't or I Love You... Neither Do I|
|1978||Safari Rally||Joe Massi||Alternative title: 6000 km di paura|
|1978||Killer Nun||Dr. Patrick Roland||Alternative titles: Suor Omicidi
|1980||Madness||Joe Brezzi||Alternative title: Vacanze per un massacro|
|1982||Queen Lear||Joseph Kunz, the father|
|1984||The Cotton Club||Charles "Lucky" Luciano|
|1986||Fortune Dane||'Perfect' Tommy Nicautri||5 episodes|
|1987||Miami Vice||Alfredo Giulinni||Episode: "Down for the Count: Part 2"|
|1987||Wiseguy||Paul 'Pat the Cat' Patrice||5 episodes|
|1988||The Hitchhiker||Gerard||Episode: "Fashion Exchange"|
|1988||Double Revenge||Joe Halsey|
|1989||The Hollywood Detective||Eddie Northcott||Television movie|
|1990||Matlock||Bobby Boyd||2 episodes|
|1990||Almost an Angel||Bank Hood Leader|
|1991||Inside Out||Richard||Segment: "The Diaries"|
|1991||Wild Orchid II: Two Shades of Blue||Jules|
|1992||Love Is Like That||Boss|
|1994||Sugar Hill||Tony Adamo|
|1995||Theodore Rex||Rogan||Direct-to-video release|
|1998||L.A. Without a Map||Michael|
|1999||The Limey||Uncle John||Credited as Joe Dallessandro|
|2002||Pacino Is Missing||Sal Colletti|
|2008||3 Stories About Evil||Jean Maries||Short film|
- Gary Morris (2010-03-31). "Bright Lights Film Journal: Books: Little Joe, Superstar: The Films of Joe Dallesandro". Brightlightsfilm.com. Retrieved 2010-10-07.
- Watson, Steven (2003). Factory Made: Warhol and the Sixties. Random House Digital, Inc. p. 22. ISBN 0-679-42372-9.
- Watson, Steven (2003). Factory Made: Warhol and the Sixties. Random House Digital, Inc. p. 23. ISBN 0-679-42372-9.
- Watson, Steven (2003). Factory Made: Warhol and the Sixties. Random House Digital, Inc. p. 1962. ISBN 0-679-42372-9.
- Watson, Steven (2003). Factory Made: Warhol and the Sixties. Random House Digital, Inc. pp. 237–238. ISBN 0-679-42372-9.
- "Interview with Joe Dallesandro". Manner of Man Magazine.
- Greenberg, Jan; Jordan, Sandra (2009). Andy Warhol, Prince of Pop. Random House Digital, Inc. p. 120. ISBN 0-307-51306-8.
- Hawkins, Joan (2000). Cutting Edge: Art-Horror and the Horrific Avant-garde. University of Minnesota Press. p. 197. ISBN 0-816-63413-0.
- Man To Man: A History Of Gay Photography. Vendome Press. 2007. p. 78.
- Ferguson, Dr, Michael (2004). Idol Worship: A Shamless Celebration of Male Beauty in the Cinema (2 ed.). STARbooks Press. p. 162. ISBN 1-891-85548-4.
- Joe Dallesandro at the Internet Movie Database
- Ferguson, Michael; Dallesandro, Joe (1998). Little Joe, Superstar: The Films of Joe Dallesandro. Companion Press. p. 82. ISBN 1-889-13809-6.
- Lyons, Tina (1998). "Joe Dallesandro,1998". indexmagazine.com. Retrieved November 18, 2012.
- Ferguson, Michael; Dallesandro, Joe (1998). Little Joe, Superstar: The Films of Joe Dallesandro. Companion Press. pp. 19–20. ISBN 1-889-13809-6.
- O'Brien, Glenn. "Joe Dallesandro". interviewmagazine.com. Retrieved 18 November 2012.
- Watson, Steven (2003). Factory Made: Warhol and the Sixties. Random House Digital, Inc. p. 162. ISBN 0-679-42372-9.
- Roberts, Chris (2004). A Walk On The Wild Side: The Stories Behind the Songs: Lou Reed. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 44. ISBN 0-634-08032-6.
- "Album Cover Joe". Joedallesandro.com. Retrieved 2010-10-07.
- Grønstad, Asbjørn; Vagnes, Oyvind (2010). Cover Scaping: Discovering Album Aesthetics. Museum Tusculanum Press. p. 104. ISBN 8-763-50774-9.
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