Steve Buscemi

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Steve Buscemi
Steve Buscemi 2009 portrait.jpg
Buscemi at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival
Born Steven Vincent Buscemi
(1957-12-13) December 13, 1957 (age 57)
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Occupation Actor, director, writer
Years active 1983–present
Spouse(s) Jo Andres (m. 1987)
Children 1

Steven Vincent "Steve" Buscemi (Italian: [buˈʃɛmi] boo-SEM-ee; /bʉˈsɛmi/ in the actor's personal preference and habit;[1] born December 13, 1957) is an American actor, director and writer. Buscemi has starred and supported in successful Hollywood and indie films, including Parting Glances, New York Stories, Mystery Train, Reservoir Dogs, Desperado, Con Air, Armageddon, The Grey Zone, Ghost World, and Big Fish; and The Sopranos. He is also known for his appearances in many films by the Coen brothers: Miller's Crossing, Barton Fink, The Hudsucker Proxy, Fargo and The Big Lebowski. Buscemi provides the voice of Randall Boggs in the Monsters, Inc. franchise.

Since 2010, he has starred in the critically acclaimed series Boardwalk Empire, which earned him two Screen Actors Guild Awards, a Golden Globe, and two nominations for an Emmy Award. He made his directorial debut in 1996, with Trees Lounge, in which he also starred. Other works include Animal Factory (2000), Lonesome Jim (2005) and Interview (2007). He has also directed numerous episodes of TV shows, including Homicide: Life on the Street, The Sopranos, Oz, 30 Rock and Nurse Jackie.

Early life[edit]

Buscemi was born in Brooklyn, New York to John Buscemi, a sanitation worker and Korean War veteran, and Dorothy (née Wilson), who worked as a hostess at Howard Johnson's. Buscemi's father was of Italian descent; his ancestors were from the town of Menfi in Sicily. Buscemi's mother was of Irish, English, and Dutch ancestry.[2][3][4] He has three brothers: Jon, Ken, and Michael. Buscemi was raised Roman Catholic.[3]

He graduated in 1975 from Valley Stream Central High School in Nassau County, New York, a school which he attended with actress Patricia Charbonneau. In high school, Buscemi wrestled for the varsity squad and participated in the drama troupe. Buscemi's 1996 film Trees Lounge, in which he not only starred but served as screenwriter and director, is set in and was largely shot in his childhood village of Valley Stream.[5]

Buscemi briefly attended Nassau Community College before moving to Manhattan to enroll in the Lee Strasberg Institute. In 1980, Buscemi became a firefighter in New York City, after taking a civil service test in 1976 when he was 18. For four years, Buscemi served on FDNY's Engine Co. 55 in Manhattan's Little Italy.[6] After 9/11, Buscemi returned to Engine 55 and for several days worked 12-hour shifts alongside other firefighters to sift through the rubble from the World Trade Center. In 2003, he gave a speech supporting higher wages for firefighters at a union rally.[7]



His film debut was the 1985 No Wave Cinema film The Way it Is, directed by Eric Mitchell.[8] Other early films include Parting Glances in 1986, Slaves of New York in 1988, and Tales from the Darkside, a 1990 film with three segments. Buscemi starred in the first segment, playing Bellingham, a college student who orders a mummy and unleashes it on fellow college students played by Christian Slater and Julianne Moore. In 1990, Buscemi had a couple of additional crime roles. He played the henchman of Laurence Fishburne named Test Tube in Abel Ferrara’s King of New York. He also played Mink in the Coen Brothers' Millers Crossing. Although he had to audition twice for this role,[9] it marked the first of five of the Coen Brothers' films in which Buscemi appeared. Before his work with the Coen Brothers, he appeared in Jim Jarmusch's anthology film Mystery Train, released in 1989, for which he received an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Supporting Male.[10]

In 1991, he played the bellboy, Chet, in the Coen Brothers film, Barton Fink. His first lead role was in 1992, where he played Adolpho Rollo in Alexandre Rockwell's In the Soup. Then he came to public attention for playing Mr. Pink in Quentin Tarantino’s 1992 film, Reservoir Dogs, a role that Tarantino wrote for himself.[9] In 1995, Buscemi played suspected cop-shooter Gordon Pratt in the episode "End Game" at the end of a three-episode arc of Homicide: Life on the Street. He also had a role as Phil Hickle, Ellen's father and older Pete's guidance counselor, in The Adventures of Pete and Pete, as well as guest-starring in Miami Vice in 1986. Buscemi was rumored to be considered for the role of The Scarecrow in Joel Schumacher's proposed fifth installment of the first Batman franchise, Batman Triumphant, before Warner Bros. cancelled the project.[11]

Buscemi in 1996

Buscemi's other most notable character roles include Garland Greene in Con Air, Rockhound in Armageddon, Randall Boggs in Monsters, Inc. and Monsters University, Donny in The Big Lebowski, Carl Showalter in Fargo, Norther Winslow in Big Fish and Seymour in Ghost World, for which he won several awards.

Buscemi often plays characters that are neurotic and paranoid. He has frequently appeared in Adam Sandler films such as Airheads, Billy Madison, The Wedding Singer, Big Daddy, Mr. Deeds, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, and Grown Ups, Grown Ups 2, and has worked with Tim Burton, Quentin Tarantino, producer Jerry Bruckheimer, Jim Jarmusch, Robert Rodriguez, and Michael Bay. He has said of his work, "I don’t think of myself as having a career. I think of having jobs. When I work, I want to have good jobs. I want to do interesting films. I also want to make a living. You don’t always work on the things that you can put your heart into, so it’s good to work on things that you can get into one hundred percent."[9]

In 2002, Steve contributed to Lou Reed's concept album The Raven with the song "Broadway Song", and poems "Old Poe" and "The Cask". In 2003, Buscemi made a brief celebrity guest appearance as himself on the long-running Fox animated television show The Simpsons in the episode "Brake My Wife, Please". Most recently, Buscemi provided the voice for Dwight, a bank robber whom Marge promises to visit in jail if he turns himself in to the authorities. This episode, entitled "I Don't Wanna Know Why the Caged Bird Sings", originally aired on October 14, 2007. In 2004, Buscemi joined the cast of The Sopranos as Tony Soprano's cousin and childhood friend, Tony Blundetto, a role for which he was nominated an Emmy Award.[12] Buscemi had previously contributed to the show as director of the third season episode "Pine Barrens", which was one of the most critically acclaimed episodes of the series, and the fourth season episode "Everybody Hurts."[13] He appeared in the episode three of season six, as a doorman in the afterlife, which is portrayed as a country club, in Tony Soprano's dream. He returned to direct the episodes "In Camelot", the seventh episode of season five, and "Mr. & Mrs. John Sacrimoni Request...", the fifth episode of season 6. He also appeared in the music video of the Bob Marley track cover of Joe Strummer's (who died before it was shot) "Redemption Song" with a graffiti portrait.

Buscemi starred in the HBO series Boardwalk Empire, as Enoch "Nucky" Thompson (based on Enoch L. Johnson), a corrupt Atlantic City politician who rules the town during the Prohibition era. He won a Golden Globe award for best lead actor in a drama series and hosted NBC's Saturday Night Live in 2011. He also hosts and produces his own web series talk show, Park Bench, which debuted in May 2014.[14]

In 2015, Buscemi acted in a television commercial for Snickers, which first aired during Super Bowl XLIX. In the commercial, Buscemi appears as the personality of Jan Brady who has not yet eaten the candy bar.[15]


Buscemi has worked extensively as a writer and director since making his debut feature during the 1990s. His directorial credits include:

In addition to feature films, he directed episodes of the television shows Homicide: Life on the Street, four episodes of The Sopranos, including one of the most critically acclaimed episodes; Pine Barrens, as well as two episodes of HBO's prison-drama series Oz, entitled "U.S. Male" and "Cuts Like a Knife". He has also directed two episodes of 30 Rock ("Retreat to Move Forward" and "Leap Day") and six episodes of Showtime's Nurse Jackie. In the latter, his brother Michael played the character God in several episodes. While scouting a location for a film, Buscemi visited the Philadelphia Eastern State Penitentiary and found the building so interesting that he later provided the majority of the narration for the audio tour there.[16][17]


Buscemi pronounces his name as "Bu-semmy", but the Italian pronunciation is "Bu-shehmy".[18] He once said about the pronunciation of his name: "I had to go to Sicily to find out I pronounce my name wrong."[1]< In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, he was adamant about not altering his famously misaligned teeth, saying "I've had dentists who have wanted to help me out, but I say, 'You know, I won't work again if you fix my teeth."[19][20]

Personal life[edit]

He was a New York City firefighter from 1980 to 1984, with Engine Company No. 55, in the Little Italy section of New York. He showed up at his old firehouse the day after the 9/11 attacks in New York to volunteer, working twelve-hour shifts for a week, and digging through rubble looking for missing firefighters.[21] Buscemi was arrested, along with eleven others, on May 25, 2003, while protesting the closing of a number of firehouses including Engine 55.[22] In the summer of 2011, he joined rallies against the threat of the closing of eight Brooklyn firehouses under Mayor Bloomberg, saying "Closing [these firehouses] is no way to protect New York."[23] In 2014, Buscemi starred and narrated the HBO documentary A Good Job: Stories of the FDNY where he revisits his career with fellow firefighters and shares their stories including those from September 11th.[24]

In April 2001, while shooting the film Domestic Disturbance in Wilmington, North Carolina, Buscemi was slashed and badly scarred on the face while at the Firebelly Lounge, intervening in a bar fight between his friends Vince Vaughn, screenwriter Scott Rosenberg, and a local man, who allegedly instigated the brawl.[25][26]

He was in an episode of Who Do You Think You Are?, where he traced his maternal ancestry back to Julia Vanderhoof and Ralph B. Montgomery (1834-1878).[27]

Buscemi married choreographer Jo Andres in 1987. They have one son, Lucian, born in 1990.[28]



Year Title Role Notes
1985 The Way it Is Willy / Raphael
1985 Tommy's Tommy Short film
1986 Parting Glances Nick
1986 No Picnic Dead Pimp
1986 Film House Fever Tony
1987 Arena Brains Agent Short film
1987 Kiss Daddy Goodnight Johnny
1987 Heart Nicky
1988 Call Me Switchblade
1988 Heart of Midnight Eddy
1988 Vibes Fred
1989 Coffee and Cigarettes II Waiter Short film
1989 Slaves of New York Wilfredo
1989 Mystery Train Charlie the Barber Nominated – Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actor
1989 New York Stories Gregory Stark Segment: Life Lessons
1989 Bloodhounds of Broadway Whining Willie
1990 Tales from the Darkside: The Movie Bellingham Segment: Lot 249
1990 King of New York Test Tube
1990 Miller's Crossing Mink
1991 Zandalee OPP Man
1991 Barton Fink Chet
1991 Life Is Nice Convient Store Clerk
1991 Billy Bathgate Irving
1992 In the Soup Aldolpho Rollo
1992 Reservoir Dogs Mr. Pink Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actor
1992 CrissCross Drug Dealer
1992 What Happens to Pete Stranger Short film
1993 Twenty Bucks Frank
1993 Claude Danny
1993 Rising Sun Willy 'the Weasel' Wilhelm
1993 Ed and His Dead Mother Ed Chilton
1994 Search for One-eye Jimmy, TheThe Search for One-eye Jimmy Ed Hoyt
1994 Hudsucker Proxy, TheThe Hudsucker Proxy Beatnik Barman
1994 Somebody to Love Mickey
1994 Airheads Rex
1994 Pulp Fiction "Buddy Holly" waiter
1994 Floundering Ned
1994 Who Do I Gotta Kill? Conspiracy Nut Uncredited
1995 Billy Madison Danny McGrath Uncredited
1995 Living in Oblivion Nick Reve
1995 Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead Mister Shhh
1995 Desperado Buscemi
1996 Fargo Carl Showalter Nominated – Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture – Drama
1996 Escape from L.A. Map to the Stars Eddie
1996 Black Kites The Father Short film
1996 Trees Lounge Tommy Also writer and director
Nominated – Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature (shared with Chris Hanley and Brad Wyman)
Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay
1996 Kansas City Johnny Flynn
1997 Con Air Garland 'The Marietta Mangler' Greene
1997 Real Blonde, TheThe Real Blonde Nick Reve
1998 Big Lebowski, TheThe Big Lebowski Theodore Donald 'Donny' Kerabatsos
1998 Divine Trash Himself Documentary
1998 Impostors, TheThe Impostors Happy Franks
1998 Wedding Singer, TheThe Wedding Singer David 'Dave' Veltri Uncredited
1998 Armageddon Rockhound
1998 Louis & Frank Drexel
1999 Big Daddy Homeless Guy
2000 28 Days Cornell Shaw
2000 Animal Factory A.R. Hosspack Also director and producer
2001 Ghost World Seymour Won – Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actor
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor
Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor
National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor
Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor
Vancouver Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor
Village Voice Film Poll – Best Supporting Performance
Nominated – American Film Institute Award for Best Supporting Actor
Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor
Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
2001 Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within Neil Fleming Voice
2001 Grey Zone, TheThe Grey Zone 'Hesch' Abramowics
2001 Double Whammy Jerry Cubbins
2001 Domestic Disturbance Ray Coleman
2001 Monsters, Inc. Randall "Randy" Boggs Voice
2002 Mr. Deeds Crazy Eyes
2002 13 Moons Bananas the Clown
2002 Love in the Time of Money Martin Kunkle
2002 Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams Romero
2003 Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over Romero
2003 Coffee and Cigarettes Waiter Segment: "Twins"
2003 Big Fish Norther Winslow
2004 Home on the Range Wesley Voice
2005 Who's the Top Cymon Short film
2005 The Island James McCord
2005 Lonesome Jim Director
2005 Romance & Cigarettes Angelo
2006 Art School Confidential Broadway Bob D'Annunzio Uncredited
2006 Monster House Horace Nebbercracker Voice
2006 Charlotte's Web Templeton the Rat Voice
2006 Delirious Les Galantine
2006 Paris, je t'aime The Tourist Segment: Tuileries
2007 I Think I Love My Wife George Sianidis
2007 Interview Pierre Peters Also writer and director
2007 I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry Clint Fitzer
2007 I'm Dirty! Backhoe Loader Voice
Short film
2008 Igor Scamper Voice
2009 Rage Frank
2009 John Rabe Dr. Robert Wilson Nominated – German Film Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
2009 G-Force Bucky Voice
2009 Messenger, TheThe Messenger Dale Martin
2009 I Knew It Was You John Cazale Documentary
2009 Handsome Harry Thomas Kelley
2009 Saint John of Las Vegas John Alighieri
2009 Youth in Revolt George Twisp
2010 Grown Ups Wiley
2010 Pete Smalls Is Dead Bernie Lake
2010 Chosen One, TheThe Chosen One Neal
2011 Fight for Your Right Revisited Walter Short film
2011 Rampart Bill Blago
2012 On the Road Tall Thin Salesman
2012 Hotel Transylvania Wayne Voice
2013 The Incredible Burt Wonderstone Anton Marvelton
2013 Monsters University Randall "Randy" Boggs[29] Voice
2013 Grown Ups 2 Wiley
2013 Khumba Skalk the Wild Dog Voice
2014 The Cobbler
2015 Hotel Transylvania 2 Wayne Voice; filming
2015 Oppenheimer Strategies Filming



Year Title Role Notes
1983, 1986 Not Necessarily the News Neil / Theo 2 episodes
1986 Miami Vice Rickles Episode: "El Viejo"
1987 The Equalizer Archie, the Electronics Store Clerk Episode: "Re-Entry"
1988 Crossbow Captain of the Guard Episode: "The Lost Crusader"
1989 Lonesome Dove Luke 4 episodes
1990 Monsters John Dennis Episode: "Bed and Boar"
1990 Against the Law Timmy Lowell Episode: "Where the Truth Lies"
1991 L.A. Law David Lee Episode: "Spleen It to Me, Lucy"
1992 Mad About You Howie Balinger Episode: "Token Friend"
1993 Tales from the Crypt Ike Episode: "Forever Ambergris"
1993 Last Outlaw, TheThe Last Outlaw Philo Television film
1994, 1996 The Adventures of Pete & Pete Phil Hickle 3 episodes
1995 Homicide: Life on the Street Gordon Pratt Episode: "End Game"
1998 The Drew Carey Show Ed Chilton Episode: "Mr. Louder's Birthday Party"
1998, 2011 Saturday Night Live Host 2 episodes (also cameos in 2 other episodes)
2002 Laramie Project, TheThe Laramie Project Doc O'Conner Movie
2004, 2006 Sopranos, TheThe Sopranos Tony Blundetto / Man 13 episodes
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor – Drama Series (2004)
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (2005)
2007 Dust to Dust: The Health Effects of 9/11 Narrator Documentary
2003, 2007 Simpsons, TheThe Simpsons Himself / Dwight 2 episodes; voice
2008 ER Art Masterson Episode: "The Chicago Way"
2007, 2009
2012, 2013
30 Rock Lenny Wosniak 5 episodes
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor – Comedy Series (2008)
2010–2014 Boardwalk Empire Nucky Thompson Won – Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Drama (2011)
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series (2011, 2012)
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (2011, 2012)
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Drama (2012, 2013)
Golden Nymph for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series (2012)
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series (2011, 2012)
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series (2013, 2014)
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (2013, 2014)
2011, 2014 Portlandia Book Store Customer / Celery Guy 2 episodes
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series (2014)
2014 A Good Job: Stories of the FDNY Himself Documentary
2014 Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Himself Guest


Year Title Notes
1998 Homicide: Life on the Street Episode: "Finnegan's Wake"
1999, 2001 Oz 2 episodes
2001, 2002,
2004, 2006
Sopranos, TheThe Sopranos 4 episodes
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series (2001)
2002 Baseball Wives Pilot
2009, 2011 Nurse Jackie 6 episodes
2009, 2012 30 Rock 2 episodes


  1. ^ a b "Regis kelly steve buscemi - Video Dailymotion". 2011-06-03. Retrieved 2012-12-15. 
  2. ^ "Film Society of Lincoln Center". Retrieved November 20, 2009. 
  3. ^ a b "steve buscemi profile". John Lahr. September 11, 2001. Retrieved November 20, 2009. 
  4. ^ Biography for Steve Buscemi at the Internet Movie Database
  5. ^ Delatiner, Barbara. "Cinema Arts Film Festival Stresses the Independents", The New York Times, June 1, 1997. Retrieved November 1, 2007.
  6. ^ "Ground Zero: Engine 10 and Ladder 10". Bushmaster Firearms International. Archived from the original on September 8, 2003. Retrieved 2011-09-08. 
  7. ^ Steve Buscemi - Former Firefighter
  8. ^ "The Way It Is (1985)". Retrieved 6 January 2014. 
  9. ^ a b c Tarantino, Quentin (1993). "Steve Buscemi by Quentin Tarantino". BOMB 42 (Winter). Retrieved September 20, 2011. 
  10. ^ Film Independent Spirit Awards
  11. ^ review of Batman Begins by Andy Hoglund
  12. ^ Steve Buscemi Emmy Nominated
  13. ^ "Barbarians at the Shore". Vanity Fair. 
  14. ^ Hurwitz, Daniel. "Web to Watch: Sit next to Steve Buscemi on 'Park Bench'". USAToday. Retrieved 11 June 2014. 
  15. ^ AdWatch: Snickers Super Bowl Ad Brings Out Different Side of Marcia Brady
  16. ^ Steve Buscemi talks about Eastern State
  17. ^ "The Voices of Eastern State" Audio Tour
  18. ^ Kevin Cook (September 2011). "Playboy Interview: Steve Buscemi". Playboy: 41. I say Bu-semmy. I don't mind Bu-shemmy, though. That's the correct Sicilian pronunciation, from the old country. 
  19. ^ Lindsay Powers, "Why Emmy Nominee Steve Buscemi Refuses to 'Fix' His Teeth", The Hollywood Reporter, August 14, 2011
  20. ^ Arienne Thompson, "Buscemi Refuses to Have His Teeth Fixed", USA Today, August 16, 2011
  21. ^ Biography for Steve Buscemi at the Internet Movie Database
  22. ^ Bode, Nicole (May 26, 2003). "Closures Spur Fiery Protests 20 Arrested As Demonstrations Get Heated". Daily News (New York). 
  23. ^ O'Neill, Natalie and Briquelet, Kate, "Call Him 'Double-Duty' Buscemi," Courier Life, June 3-9, 2011, p.4
  24. ^ "A Good Job: Stories of the FDNY". HBO. Retrieved September 12, 2014. 
  25. ^ mugshots and description
  26. ^[dead link] has two news clippings on the incident.
  27. ^
  28. ^ [1]
  29. ^ Kit, Borys (March 29, 2011). "Disney Reveals Title for 'Monsters Inc.' Sequel". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 30, 2011. 

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