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Chazz Palminteri

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Chazz Palminteri
Palminteri in 2011
Calogero Lorenzo Palminteri[1]

(1952-05-15) May 15, 1952 (age 72)
New York City, U.S.
Years active1983–present
Gianna Ranaudo
(m. 1992)

Calogero Lorenzo "Chazz" Palminteri (born May 15, 1952)[1] is an American actor. He is best known for his film roles in A Bronx Tale (1993), based on his play of the same name, Bullets Over Broadway (1994) for which he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, and The Usual Suspects (1995), as well as his recurring role as Shorty in Modern Family (2010–2019).

His other notable films include Mulholland Falls (1996), A Night at the Roxbury (1998), Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure (2001), Little Man (2006), Once Upon a Time in Queens (2013), and Legend (2015). He is also known for his recurring roles in Wiseguy (1989), Kojak (2005), Rizzoli & Isles (2010–2014) and Godfather of Harlem (2019–2021).

Early life[edit]

Calogero Lorenzo Palminteri was born on May 15, 1952, in The Bronx, New York. He is the son of Rose, a homemaker, and Lorenzo Palminteri, a bus driver.[2] He was raised in the Belmont neighborhood of the Bronx.[3] Palminteri is of Sicilian origin; his grandparents, Calogero Palminteri and Rosa Bonfante, married in 1908, and emigrated to live in the United States in 1910 from Menfi in the province of Agrigento, Sicily. At the age of nine, Palminteri allegedly witnessed the murder of a mobster in front of his apartment building; the police questioned him, but he maintained that he did not see the incident.[4]

He struggled to become an actor, splitting his time between acting in off-Broadway plays and moonlighting as a bouncer, alongside Dolph Lundgren.[5] In 1988, Palminteri was working at a New York nightclub where a party was being thrown for Hollywood talent agent and dealmaker Irving Paul "Swifty" Lazar. When Lazar tried to enter, Palminteri stopped him as he did not know who he was. Lazar got him fired which led to the broke (and unemployed) Palminteri writing A Bronx Tale for himself to star in since he was not being offered any work.[6]



Palminteri starred on Broadway in A Bronx Tale, the autobiographical one-man show based on his childhood that he first performed at Theatre West in Los Angeles in 1989.[7] Palminteri states that he began writing the play after being fired from a club when, as a doorman, he refused entry to super agent Swifty Lazar.[8][9] The Broadway production, directed by Jerry Zaks and with music by John Gromada, began previews October 4, 1988, at the Walter Kerr Theatre and opened on October 25, running for 18 weeks. Palminteri plays 18 roles in A Bronx Tale, which depicts a rough childhood on the streets of the Bronx. The play ran for two months at Playhouse 91 in 1989.[10]

Palminteri starred opposite Kenny D'Aquila in D'Aquila's play, Unorganized Crime.[11][12] Palminteri always appreciated the shot that Robert De Niro gave him, so he in turn agreed to star in D'Aquila's mafia-themed drama.[13]

Palminteri performed in the Broadway musical version of A Bronx Tale in 2018.

Film career[edit]

Robert De Niro saw Palminteri's Broadway show of A Bronx Tale in 1990, and the two partnered together to adapt the play into a film. Palminteri created the screenplay and starred as Sonny, the gangster Calogero meets, while De Niro directed the film, making his directorial debut, and co-starring as Lorenzo, Calogero's father.[14] The film was a commercial and critical success.[15] In 1994, Chazz Palminteri played mob henchman Cheech in the black comedy film Bullets Over Broadway, for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

Palminteri also had performances in films such as The Usual Suspects, The Perez Family, Jade, and Diabolique, as well as comedic roles in films such as Oscar, Analyze This and Down to Earth.

During its run, he appeared in many advertisements for Vanilla Coke, in which he portrayed a mob boss who would threaten celebrities if they did not praise the taste of the product in question, and then let them walk away with the Vanilla Coke to "reward their curiosity", touching on its slogan at the time. Palminteri has voiced characters in various animated films, the most notable being Smokey in Stuart Little and Woolworth in Hoodwinked.

He made his directorial debut with an episode of Oz, then the television film Women vs. Men and the 2004 feature film Noel.

Palminteri's recent acting efforts include A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints, Running Scared, and Arthur and the Minimoys.

In 2004, he received the "Indie Hero Award" from the Method Fest Independent Film Festival for his artistic achievements in film.


On January 20, 2010, Palminteri guested on Modern Family and played the same character on the November 2, 2011, episode.[16] Palminteri has reprised the role twice more in season 5. In June 2010, Palminteri began guest-starring on the TNT crime drama Rizzoli & Isles as Frank Rizzoli, Sr. He guest starred twice on the CBS drama Blue Bloods as Angelo Gallo, a mob lawyer and childhood friend of main character Frank Reagan.

Palminteri portrayed deceased mobster Paul Castellano in the 2001 TV film Boss of Bosses.

Other work[edit]

In 2011, Palminteri opened a restaurant, Chazz: A Bronx Original, in Baltimore's Little Italy neighborhood; their main foods are coal-fired pizza and Italian food. However, the restaurant closed in 2015.[17] Palminteri opened an Italian restaurant, Chazz Palminteri Ristorante Italiano, in New York City on Second Avenue. Also, Palminteri did the voice acting for the Call of Duty: Black Ops II character Sal De Luca in the zombies map Mob of the Dead, and his likeness was used for the character as well.

Palminteri with his wife Gianna Ranaudo in New York City, 2010.

The Chazz Palmenteri Show Podcast[edit]

On February 15, 2021, during the COVID pandemic, Palmintieri launched The Chazz Palminteri Show podcast on YouTube.[18] Palmintieri's guests on the podcast have included William Baldwin,[19] Kathrine Narducci,[20] Fat Joe,[21] Mario Cantone,[22] and Shaquille O'Neal.[23]

Personal life[edit]

Palminteri lives in Westchester County, New York, in the town of Bedford. He describes himself as a "very spiritual", devout Roman Catholic.[24] He married Gianna Ranaudo in 1992, and together they have two children. He is a self-avowed New York Yankees fan.



Year Title Role Notes
1983 Home Free All Truck Hijacker
1985 The Last Dragon Hood No. 2
1987 Glory Years Drummond Television film
1989 Peter Gunn Soldier
1991 Oscar Connie
1992 Innocent Blood Tony Silva
There Goes the Neighborhood Lyle Corrente
1993 A Bronx Tale Sonny LoSpecchio Also writer
1994 Bullets over Broadway Cheech Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male
Nominated—Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated—Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
1995 The Usual Suspects Dave Kujan National Board of Review Award for Best Cast
The Perez Family Lt. John Pirelli
The Last Word Ricky
Jade Matt Gavin
1996 Diabolique Guy Baran
Faithful Tony
Mulholland Falls Elleroy Coolidge
1998 Scar City Lieutenant Laine Devon
Hurlyburly Phil
A Night at the Roxbury Benny Zadir
1999 Analyze This Primo Sidone
The Book That Wrote Itself Mr. Palminteri
Excellent Cadavers Giovanni Falcone Television film
Stuart Little Smokey (voice)
2001 Down to Earth King
Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure Buster (voice) Video
Boss of Bosses Paul Castellano Television film
One Eyed King Eddie Dugan
2002 Poolhall Junkies Joe
2004 One Last Ride Tweat
Noel Arizona
2005 Animal Kassada Video
In the Mix Frank
Hoodwinked! Woolworth (voice)
2006 Running Scared Detective Rydell
A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints Monty
Push Vince
Little Man Walken
Arthur and the Minimoys Travel Agent (voice)
2007 The Bodyguard Lee Maxwell
The Dukes George
2008 Yonkers Joe Yonkers Joe
Jolene Sal
2009 Once More with Feeling Frank Gregorio Video
2010 Hollywood & Wine Geno Scarpaci
2012 Mighty Fine Joe Fine
The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure Marvin Milkshake
2013 Once Upon a Time in Queens Ben Rose
Underdogs Stinky (voice)
Final Recourse Dr. Tomman
2014 Henry & Me Babe Ruth (voice)
2015 Legend Angelo Bruno
2019 Vault Raymond Patriarca Sr.
2020 Clover Tony


Year Title Role Notes
1986 Hill Street Blues Sonny Cappelito Episode: "Bald Ambition"
1987 Matlock MP Sgt. Marcy Episode: "The Court-Martial: Part 2"
1989 Dallas Frank Episode: "He-e-ere's Papa!"
Valerie Leslie Episode: "Viva Las Vegas"
1st & Ten: The Championship Al Episode: "Duty Call"
Wiseguy Peter Alatorre/Sal Rosselli Recurring Cast: Season 3
1990 Sydney Tony Episode: "Love Ya, Babe"
1997 The Directors Himself Episode: "The Films of William Friedkin"
1999 Dilbert Leonardo da Vinci (voice) Episode: "Art"
2001 An All-Star Tribute to Brian Wilson Himself/Host Main Host
Bravo Profiles Himself Episode: "Rod Steiger"
2003 AFI Life Achievement Award Episode: "A Tribute to Robert De Niro"
Biography Episode: "Humphrey Bogart"
2004 Dr. Vegas Duke Walcott Episode: "Lust for Life"
2005 Kojak Captain Frank McNeil Recurring Cast
2010 Celebrity Ghost Stories Himself Episode: "Episode #2.4"
2010–14 Rizzoli & Isles Frank Rizzoli Sr. Recurring cast: season 1, guest: seasons 3-4
2010–19 Modern Family Shorty Guest cast: seasons 1, 3-5, and 9-10
2011 Rocco's Dinner Party Himself Episode: "Ultimate Summer Party"
2012 The Haunting of... Episode: "Chazz Palminteri"
2012–13 Blue Bloods Angelo Gallo 2 episodes[25][26]
2014 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Perry Cannavaro Episode: "Jersey Breakdown"
2017 Kevin Can Wait Vincent Episode: "Plus One Is the Loneliest Number"
2017–18 Voltron: Legendary Defender Burr (voice) 2 episodes
2019–21 Godfather of Harlem Joe Bonanno Recurring role (seasons 1-2)
2021 Law & Order: Organized Crime Manfredi Sinatra Episode: "What Happens in Puglia"
Gravesend Cesar Tremaldo Recurring role (season 2)
2023 Bubble Guppies Tiny the Slug (voice) Episode: "A Slow Day in Zippy City!"

Video games[edit]

Year Game Role Notes
2012 Call of Duty: Black Ops II Salvatore "Sal" DeLuca Featured on 2013's "Uprising" downloadable content.[27]


Year Title Notes
1996 Little Italy
1997 Off the Menu: The Last Days of Chasen's
1998 Italians in America
2005 Bullets Over Hollywood [28]
2008 Beyond Wiseguys: Italian Americans & the Movies
2014 Journey to Sundance
2016 Davi's Way

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Results Ref.
1994 Academy Awards Best Supporting Actor Bullets Over Broadway Nominated [29]
1994 American Comedy Awards Funniest Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture Nominated
1994 Chicago Film Critics Association Awards Best Supporting Actor Nominated [30]
1994 Independent Spirit Awards Best Supporting Male Won [31]
1995 National Board of Review Awards Best Acting by an Ensemble The Usual Suspects Won [32]
1996 Sant Jordi Awards Best Foreign Actor A Bronx Tale, Bullets Over Broadway, and The Usual Suspects Won
1994 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role Bullets Over Broadway Nominated [33]
2006 Sundance Film Festival Best Ensemble Performance A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints Won

Theatre work[edit]


  • 2007 – A Bronx Tale – performer
  • 2013 – Human – performer and writer
  • 2016 – A Bronx Tale – writer and performer



  1. ^ a b Chazz Palminteri bio Archived September 25, 2017, at the Wayback Machine. Chazzpalminteri.net. Retrieved on November 19, 2013.
  2. ^ Duggan, Dennis (December 24, 1989). "A Playwright (And an Actor) Grows in the Bronx". Newsday.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ Allis, Sam (March 22, 2009). "All that Chazz". Boston.com. Retrieved October 18, 2015.
  4. ^ "Chazz Palminteri and the real-life inspiration for 'A Bronx Tale' are forever intertwined". bostonglobe.com. March 31, 2019.
  5. ^ "Dolph Lundgren: Grace Jones would bring as many as five girls back... 'Exhausting'". The Irish Times. November 23, 2018.
  6. ^ "11 Surprising Facts About A Bronx Tale". www.mentalfloss.com. September 28, 2018.
  7. ^ The Villager, Vol. 77, No. 23; November 7–13, 2007
  8. ^ "Broadway Names with Julie James," On Broadway, SiriusXM, October 11, 2012.
  9. ^ Winn, Steven. "Palminteri revisits 'A Bronx Tale'" San Francisco Chronicle, September 23, 2008.
  10. ^ "Cheri, Based on Colette's Classic Novella, Begins Performances Off-Broadway". Broadway.com. November 19, 2013.
  11. ^ "Kenny D'Aquila". IMDb.
  12. ^ "'Unorganized Crime' a quirky mob-family melodrama". Los Angeles Times. May 16, 2014.
  13. ^ "Chazz Palminteri Talks New Play 'Unorganized Crime,' Getting His Start from Robert DeNiro (Q&A)". The Hollywood Reporter. May 8, 2014.
  14. ^ Vlastelica, Ryan (March 2, 2016). "Chazz Palminteri on A Bronx Tale, Keyser Söze, and Stallone's career advice". The A.V. Club. Retrieved February 27, 2020.
  15. ^ Kachka, Boris (October 14, 2007). "How 'A Bronx Tale' Got Told – New York Magazine". Nymag.com. Retrieved February 20, 2014.
  16. ^ Natalie Abrams (October 26, 2009). "Elizabeth Banks and Chazz Palminteri to Guest-Star on Modern Family". TVGuide.com.
  17. ^ "Chazz: A Bronx Original Closes". Baltimore magazine. January 26, 2015. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
  18. ^ "Chazz Palminteri Show - YouTube". www.youtube.com. Retrieved February 19, 2024.
  19. ^ "A Chat With Billy Baldwin". YouTube, Chazz Palminteri Show. March 1, 2021.
  20. ^ "Spirituality of Acting with Kathrine Narducci". YouTube, Chazz Palminteri Show. October 3, 2022.
  21. ^ Fat Joe: Just Another Bronx Tale | Chazz Palminteri Show | EP 145, retrieved February 19, 2024
  22. ^ Mario Cantone: Comedy & Sex in the City | Chazz Palminteri Show | EP 154, retrieved February 19, 2024
  23. ^ Shaquille O'Neal | Chazz Palminteri Show | EP 158, retrieved February 19, 2024
  24. ^ Rypka, Marsala (December 2009) "With Chazz Palminteri". luxurylv.com. Archived from the original on November 25, 2010. Retrieved October 31, 2014..
  25. ^ "Blue Bloods: Season 3, Episode 9 Secrets and Lies". IMDb.com. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
  26. ^ "Blue Bloods: Season 4, Episode 8; Justice Served". IMDb.com. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
  27. ^ "Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 – Mob of the Dead: Chazz Palminteri". May 16, 2013.
  28. ^ "Bullets Over Hollywood (2005)". IMDb.com. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
  29. ^ "The 67th Academy Awards (1995) Nominees and Winners". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved November 20, 2011.
  30. ^ "1988-2013 Award Winner Archives". Chicago Film Critics Association. January 1, 2013. Retrieved February 7, 2024.
  31. ^ "36 Years of Nominees and Winners" (PDF). Independent Spirit Awards. Retrieved August 13, 2021.
  32. ^ "1995 Award Winners". National Board of Review. Retrieved February 7, 2024.
  33. ^ "The 1st Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards". Screen Actors Guild Awards. Retrieved February 7, 2024.

External links[edit]