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James Emil Coco
March 21, 1930
|Died||February 25, 1987 (aged 56)|
Manhattan, New York, U.S.
|Resting place||Saint Gertrude Cemetery|
Colonia, New Jersey, U.S.
James Emil Coco (March 21, 1930 – February 25, 1987) was an American stage and screen actor. He was the recipient of a Primetime Emmy Award, a Drama Desk Award and three Obie Awards, as well as nominations for a Tony Award, an Academy Award and two Golden Globe Awards. Coco is remembered for his supporting roles in the films Man of La Mancha (1972) and Only When I Laugh (1981).
Early life and career
James began acting straight out of high school. He received his acting training at HB Studio in New York City. As an overweight and prematurely balding adult, he found himself relegated to character roles. He made his Broadway debut in Hotel Paradiso in 1957, but his first major recognition was for Off-Broadway's The Moon in Yellow River by Denis Johnston, for which he won an Obie Award.
Coco's first modern collaboration with playwright Terrence McNally was a 1968 off Broadway double-bill of the one-act plays Sweet Eros and Witness, followed by Here's Where I Belong, a disastrous Broadway musical adaptation of East of Eden that closed on opening night. They had far greater success with their next project, Next, a two-character play with Elaine Shore, which ran for more than 700 performances and won Coco the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Performance. Sixteen years later, the two would reunite for the Manhattan Theatre Club production of It's Only a Play.
Coco also achieved success with Neil Simon, who wrote The Last of the Red Hot Lovers (1969) specifically for him. It earned him a Tony Award nomination as Best Actor in a Play. The two later joined forces for a Broadway revival of the musical Little Me and the films Murder by Death (1976), The Cheap Detective (1978) and Only When I Laugh (1981), for which he was both Oscar-nominated and Razzie-nominated.
Coco, a veteran of many failed diets, was the author of the best selling book The James Coco Diet, released on February 1, 1983, which documented his successful weight reduction system. However, he outlived the release of his book by only four years.
Film and television roles
Coco's additional film credits include Ensign Pulver (1964), End of the Road (1970), The Strawberry Statement (1970), Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon (1970), A New Leaf (1971), Such Good Friends (1971), Man of La Mancha (1972), Scavenger Hunt (1979), Wholly Moses! (1980) and The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984) as well as a starring role in The Wild Party (1975). Charleston (1977) Several of his films were released posthumously: Hunk (1987) and That's Adequate (1989).
On television, Coco starred on two unsuccessful 1970s series, Calucci's Department and The Dumplings, and made guest appearances on many series, including ABC Stage 67, NBC Children’s Theater, The Edge of Night, Marcus Welby, M.D., Trapper John, M.D., Medical Center, Maude, Fantasy Island, Alice, The Eddie Capra Mysteries, Murder, She Wrote, The Muppet Show, The Carol Burnett Show, The Love Boat and St. Elsewhere, for which he won an Emmy Award. One of his last television assignments was a recurring role as Nick Milano on the sitcom Who's the Boss?.
Awards and nominations
|1961||6th Obie Awards||Distinguished Performance by an Actor||Won|
|1968||13th Obie Awards||Distinguished Performance||Won|
|1969||14th Drama Desk Awards||Outstanding Performance||Won|
|1970||24th Tony Awards||Best Actor in a Play||Nominated|
|1973||30th Golden Globe Awards||Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture||Nominated|
|1977||22nd Obie Awards||Distinguished Performance||Won|
|1982||39th Golden Globe Awards||Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture||Nominated|
|54th Academy Awards||Best Supporting Actor||Nominated|
|2nd Golden Raspberry Awards||Worst Supporting Actor||Nominated|
|1983||35th Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series||Won|
|1985||7th CableACE Awards||Best Actor in a Dramatic Series||Won|
Coco died at St. Vincent's Hospital, Manhattan, on February 25, 1987, at age 56. He had suffered a heart attack at his Greenwich Village home. He is buried in St. Gertrude's Roman Catholic Cemetery in Colonia, New Jersey.
- Ensign Pulver (1964) - Skouras
- Generation (1969) - Mr. Blatto
- End of the Road (1970) - School Man
- The Strawberry Statement (1970) – Grocer
- Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon (1970) – Mario
- A New Leaf (1971) – Uncle Harry
- Such Good Friends (1971) – Timmy
- Man of La Mancha (1972) – Sancho Panza / Cervantes's Manservant
- VD Blues (1972) – Himself
- The Wild Party (1975) – Jolly Grimm
- Murder by Death (1976) – Milo Perrier
- Charleston (1977) – Joe Lo Monaco
- Bye Bye Monkey (1978) – Andreas Flaxman
- The Cheap Detective (1978) – Marcel
- Scavenger Hunt (1979) – Henri
- Wholly Moses! (1980) – Hyssop
- Only When I Laugh (1981) – Jimmy Perrino
- The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984) – Mr. Skeffington
- Johnny Dangerously (1984) – Moronie's Bouncer (uncredited)
- Hunk (1987) – Dr. D
- The Chair (1988) – Dr. Harold Woodhouse Langer
- That's Adequate (1989) – Max Roebling (final film role)
- McQuiston, John T. (February 26, 1987). "JAMES COCO, MOVIE, TV AND STAGE ACTOR, DIES". The New York Times. Retrieved March 5, 2019.
- Bennetts, Leslie (February 26, 1987). "James Coco, Character Actor On Stage and TV and in Films". The New York Times. p. 19.
- HB Studio Alumni
- James Coco at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
- "Emmy Award-Winning Actor James Coco, 56, Dies of Heart Attack". Los Angeles Times. Associated Press. February 26, 1987. Retrieved June 28, 2018.
- James Coco at IMDb
- Wilson, Scott (September 16, 2016). Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons (Third ed.). McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 144. ISBN 978-1476625997. Retrieved June 27, 2018.