Joe Pantoliano

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"Joey Pants" redirects here. For the Canadian politician, see Joe Pantalone.
Joe Pantoliano
Pantoliano in February 2009.
Born Joseph Peter Pantoliano
(1951-09-12) September 12, 1951 (age 63)
Hoboken, New Jersey, U.S.
Other names Joey Pants
Occupation Actor
Years active 1974–present
Spouse(s) Morgan Kester
(1979–1985; divorced)
Nancy Sheppard
Children 4

Joseph Peter "Joe" Pantoliano (born September 12, 1951),[1] often referred to by his nickname "Joey Pants", is an American actor.

Pantoliano is best known for portraying Ralph Cifaretto on The Sopranos, Bob Keane in La Bamba, Cypher in The Matrix, Teddy in Memento, Francis Fratelli in The Goonies, Guido in Risky Business, Eddie Moscone in Midnight Run, and Caesar in Bound. He also played Deputy U.S. Marshal Cosmo Renfro in both The Fugitive and U.S. Marshals.

Early life[edit]

Pantoliano was born in Hoboken, New Jersey, the son of Italian American parents Mary (née Centrella), a bookie and seamstress, and Dominic "Monk" Pantoliano, a hearse driver and factory foreman.[1][2][3] He attended HB Studio, and studied extensively with actors John Lehne and Herbert Berghof.[4]


Pantoliano aboard the USS John F. Kennedy during Fleet Week, 2005

He first grew to fame as "Guido the Killer Pimp" in Risky Business, and continued to rise in 1985 when he appeared as the villainous Francis Fratelli in teen classic The Goonies. He gained fame amongst a new generation as Cypher in the 1999 landmark sci-fi film The Matrix, and won an Emmy as Ralph Cifaretto in HBO's The Sopranos. Pantoliano is also known for his role as Eddie Moscone, the double crossing bail bondsman, in the Robert De Niro comedy Midnight Run, as double-crossed mafioso Caesar in Bound, as John "Teddy" Gammell in Memento, and as investigative journalist Ben Urich in Mark Steven Johnson's 2003 Daredevil adaptation. He also played Deputy Marshal Cosmo Renfro in The Fugitive along with Tommy Lee Jones and reprised the role in the sequel U.S. Marshals. He is known for his portrayals of criminals, criminal investigators, detectives, and forensic specialists with a wisecracking touch.

In 2003, Pantoliano replaced Stanley Tucci in the Broadway play Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune. That same year he won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for The Sopranos.[citation needed]

In 2012, Joe Pantoliano stars as the eccentric pawn broker Oswald Oswald in the film adaptation of Wendy Mass’s popular children’s book Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life, written and directed by Tamar Halpern.[5] In 2013, he was cast in the role of Yogi Berra for the Broadway production of Bronx Bombers,[6] but he dropped out during rehearsals due to "creative differences".[7]

When not acting, Pantoliano also writes. He's the author of two memoirs: Who’s Sorry Now: The True Story of a Stand-Up Guy and Asylum: Hollywood Tales From My Great Depression: Brain Dis-Ease, Recovery and Being My Mother’s Son. In the latter, he writes about his addictions to alcohol, food, sex, Vicodin and Percocet, before being diagnosed with clinical depression.[8]

Personal life[edit]

Pantoliano lives with his wife, former model Nancy Sheppard, and their four children.[9] He was introduced to his wife by his friend, actress Samantha Phillips.[10]

On October 9, 2007, Pantoliano announced on the National Alliance on Mental Illness blog that he has been suffering from clinical depression for the last decade, although he was only formally diagnosed recently. He claims that his recent film Canvas was what helped him come to terms with his depression. Rather than hide his struggle from the public, he has chosen to speak out about it to remove some of the stigmas that are commonly associated with mental illness. He founded a non-profit organization, No Kidding, Me Too!,[11] to unite members of the entertainment industry in educating the public about mental illness. He is also dyslexic. The title comes from the response he’s heard all too often after divulging how mental illness affected him and his family. He’s also shot a documentary called No Kidding, Me Too!.[8]



Year Title Role Notes
1974 Road Movie Mugger Credited as Joseph Pantoliano
1974 For Pete's Sake Undercover Cop who arrests Mark Uncredited
1977 McNamara's Band Frankie Milano Television film
1980 The Idolmaker Gino Pilato
1980 Alcatraz: The Whole Shocking Story Ray Neal Television film
1982 Monsignor Pvt. Joe Musso
1983 The Final Terror Eggar
1983 Risky Business Guido
1983 Eddie and the Cruisers Doc Robbins
1984 Mister Roberts Insignia Television film
1985 The Mean Season Andy Porter
1985 The Goonies Francis
1986 Running Scared Snake
1987 Scenes from the Goldmine Manny
1987 Destination America Lt. Mike Amico Television film
1987 La Bamba Bob Keane
1987 The Squeeze Norman
1987 Amazon Women on the Moon Sy Swerdlow Segment: "Hairlooming"
1987 Empire of the Sun Frank Demarest
1988 Rock 'n' Roll Mom Ronnie Television film
1988 The In Crowd Perry Parker
1988 Midnight Run Eddie
1989 Nightbreaker Sgt. Jack Russell Television film
1990 Ardouous Moon Short film
1990 Downtown White
1990 The Last of the Finest Wayne Gross
1990 Short Time Scalese
1990 El Diablo Kid Durango Television film
1990 Backstreet Dreams Paul Antangeli Uncredited
1991 Zandalee Gerri
1991 One Special Victory Daniel Television film
1992 Through the Eyes of a Killer Jerry Television film
1992 Used People Frank
1993 Three of Hearts Mickey
1993 The Fugitive Deputy U.S. Marshal Cosmo Renfro
1993 Calendar Girl Harvey Darpinian
1993 Me and the Kid Roy
1994 Dangerous Heart Barclay Television film
1994 Robot in the Family The Father
1994 Teresa's Tattoo Bruno
1994 Baby's Day Out Norby
1995 Bad Boys Captain Howard
1995 Congo Eddie Ventro Uncredited
1995 The Last Word Doc
1995 Steal Big Steal Little Eddie Agopian, Ruben's Lawyer
1995 The Immortals Pete Tunnell
1996 Ed McBain's 87th Precinct: Ice Det. Meyer Meyer Television film
1996 Fly Away Home Gordy
1996 The Flight of the Dove Attorney Brezner
1996 Bound Caesar
1997 Natural Enemy Stuart Television film
1997 Top of the World Vince Castor
1997 Tinseltown Arnie
1998 U.S. Marshals Deputy U.S. Marshal Cosmo Renfro
1998 Hoods Charlie Flynn
1999 Taxman Al Benjamin
1999 Forces of Nature Cab Driver Uncredited
1999 The Matrix Cypher
1999 Black and White Bill King
1999 The Life Before This Jake Maclean
1999 Olive, the Other Reindeer Martini Voice
2000 Silver Man Norbert
2000 Ready to Rumble Titus Sinclair
2000 New Blood Hellman
2000 Memento Teddy Gammell
2000 A Better Way to Die Flash
2001 Cats & Dogs Peek Voice
2002 A Call for Help Charlie
2002 The Adventures of Pluto Nash Mogan
2003 Daredevil Ben Urich
2003 Bad Boys II Captain Howard
2004 Second Best Elliot
2004 Perfect Opposites Louis Carbonelli
2004 The Easter Egg Adventure Terrible Timothy Takit Voice
2005 Racing Stripes Goose Voice
2005 The Check Up The Inspector Short film
2005 The Amateurs Some Idiot
2006 Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector Mayor M.T. Gunn
2006 Wedding Daze Smitty
2006 Deceit Anthony Television film
2006 Canvas John Marino
2006 Unknown Bound Man
2009 The Job Perriman
2009 Deadly Impact David Kaplow
2009 Falling Up George
2010 The Legend of Secret Pass Chucksta Voice
2010 Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief Gabe Ugliano
2010 Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore Peek Voice
2010 New York Street Games self Documentary
2011 Loosies Carl
2011 Spring Break '83 Sergeant Coltrane
2011 Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life Oswald Oswald III
2014 The Identical Avi Hirshberg

TV series[edit]

Year Title Role Episodes Notes
1978 Free Country Louis Peschi Citizenship (#1.3)
When Already? (#1.4)
Special Delivery (#1.5)
1979 From Here to Eternity Pvt. Angelo Maggio Miniseries
1981—1984 Hart to Hart Frank Tisdale/Nate Volkman The Latest in High Fashion Murder (#2.17)
Always, Elizabeth (#5.21)
1981 M*A*S*H Cpl. Gerald Mullen/Josh Levin Identity Crisis (#10.2)
1982 Chicago Story Cooney Who Needs the Truth? (#1.12)
1983 Hardcastle and McCormick Teddy Hollins The Crystal Duck (#1.4)
1984 Hill Street Blues Sonny Orsini Ratman and Bobbin (#4.11)
Nichols from Heaven (#4.12)
1984 Trapper John, M.D. Michael Merrow Where There's a Will (#5.15)
1984 Simon & Simon Carl Who Killed the Sixties? (#4.7)
1985 Robert Kennedy & His Times Roy Cohn Miniseries
1986 Amazing Stories Joe One for the Road (#1.15)
1986 L.A. Law Rob Cavanaugh Pilot (#1.1)
1989 The Hitchhiker Brother Charles Miracle of Alice Ames (#5.7)
1989 Tales from the Crypt Ulrich The Undying Dig That cat...He's real gone (#1.3)
1990—1991 The Fanelli Boys Dominic Fanelli
1992 Highlander: The Series Doctor Wilder Deadly Medicine (#1.8)
1994 Beethoven Sparky Voice
1995 The Marshal Cameris Unprotected Witness (#1.12)
1995 NYPD Blue Vinnie Greco In the Butt, Bob (#2.10)
Vishy-Vashy-Vinny (#2.11)
Boxer Rebellion (#2.19)
1996 Life with Louie Jojo Stomopolous Voice
1996—1997 EZ Streets Jimmy Murtha Recurring role
1996 Arliss Vic Freed The Client's Best Interest (#1.9)
1998 Godzilla: The Series Animal Palotti New Family: Part 1 (#1.1) Voice
1998 Hercules King Pan
1998 The Lionhearts Director Voice
1999 Sugar Hill Joe
1999 The Outer Limits Stan Harbinger Alien Radio (#5.1)
2000—2004 The Sopranos Ralph Cifaretto Recurring role
2001 Roswell Kal Langley Secrets and Lies (#3.4)
Control (#3.5)
2003—2004 The Handler Joe Renato Recurring role
2003 Gary the Rat Anthony 'the Heel' Stilletto Sleeps with the Fishes (#1.6) Voice
2004—2006 Dr. Vegas Tommy Danko Recurring role
2006 Waterfront James 'Jimmy' Centrella Lead role
2006 The Simpsons Dante The Mook, the Chef, the Wife and Her Homer (#18.1) Voice
2011 How to Make it in America Felix DiFlorio
2015 Sense8 Michael Gorski

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2001 Majestic Tim Pritchard Episode 4
2001 Grand Theft Auto III Luigi Goterelli Voice
2013 Call of Duty: Black Ops II Albert "Weasel" Arlington Voice; "Uprising" DLC, on the zombies map "Mob of the Dead"

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Nominated work Result
1997 Saturn Awards Best Supporting Actor Bound Nominated
1997 Television Critics Association Awards Individual Achievement in Drama EZ Streets Nominated
1997 Viewers for Quality Television Best Supporting Actor in a Quality Drama Series EZ Streets Nominated
2002 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series The Sopranos Nominated
2003 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series The Sopranos Won
2003 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series The Sopranos Nominated


External links[edit]