Leonardo Cimino

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Leonardo Cimino
Leonardo Cimino in Mad Dog Coll trailer.jpg
Cimino in the Mad Dog Coll trailer
Born(1917-11-04)November 4, 1917
DiedMarch 3, 2012(2012-03-03) (aged 94)
Years active1936–2008
Spouse(s)Sharon Powers
AwardsObie Award
Joseph Jefferson Award

Leonardo Cimino (November 4, 1917 – March 3, 2012) was an American film, television and stage actor who in 1937 appeared in the original stage production of Marc Blitzstein's The Cradle Will Rock. Cimino's most well known roles are in the 1983 science fiction miniseries, V as Abraham Bernstein and the 1987 feature film The Monster Squad as the "Scary German guy."

Life and career[edit]

Born in Manhattan, Cimino was the son of Andrea and Leonilda Cimino. His father was a tailor. Cimino was initially interested in pursuing a career as a violinist, and studied the instrument at the Juilliard School when he was a teenager. While studying the violin he became interested in acting and dancing, and began studying those as well.[1] In 1936, at the age of 18, he made his professional stage debut in a supporting role in the world premiere of Gladys Bronwyn Stern's Middle Man in Suffern, New York which starred actor Ernest Truex.[2] It wasn't until a decade later, however, that Cimino would become dedicated full-time to an acting career. During the late 1930s and early 1940s he studied acting, directing and modern dance at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre.[1]

After the outbreak of World War II, Cimino joined the United States Army in 1942. He notably participated in the invasion of Normandy, landing with the second wave on June 6, 1944.

After returning to the United States in 1945 he continued to study the performing arts at the Neighborhood Playhouse; notably studying dance with Martha Graham. In 1946 he made his Broadway debut in a revival of Cyrano de Bergerac which starred and was directed by José Ferrer. It was the first of many projects that Cimino would collaborate with Ferrer on.[1] He went on to appear in nearly 20 Broadway productions over the next four decades, including a 1962 adaptation of E. M. Forster’s Passage to India and a 1985 revival of The Iceman Cometh. In 1976 he was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for his performance of the role of Jim in Arthur Miller's A Memory of Two Mondays.

Cimino also appeared in numerous Off-Broadway productions during his career, notably winning an Obie Award in 1958 for his portrayal of Smerdyakov in The Brothers Karamazov. He frequently appeared Off-Broadway in Shakespeare plays at the Public Theater, including Egeon in The Comedy of Errors (1975) alongside Ted Danson and Danny DeVito. He also appeared in productions in Regional theatres across the United States during his career. In 1970 he was awarded the Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Actor in a Principal Role for his performance in The Man in the Glass Booth at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, Illinois.

Cimino made many guest appearances on TV shows,,including Naked City, Kojak, The Equalizer and Law & Order. In 1981 and 1982, he played Alexei Vartova on ABC's soap opera Ryan's Hope.

Cimino died on March 3, 2012, of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at his home in Woodstock, New York.[1]



Year Title Role Notes
1961 Mad Dog Coll Wickles - Bar Owner
1961 The Young Savages Mr. Rugiello Uncredited
1964 Quick, Let's Get Married Dr. Paoli
1969 Stilleto Allie Fargo Uncredited
1970 Cotton Comes to Harlem Tom
1972 Come Back, Charleston Blue Frank Mago
1973 Jeremy Cello Teacher
1975 The Man in the Glass Booth Dr. Alvarez
1980 Hide in Plain Sight Don Angelo Venucci
1980 Stardust Memories Sandy's Analyst
1982 Amityville II: The Possession Chancellor
1982 Monsignor The Pope
1984 Dune The Baron's Doctor
1987 The Monster Squad Scary German Guy
1987 Moonstruck Felix
1988 The Seventh Sign Head Cardinal
1989 Penn & Teller Get Killed Ernesto
1990 Q&A Nick Petrone
1990 The Freshman Lorenzo
1991 Hudson Hawk Cardinal
1993 Claude Daddy V.J.
1993 Household Saints Mario, a Storyteller
1995 Waterworld Elder
1999 Cradle Will Rock VTA - Man in Line
2001 18 Shades of Dust Connie Broglio
2001 Hannibal Sammie (scenes deleted, available on home video releases)
2001 Made Leo
2007 Before the Devil Knows You're Dead William (final film role)


Year Title Role Notes
1949 The Big Story Tyler 1 episode
1958 Armstrong Circle Theatre 1 episode
1958 Naked City Shellshock 1 episode
1959 The Phil Silvers Show Bandit #3 1 episode
1959 The DuPont Show of the Month 1 episode
1959 Brenner Mr. Jackson 1 episode
1960 Armstrong Circle Theatre Joe March 1 episode
1960 The Witness 1 episode
1960 The DuPont Show of the Month 1 episode
1960 Naked City Johnny 1 episode
1961 Give Us Barabbas! Caleb TV movie
1961 The Power and the Glory TV movie
1961 Way Out Nightime Murderer 1 episode
1961 Route 66 Vendor 1 episode
1961 Naked City Miklos Konya 1 episode
1961 Naked City Julio Varraco 1 episode
1962 Naked City Alberto Russo 1 episode
1963 Naked City Sid Kitka 1 episode
1963 The Defenders Ralph Kinderman 1 episode
1965 For the People LeBlanc 1 episode
1966 ABC Stage 67 Dino 1 episode
1973 Honor Thy Father Sam DeCavalcante TV movie
1974 Kojak Ruby Kabelsky 2 episodes
1976 Kojak Cordick 1 episode
1976 Arthur Hailey's the Moneychangers Ben Rosselli mini-series, 1 of 4 episodes
1980 A Time for Miracles Italian Priest TV movie
1980 Rappaccini's Daughter Rappaccini TV movie
1981 Ryan's Hope Alexei Vartova 10 episodes
1983 V (1983 miniseries) Abraham Bernstein mini-series, 2 of 2 episodes
1983 Cocaine and Blue Eyes Orestes Anatole TV movie
1983 Will There Really Be a Morning? Adolph Zukor TV movie
1984 One Life to Live Antonescu 1 episode
1986 The Equalizer Thomas Marley Sr 1 episode
1989 The Equalizer Doctor Molinari 2 episodes
1989 The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd Orambello Johnson 1 episode
1991 Dead and Alive: The Race for Gus Farace TV movie
1994 M.A.N.T.I.S. Benny Cruikshank 1 episode
1996 Law & Order Costello 1 episode
1997 The Hunger Nero 1 episode
1998 Witness to the Mob Neil Dellacroce TV movie
2000 Law & Order Tommy Valducci 1 episode


  1. ^ a b c d Daniel E. Slotnik (March 10, 2012). "Leonardo Cimino Dies at 94; Distinctive Actor". The New York Times.
  2. ^ "MIDDLE MAN' SEEN BY SUFFERN AUDIENCE; Ernest Truex Is Star in New G.B. Stern Play as County Theatre's Season Closes". The New York Times. September 8, 1936.

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