Robert Pastorelli

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Robert Pastorelli
Robert Pastorelli.jpg
Born Robert Joseph Pastorelli
(1954-06-21)June 21, 1954
New Brunswick, New Jersey
Died March 8, 2004(2004-03-08) (aged 49)
Hollywood Hills, California
Cause of death Morphine overdose
Years active 1982–2004
Partner(s) Charemon Jonovich
(?–1999; her death)
Jalee Carder
(1992–2004; his death)
Children 2 daughters

Robert Joseph Pastorelli (June 21, 1954 – March 8, 2004) was an American actor. He had many roles on TV, in movies, and on the stage. For seven years, he played painter Eldin Bernecky on the television series Murphy Brown. Pastorelli died of a morphine overdose in 2004.[1]

Early life[edit]

Pastorelli was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, the son of Dotty, an artist, and Ledo Pastorelli, an insurance salesman.[2] Pastorelli was of Albanian[citation needed] descent from Italy. His sister, Gwen Pastorelli, is an opera singer and a real estate agent. He was a 1972 graduate of Edison High School in Edison, New Jersey. He initially planned to start a career as a boxer, but had to give up the sport after suffering a near-fatal car accident. Pastorelli later claimed that he had a "near death" experience at this time: he professed that he saw himself hovering over his body in a hospital bed and saw his father overcome with grief.[3]


Pastorelli was an admitted drug addict before he achieved sobriety. Once sober, he pursued theater work in New York City in such 1970s productions as Rebel Without a Cause, The Rainmaker, and Death of a Salesman. In 1982, he headed to Los Angeles and turned to film and TV, soon finding a niche playing streetwise characters. After supporting Bette Midler and Shelley Long in Outrageous Fortune and Eddie Murphy in Beverly Hills Cop II, his first substantial film role came with Kevin Costner's Dances with Wolves. However, it was on TV that he would hit his stride as Candice Bergen's gruff but lovable house painter Eldin Bernecky on Murphy Brown, staying with the show for seven seasons. Murphy Brown producer Diane English gave Pastorelli his own starring vehicle, the sitcom Double Rush, which lasted one season in 1995. Two years later, Pastorelli headlined the American adaptation of the British detective series Cracker.

With his TV career came more visible roles in Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, Striking Distance, Michael, and Modern Vampires. He played the role of salty Luther Billis in the mini-movie remake of South Pacific with Glenn Close, then appeared alongside Close on stage in A Streetcar Named Desire a year later. His final, posthumous, screen appearance was in Be Cool as Joe Loop in 2005.


Pastorelli was found dead at his home in Hollywood Hills in 2004; a syringe, a spoon, and a plastic bag with white powder were discovered near his body.[4] His death occurred at the time the authorities were reopening the investigation into the March 1999 shooting death of his then girlfriend, 25-year-old Charemon Jonovich, at their home.[4] The Coroner's Office later reported that Pastorelli died of "fatal blood concentration of morphine".[5]

Pastorelli was interred at Saint Catherine's Cemetery in Sea Girt, New Jersey.

Personal life[edit]

Pastorelli had two daughters. One is Gianna Li Pastorelli (born February 6, 1998), with Charemon Jonovich. His second daughter is Giannina Marie Pastorelli (born March 6, 2000), with long-time girlfriend Jalee Carder, a former fashion designer and co-owner of Stone Marten.



  1. ^ Screen World: 2005 Film Annual By John Willis, Barry Monush. Hal Leonard Corporation p.386
  2. ^ "Robert Pastorelli Biography (1954-2004)". Retrieved 2011-07-08. 
  3. ^ "NY Times Obit". 2004-03-10. Retrieved 2011-07-08. 
  4. ^ a b "Fox News Report". 2005-02-07. Retrieved 2011-07-08. 
  5. ^ "Coroner: Pastorelli's Death Drug-Related". 

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