December 26, 1954
|Died||January 10, 2017
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
|Cause of death||Heart attack|
|Occupation||Actor, voice actor|
Antonio "Tony" Rosato (December 26, 1954 – January 10, 2017) was a Canadian comedian, actor and voice actor who appeared in television and films in both Canada and the United States.
Early years and career beginnings
Rosato was born in Naples, Italy, and came to Canada at age 4. He was raised in Halifax, Ottawa, and Toronto. He graduated from Oakwood Collegiate Institute. He planned to study chiropractic medicine, but dropped out of the University of Toronto after he began doing improv comedy at The Second City.
Rosato first gained attention when he and Robin Duke joined the cast of the first incarnation of SCTV in its final season during the fall of 1980. His most well-known character on the program was the notoriously drunk TV chef Marcello Sebastiani. Rosato then moved with Duke to the cast of Saturday Night Live for the 1981–82 season, becoming the first cast member to be born outside of North America. Following Jean Doumanian's tenure during the sixth season and Dick Ebersol trying to retool the show (and relying on Eddie Murphy and Joe Piscopo to spice up the sketches), Rosato only appeared on the show for one year before leaving due to differences with Ebersol and an expired contract.
Rosato is one of three SCTV cast members to appear on Saturday Night Live. Celebrities impersonated by Rosato on SCTV include: Lou Costello (whom he also impersonated when he was a cast member on Saturday Night Live), William Conrad, Danny Thomas, Woodstock co-organizer Chip Monck, SNL cast member John Belushi, Tony Orlando and Ella Fitzgerald. His characters on SNL, despite his short tenure, were memorable as well, and included Ed Asner (in character as Lou Grant), Captain Kangaroo, and U.S. Attorney General Ed Meese.
Rosato next appeared on the Canadian police drama Night Heat, playing Arthur "Whitey" Morelli from 1985 through 1989. He continued to appear in television and film throughout the 1990s.
In autumn of 1990, Rosato portrayed Nintendo's character Luigi on DiC's television show The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 (based on Super Mario Bros. 3). He continued his role as Luigi in 1991 for the Super Mario World cartoon. Rosato had a small voice part in Resident Evil 3 as Dario Rosso and Nemesis. In Bakugan: Gundalian Invaders, he voiced Dharak.
Rosato also provided voices for many other animated series including Pelswick, George and Martha, Rescue Heroes, Birdz, The Busy World of Richard Scarry, Hello Kitty and Friends, Marvin the Tap-Dancing Horse, Peep and the Big Wide World, Interlude, Pippi Longstocking, Mythic Warriors: Guardians of the Legend, Rolie Polie Olie, Bad Dog, Sam and Max: Freelance Police, Little Bear, Monster by Mistake, Odd Job Jack, Free Willy, Blazing Dragons, The Neverending Story, Flash Gordon, Timothy Goes to School, Time Warp Trio, Roboroach, Tales from the Cryptkeeper, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Kaput and Zosky, Cyberchase, Redwall, Power Stone, Anatole, Elliott Moose, Sailor Moon, Ned's Newt, Medabots, Highlander: The Animated Series, Corduroy, Freaky Stories, King, Blaster's Universe, Stickin' Around, Bob and Margaret, Flying Rhino Junior High, Avengers: United They Stand, Silver Surfer, The Dumb Bunnies, Undergrads, Quads!, Angela Anaconda, Cyberchase, Slam Dunk, The Ripping Friends, Committed, Bedtime Primetime Classics, Franklin, Braceface, George Shrinks, Delta State, Anne of Green Gables: The Animated Series, Mr. Men and Little Miss, The Accuser, Maggie and the Ferocious Beast, Atomic Betty, Mischief City and more.
On May 5, 2005, Rosato was arrested and charged with criminal harassment of his wife Leah, who asserted that his deteriorating mental health had caused her to fear for her safety and that of the couple's infant daughter. The charge was laid after Rosato complained repeatedly to Toronto and Kingston police that his wife, who had recently left him, and daughter had been abducted and replaced by impostors, a belief characteristic of Capgras delusion, a delusional misidentification syndrome with which the Crown's expert psychiatrist had diagnosed Rosato, according to Rosato's eighth lawyer, Daniel Brodsky. It was alleged that the harassment occurred from December 28, 2003 and escalated until April 21, 2005. In spite of the diagnosis, Rosato, who denied mental illness and refused to plead insanity, was held for over two years without bail at a maximum-security detention centre. Brodsky, who called his client's two-year detention awaiting trial "shocking," asserted that Rosato "spent more time in custody on a harassment charge" than anyone ever convicted of the offence in Canada, estimating that "on average, someone convicted of criminal harassment spends one day in jail and two years on probation." The trial finally commenced on August 7, 2007, in Kingston and it ended on September 5. In the end, the prosecution downgraded the charge to a summary offence from an indictable offence. Rosato was spared a criminal conviction and handed a conditional discharge, including a psychiatric hospital residence order, issued for a maximum of three years, of which he ended up serving 19 months. Rosato was released from the hospital in March 2009 but remained on probation until September 2010.
- "Tony Rosato, of 1981-82 'Saturday Night Live' Cast, Dies at 62". The New York Times. January 15, 2017. Retrieved January 17, 2017.
- Freed, Dale Anne (May 13, 2007). "From jokester to jailbird". Toronto Star. Retrieved January 11, 2017.
- "Tony Rosato, Canadian 'Saturday Night Live' and 'SCTV' alum, dead at 62". Global News. January 11, 2017. Retrieved January 12, 2017.
- Schwartz, Tony (October 3, 1981). "Saturday Night Live Is Back in Third Incarnation". The New York Times. Retrieved January 12, 2017.
- Hill, Doug; Weingrad, Jeff (December 15, 2011). Saturday Night: A Backstage History of Saturday Night Live. Untreed Reads. ISBN 1611872189.
- "Tony Rosato, cast member on both SNL and SCTV, dead at 62". Retrieved 12 January 2017.
- "Tony Rosato, former "Saturday Night Live" cast member passes at 62 -". Retrieved 12 January 2017.
- Freed, Dale Anne (May 4, 2008). "Tragedy continues for comic Tony Rosato". Toronto Star. Retrieved January 12, 2017.
- Plunkett, Luke (January 11, 2017). "Tony Rosato, The Cartoon Voice Of Luigi, Dead At 62". Kotaku. Retrieved January 12, 2017.
- Rouner, Jef (October 30, 2013). "10 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Luigi of Mario Brothers Fame". Houston Press. Retrieved January 12, 2017.
- "A legend returns from his long season in hell". Toronto Star. Toronto. December 5, 2009.
- Beeston, Laura (January 11, 2017). "Tony Rosato, veteran of SCTV and Saturday Night Live, dead at 62". Toronto Star. Retrieved January 11, 2017.