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Joseph Peter Pantoliano (born September 12, 1951)[1] is an American character actor who has often played shady characters, criminals or corrupt individuals.

Joe Pantoliano
JoePantolianoFeb2009 (cropped).jpg
Pantoliano at the Hudson Union Society event in February 2009
BornJoseph Peter Pantoliano
(1951-09-12) September 12, 1951 (age 67)
Hoboken, New Jersey, U.S.
Other namesJoey Pants
Years active1974–present
  • Morgan Kester (m. 1979–1985)
  • Nancy Sheppard (m. 1994)

Early roles include playing a wounded soldier in the tv series Mash before getting the role of the pimp Guido in 1983’s Risky Business, the criminal Francis Fratelli in 1985’s The Goonies, and bail bondsman Eddie Moscone in 1988’s Midnight Run. He portrayed Norby in Baby's Day Out, Deputy U.S. Marshal Cosmo Renfro in both 1993’s The Fugitive and its sequel, 1998’s U.S. Marshals. Other roles include Cypher in The Matrix, Teddy in Memento, Captain Conrad Howard in the Bad Boys franchise, and Ralph Cifaretto during seasons 3–4 of The Sopranos. He also starred in two episodes of Tales from the Crypt.

In addition, he had smaller roles in the 2010s with smaller roles in television shows and films, such as 2016’s romantic comedy The Perfect Match, and the Netflix series Sense8.


Early lifeEdit

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.[2][3][4] Pantoliano's family moved to Cliffside Park, New Jersey, where he attended Cliffside Park High School.[5]

He attended HB Studio, and studied extensively with actors John Lehne and Herbert Berghof.[6]


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 among a new generation as Cypher in the 1999 landmark sci-fi film The Matrix and won a Primetime Emmy Award as Ralph Cifaretto in HBO’s The Sopranos. Pantoliano is also known for his role as Eddie Moscone, the foul-mouthed, double-crossing bail bondsman, in the Robert De Niro comedy Midnight Run, as Captain Conrad Howard in Bad Boys and its sequel Bad Boys 2, 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 U.S. Marshal Cosmo Renfro in The Fugitive along with Tommy Lee Jones and reprised the role in the sequel U.S. Marshals.

In 2003 Pantoliano replaced Stanley Tucci in the Broadway play Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune. That same year he won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for The Sopranos.[7]

In 2012 Pantoliano starred 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.[8] In 2013, he was cast as Yogi Berra in the Broadway production of Bronx Bombers,[9] but dropped out during rehearsals due to "creative differences."[10]

When not acting, Pantoliano writes. He is 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.[11]

Personal lifeEdit

Pantoliano and his wife, former model Nancy Sheppard, have four children.[12] He was introduced to his wife by his friend actress Samantha Phillips.[13]

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.[citation needed]

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 nonprofit organization, No Kidding, Me Too!,[14] 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 has frequently heard after divulging how mental illness affected him and his family. He is also filming a documentary called No Kidding, Me Too![11]

After a Sopranos episode in which his character brutally beat a young stripper to death, during an interview he stated, "After the episode aired a lot more women started hitting on me. I thought it was very revealing."[15]



Year Title Role Notes
1974 Road Movie Mugger Credited as Joseph Pantoliano
For Pete's Sake Undercover Cop who arrests Mark credited[citation needed]
1980 The Idolmaker Gino Pilato
1982 Monsignor Pvt. Joe Musso
1983 The Final Terror Eggar
Risky Business Guido
Eddie and the Cruisers Doc Robbins
1985 The Mean Season Andy Porter
The Goonies Francis
1986 Running Scared Snake
1987 Scenes from the Goldmine Manny
La Bamba Bob Keane
The Squeeze Norman
Amazon Women on the Moon Sy Swerdlow Segment: "Hairlooming"
Empire of the Sun Frank Demarest
1988 The In Crowd Perry Parker
Midnight Run Eddie
1990 Ardouous Moon Short film
Downtown White
Blue Heat Wayne Gross
Short Time Scalese
Backstreet Dreams Paul Antangeli Uncredited Cameo[citation needed]
1991 Zandalee Gerri
1992 Used People Frank
1993 Three of Hearts Mickey
The Fugitive Deputy U.S. Marshal Cosmo Renfro
Calendar Girl Harvey Darpinian
Me and the Kid Roy
1994 Robot in the Family The Father
Teresa's Tattoo Bruno
Baby's Day Out Norby
1995 Bad Boys Captain Conrad Howard
Congo Eddie Ventro Uncredited Cameo[citation needed]
The Last Word Doc
Steal Big Steal Little Eddie Agopian, Ruben's Lawyer
The Immortals Pete Tunnell
1996 Fly Away Home Gordy
The Flight of the Dove Attorney Brezner
Bound Caesar
1997 Top of the World Vince Castor
Aliens Attack Captain Nevins
Tinseltown Arnie
Natural Enemy Stuart
1998 U.S. Marshals Deputy U.S. Marshal Cosmo Renfro
Hoods Charlie Flynn
1999 Taxman Al Benjamin
Forces of Nature Cab Driver Uncredited Cameo[citation needed]
The Matrix Cypher
Black and White Bill King
The Life Before This Jake Maclean
2000 Silver Man Norbert
Ready to Rumble Titus Sinclair
New Blood Hellman
Memento "Teddy" James Edward Gammell
A Better Way to Die Flash
2001 Cats & Dogs Peek Voice role
2002 A Call for Help Charlie
The Adventures of Pluto Nash Mogan
2003 Daredevil Ben Urich
Bad Boys II Captain Conrad Howard
2004 Second Best Elliot
Perfect Opposites Louis Carbonelli
The Easter Egg Adventure Terrible Timothy Takit Voice role
2005 Racing Stripes Goose Voice role
The Check Up The Inspector Short film
The Amateurs Some Idiot
2006 Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector Mayor M.T. Gunn
Wedding Daze Smitty
Canvas John Marino
Unknown Bound Man
2009 The Job Perriman
Deadly Impact David Kaplow
Falling Up George
2010 The Legend of Secret Pass Chucksta Voice
Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief Gabe Ugliano
Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore Peek Voice role
New York Street Games self Documentary
2011 Loosies Carl
Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life Oswald Oswald III
2014 The Identical Avi Hirshberg
2016 The Perfect Match Marty
2017 Just Getting Started Joe
2018 Happy Anniversary Aldo
2019 Spring Break '83 Sergeant Coltrane Filming completed in 2007; release postponed.


Year Title Role Notes
1977 McNamara's Band Frankie Milano TV movie
1978 Free Country Louis Peschi 3 episodes
1979 From Here to Eternity Pvt. Angelo Maggio Miniseries
1980 Alcatraz: The Whole Shocking Story Ray Neal Movie
1981, 1984 Hart to Hart Frank Tisdale / Nate Volkman 2 episodes
1981 M*A*S*H Cpl. Gerald Mullen/Josh Levin Episode: "Identity Crisis" (#10.2)
1982 Chicago Story Cooney Episode: "Who Needs the Truth?" (#1.12)
1983 Hardcastle and McCormick Teddy Hollins Episode: "The Crystal Duck" (#1.4)
1984 Mister Roberts Insignia Movie
Hill Street Blues Sonny Orsini 2 episodes
Trapper John, M.D. Michael Merrow Episode: "Where There's a Will" (#5.15)
Simon & Simon Carl Episode: "Who Killed the Sixties?" (#4.7)
1985 Robert Kennedy & His Times Roy Cohn Miniseries
1986 Amazing Stories Joe Episode: "One for the Road" (#1.15)
L.A. Law Rob Cavanaugh Pilot
1987 Destination America Lt. Mike Amico Movie
1988 Rock 'n' Roll Mom Ronnie Movie
1989 Nightbreaker Sgt. Jack Russell Movie
The Hitchhiker Brother Charles Episode: "Miracle of Alice Ames" (#5.7)
Tales from the Crypt Ulrich The Undying Episode: "Dig That cat...He's real gone" (#1.3)
1990 El Diablo Kid Durango Movie
1990–91 The Fanelli Boys Dominic Fanelli 19 episodes
1991 One Special Victory Daniel Movie
1992 Through the Eyes of a Killer Jerry Movie
Highlander: The Series Doctor Wilder Episode: "Deadly Medicine" (#1.8)
1994 Dangerous Heart Barclay Movie
Beethoven Sparky Voice
12 episodes
1995 The Marshal Cameris Episode: "Unprotected Witness" (#1.12)
NYPD Blue Vinnie Greco 3 episodes
1996 Ed McBain's 87th Precinct: Ice Det. Meyer Meyer Movie
Life with Louie Jojo Stomopolous Voice
Arliss Vic Freed Episode: "The Client's Best Interest" (#1.9)
1996–97 EZ Streets Jimmy Murtha Recurring role
1997 Natural Enemy Stuart Movie
1998 Godzilla: The Series Animal Palotti Voice
Episode: "New Family" (Part 1)
Hercules King Pan Episode: "Hercules and the King for a Day"
The Lionhearts Director Voice
5 episodes
1999 Sugar Hill Joe Pilot
The Outer Limits Stan Harbinger Episode: "Alien Radio" (#5.1)
Olive, the Other Reindeer Martini Voice role
2001–04 The Sopranos Ralph Cifaretto Main role, 21 episodes
2001 Roswell Kal Langley 2 episodes
2003–04 The Handler Joe Renato Recurring role
2003 Gary the Rat Anthony 'the Heel' Stilletto Voice
Episode: "Sleeps with the Fishes" (#1.6)
2004–06 Dr. Vegas Tommy Danko Recurring role
2006 Deceit Anthony Movie
Waterfront James "Jimmy" Centrella Lead role
The Simpsons Dante Voice
Episode: "The Mook, the Chef, the Wife and Her Homer" (#18.1)
2011 How to Make it in America Felix DiFlorio 2 episodes
2015–17 Sense8 Michael Gorski Recurring role
2017 SpongeBob SquarePants Stickyfins Whiting Voice
Episode: "The Getaway"
2018 Lake Placid: Legacy Henderson Television film

Video gamesEdit

Year Title Voice role Notes
2001 Majestic Tim Pritchard Episode 4
Grand Theft Auto III Luigi Goterelli From mission Luigi's Girl until mission Salvatore's Called a Meeting
2013 Call of Duty: Black Ops II Al "The Weasel" Arlington "Uprising" DLC, on the zombies map "Mob of the Dead"

Awards and nominationsEdit


  1. ^ Lee Hirsch; Cynthia Lowen (25 September 2012). Bully: An Action Plan for Teachers, Parents, and Communities to Combat the Bullying Crisis. Hachette Books. pp. 157–. ISBN 978-1-60286-185-5.
  2. ^ Joe Pantoliano Biography,; accessed June 21, 2017.
  3. ^ "SMOKE 09/02 - Joe Pantoliano in the Hot Seat". Archived from the original on 2008-07-05.
  4. ^ Who's Sorry Now: The True Story of a Stand-Up Guy Entertainment Weekly, October 4, 2002
  5. ^ Smith, Ray. “‘Hoboken was a very wild community’ Actor Joe Pantoliano inspires; honored at the Boys and Girls Club”, The Hudson Reporter, December 12, 2010. Accessed September 10, 2017. "Pantoliano and his lifelong friend Rich Pepe have teamed up to create their own pasta sauce (or gravy, depending on your ethnicity) called Pepe and Pants Pasta Sauce, of which 100 percent of the net proceeds are donated to "No Kidding, Me Too!" The two men graduated from Cliffside Park High School together after their families moved from Hoboken.
  6. ^ "Joe Pantoliano".
  7. ^ "Nominees/Winners".
  8. ^ "Reviews".
  9. ^ O'Keeffe, Michael; Toulson, Ja'Pheth; Abbott, Campbell (August 3, 2013). "Joe Pantoliano to play Yogi Berra in Bronx Bombers: "Bronx Bombers examines how baseball's most storied franchise has always remained focused on maintaining a great team, even when dealing with some of the game's most iconic and tempestuous personalities," the producers say in a press release". New York Daily News. Retrieved February 11, 2014.
  10. ^ Hetrick, Adam (September 17, 2013). "Joe Pantoliano Speaks Out Via Twitter and Facebook Following Bronx Bombers Departure". Playbill. Archived from the original on February 26, 2014. Retrieved February 11, 2014.
  11. ^ a b "Joe Pantoliano — He Puts the 'Fun' in Dysfunctional". ABILITY Magazine.
  12. ^ Joe Pantoliano biography,; accessed June 21, 2017.
  13. ^ “Friends Setting Up Friends,” Archived 2008-07-23 at the Wayback Machine.; accessed June 21, 2017.
  14. ^ "No Kidding? Me Too! – Stomping the stigma of mental disease".
  15. ^ Samuel Fly (25 July 2016). "The Sopranos Inside Story" – via YouTube.

External linksEdit