Open main menu

Philip Michael Bosco (September 26, 1930 – December 3, 2018) was an American actor. He was known for his Tony Award-winning performance as Saunders in the 1989 Broadway production of Lend Me a Tenor, and for his starring role in the 2007 film The Savages. He won a Daytime Emmy Award in 1988.

Philip Bosco
Philip bosco.jpg
Philip Michael Bosco

(1930-09-26)September 26, 1930
DiedDecember 3, 2018(2018-12-03) (aged 88)
Years active1961–2010
Nancy Ann Dunkle (m. 1957)

Personal lifeEdit

Bosco was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, the son of Margaret Raymond (née Thek), a policewoman, and Philip Lupo Bosco, a carnival worker.[1] His father was of Italian descent and his mother was of German ancestry.[2] Bosco attended St. Peter's Preparatory School in Jersey City,[3] and later studied Drama at Catholic University of America, where he had notable success in the title role of Shakespeare's Richard III.[4]

Bosco married a fellow Catholic University student, Nancy Ann Dunkle, on January 2, 1957. They had seven children, Jenny, Diane, Philip, Chris, John, Lisa, Celia and 15 grandchildren.[1][5] Bosco resided in Haworth, New Jersey.[3][6]

Bosco died at his home in Haworth, New Jersey of complications from dementia on December 3, 2018 at the age of 88.[7] His funeral Mass was held at Mount Carmel Church in Tenafly, New Jersey followed by his internment at Brookside Cemetery in Englewood, New Jersey[8].


Bosco began his career in Broadway theatre. He received a Tony Award nomination for his debut in The Rape of the Belt in 1960 and spent the next three decades supporting major stars in classic revivals like Cyrano de Bergerac, King Lear, and Twelfth Night.[9]

He appeared in revivals of plays by George Bernard Shaw, including Man and Superman, Saint Joan, Mrs. Warren's Profession, Major Barbara, Heartbreak House (opposite Rex Harrison), and You Never Can Tell, winning Tony nominations for the last three. He also appeared with Shirley Knight in the Roundabout Theatre Company revival of Come Back, Little Sheba.[9]

Following his Tony-winning performance in the farce Lend Me a Tenor in 1990, Bosco appeared on Broadway in An Inspector Calls (1994), The Heiress (1995), Twelfth Night (1998), Copenhagen (2000), and Twelve Angry Men (2004).[9]

He played "Grandpa Potts" in the 2005 Broadway production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and capped his Shavian work as the aged Captain Shotover in a Broadway revival of Heartbreak House in 2006. He retired from the stage in 2009, after appearing in the City Center Encores production of Finian's Rainbow, although he loaned his voice to Douglas Carter Beane's 2010 play Mr. and Mrs. Fitch.[9]

Bosco appeared regularly in the Law & Order franchise of television series, in various roles ranging from judges to lawyers to villains. (He is perhaps known for his role of Judge Joseph Terhune on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit). His motion picture credits include Trading Places, Working Girl, Children of a Lesser God, Suspect, Walls of Glass, Straight Talk, Nobody's Fool, Wonder Boys, The Money Pit, Three Men and a Baby, Milk Money, Quick Change, Angie, The First Wives Club, and The Savages.

Bosco narrated the 1991 documentary film Coney Island, directed by Ric Burns and voiced a number of characters for Ken Burns' documentaries for PBS. Bosco also portrayed Vincenzo the butler in the 1995 comedy It Takes Two, and portrayed Walter Wallace, father of the bride-to-be in the 1997 romantic comedy My Best Friend's Wedding, co-starring Julia Roberts, Cameron Diaz and Dermot Mulroney.

In 1988, Bosco won a Daytime Emmy Award for his appearance in the ABC Afterschool Special "Read Between The Lines". Bosco was a series regular on the FX original series Damages. He narrated Desert Giant: The World of the Saguaro Cactus by Barbara Bash on the PBS series Reading Rainbow in its sixty-second episode on March 27, 1990. In 1998, Bosco was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame.[10]



Year Title Role Notes
1968 A Lovely Way to Die Fuller
1983 Trading Places Doctor
1984 The Pope of Greenwich Village Paulie's Father
1985 Heaven Help Us Brother Paul
1985 Walls of Glass James Flanagan
1986 The Money Pit Curly
1986 Children of a Lesser God Dr. Curtis Franklin
1987 Suspect Paul Gray
1987 Three Men and a Baby Detective Melkowitz
1988 Another Woman Sam
1988 Working Girl Oren Trask
1989 The Luckiest Man in the World Sam Posner
1989 The Dream Team O'Malley
1990 Blue Steel Frank Turner
1990 Quick Change Bus Driver
1991 True Colors Sen. Frank Steubens
1991 F/X2 Ray Silak
1991 Shadows and Fog Mr. Paulsen
1992 Straight Talk Gene Perlman
1994 Angie Frank
1994 Milk Money Jerry the Pope
1994 Safe Passage Mort
1994 Nobody's Fool Judge Flatt
1995 It Takes Two Vincenzo
1996 The First Wives Club Uncle Carmine Morelli
1996 Surprise! Cabby
1997 My Best Friend's Wedding Walter Wallace
1997 Deconstructing Harry Professor Clark
1997 Critical Care Dr. Hofstader
2000 Wonder Boys Emily's Father
2000 Shaft Walter Wade, Sr.
2000 Brooklyn Sonnet Uncle Chicky
2001 Kate & Leopold Otis
2002 Abandon Professor Jergensen
2005 Hitch Mr. O'Brian
2006 Freedomland Priest
2007 The Savages Lenny Savage
2009 When the Evening Comes Martin Corrado


Year Title Role Notes
1953 You Are There Sam Houston 2 episodes
1961 DuPont Show of the Month Duke Michael Episode: "The Prisoner of Zenda"
1961 Armstrong Circle Theatre Roy Thornton Episode: "Medicine Man"
1961 Sunday Showcase General Gordon Episode: "Our American Heritage: Gentleman's Decision"
1961 Our American Heritage General Gordon Episode: "Gentleman's Decision"
1963–1965 The Doctors and the Nurses Ralph Maley / Hap Spencer / Parnell Sullivan 3 episodes
1965 The Defenders Dr. Manfredi Episode: "Whipping Boy"
1965 For the People Detective Willard 2 episodes
1965 The Trials of O'Brien Theo Episode: "Charlie's Got All the Luck"
1966 Hawk Nick Ingland Episode: "Game with a Dead End"
1966 NET Playhouse Peter Stockmann Episode: "An Enemy of the People"
1968 N.Y.P.D. Episode: "What's a Nice Girl Like You..."
1971 Great Performances Father Coyne Episode: "Hogan's Goat"
1978 Ryan's Hope Dr. Gillette Episode #1.789
1979 Guiding Light Clarence Baily Unknown episodes
1981 Nurse Dr. Harry Wallenberg Episode: "Equal Opportunity"
1985 American Playhouse Gaetano Altobelli Episode: "Some Men Need Help"
1986 Liberty Boss William Tweed Television film
1986 Rage of Angels: The Story Continues Thomas Colfax Television film
1986–1989 The Equalizer Oscar / Brian 2 episodes
1987 ABC Afterschool Special Grandfather Episode: "Read Between the Lines"
1987 Leg Work Dawson Episode: "All This and a Gold Card Too"
1987 Echoes in the Darkness Judge Garb Television film
1988 Spenser: For Hire David McVane Episode: "Substantial Justice"
1988 Internal Affairs John Wycoff Television film
1989 Murder in Black and White Wycoff Television film
1990 The Civil War Horace Greeley / various (voice) 9 episodes
1990 Against the Law Judge Webb Episode: "Contempt"
1990–1999 Law & Order Gordon Schell / Lee Jerrold / Mr. Dobbs 5 episodes
1990–2010 American Experience Narrator / various voices 3 episodes
1991 The Return of Eliot Ness Art Malto Television film
1992 Lincoln Frederick Seward (voice) Television film
1993 Tribeca Harry Arsharsky 7 episodes
1994 Against the Wall Oswald Television film
1994 The Forget-Me-Not Murders Chief Television film
1994 Janek: The Silent Betrayal Chief Wycoff Television film
1995 Young at Heart Patsy Television film
1997 Early Edition Killabrew Episode: "Bat Masterson"
1997 Remember WENN Palermo Racine Episode: "A Star in Stripes Forever"
1997 Liberty! The American Revolution Benjamin Franklin 5 episodes
1998 Cosby Episode: "Enter Lucas"
1998 Soul Man Snake Eye Episode: "Raising Heck"
1998 Carriers Col. John O. Bailey Television film
1998 Twelfth Night, or What You Will Malvolio Television film
1998 Spin City Randall Winston, Sr. Episode: "Gobble the Wonder Turkey Saves the Day"
1999 Bonanno: A Godfather's Story Steve Maggadino Sr. Television film
2000 All My Children Lyle Wedgewood 1 episode
2000 Cupid & Cate Dominic DeAngelo Television film
2001 No Ordinary Baby Dr. Ed Walden Television film
2001–2004 Ed Alan Stevens 2 episodes
2002 Cyberchase Zeus (voice) Episode: "Zeus on the Loose"
2002 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Prof. Winthrop Episode: "Anti-Thesis"
2002–2006 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Judge Joseph P. Terhune / Davis Langley 6 episodes
2003 Freedom: A History of Us Various voices 7 episodes
2007–2009 Damages Hollis Nye 12 episodes


  1. ^ a b "Philip Bosco profile at". 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-10.
  2. ^ Reference to Bosco,; accessed August 23, 2014.
  3. ^ a b Rohan, Virginia. "Haworth's Philip Bosco is a seasoned star", The Record (Bergen County), November 14, 2007.
  4. ^ Philip Bosco Biography, Yahoo! Movies; accessed August 23, 2014.
  5. ^ Press, The Associated. "Tony Award-winning actor Philip Bosco, of Jersey City, dies at 88". Retrieved 2018-12-06.
  6. ^ Beckerman, Jim. "'Resilience' is theme of Teaneck film fest", The Record (Bergen County), November 19, 2009; accessed June 5, 2012.
  7. ^ Philip Bosco, Tony-Winning Character Actor, Is Dead at 88
  8. ^
  9. ^ a b c d Philip Bosco at the Internet Broadway Database
  10. ^ "Philip Bosco profile". Archived from the original on March 16, 2014. Retrieved August 23, 2014.

External linksEdit