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Rockets Redglare (Rockets Redglare)

Rockets Redglare (Rockets Redglare)

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Also Known As: Michael Gennaro Morra Died: May 28, 2001
Born: Cause of Death: complications from drug and alcohol abuse
Birth Place: New York City, New York, USA Profession: actor, comedian

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

This tough, eccentric and battered-looking nightclub habitue became a comic and eventually a successful character actor in more than 20 films. He was born Michael Gennaro Morra to a tough Brooklyn family; his father was deported, and his uncle reportedly gunned down a man in front of the boy. Morra became a ruffian himself, losing his teeth in a pistol-whipping and admitting to at least one stick-up. Morra changed his name to 'Rockets Redglare' when he became a nightclub comic in the 1970s.Popular in the downtown punk scene, he was spotted by director Jim Jarmusch, who cast him as a poker player in the road comedy "Stranger Than Paradise" (1984). Redglare had found a new career and he never slowed down. With his tough, broken face, hulking presence and snaggle-toothed dentures, he was pretty much typed as a hood or lowlife. But his projects have run the gamut from major studio releases to such low-budget experimental films as "The Way It Is, or Eurydice in the Avenue" (1984), "Her Name is Lisa" (1986), "In the Soup" and "What About Me" (both 1992).Cutting-edge directors are fond of him and Redglare's distinctive presence has graced such major productions as Martin Scorsese's dark comedy "After Hours"...

This tough, eccentric and battered-looking nightclub habitue became a comic and eventually a successful character actor in more than 20 films. He was born Michael Gennaro Morra to a tough Brooklyn family; his father was deported, and his uncle reportedly gunned down a man in front of the boy. Morra became a ruffian himself, losing his teeth in a pistol-whipping and admitting to at least one stick-up. Morra changed his name to 'Rockets Redglare' when he became a nightclub comic in the 1970s.

Popular in the downtown punk scene, he was spotted by director Jim Jarmusch, who cast him as a poker player in the road comedy "Stranger Than Paradise" (1984). Redglare had found a new career and he never slowed down. With his tough, broken face, hulking presence and snaggle-toothed dentures, he was pretty much typed as a hood or lowlife. But his projects have run the gamut from major studio releases to such low-budget experimental films as "The Way It Is, or Eurydice in the Avenue" (1984), "Her Name is Lisa" (1986), "In the Soup" and "What About Me" (both 1992).

Cutting-edge directors are fond of him and Redglare's distinctive presence has graced such major productions as Martin Scorsese's dark comedy "After Hours" (1985, as a mob member), Susan Seidelman's "Desperately Seeking Susan" (1985, as a cab driver) and "Cookie" (1989, as a mobster), Jarmusch's "Down By Law" (1986) and "Mystery Train" (1989), and Penny Marshall's "Big" (1988, as a scary hotel clerk). Additionally, Redglare was the nuttiest caller in Oliver Stone's "Talk Radio" (1988), a denizen of old friend Steve Buscemi's "Trees Lounge" and himself in Julian Schnabel's "Basquiat" (both 1996).

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Rockets Redglare! (2004) Himself
2.
 Louis and Frank (1998) Ralph
3.
 Basquiat (1996) Rockets
4.
 Trees Lounge (1996) Stan
5.
 In the Soup (1992) Guy
6.
 What About Me (1992)
7.
8.
 In the Spirit (1990) Bartender
9.
 Mystery Train (1989) Liquor Store Clerk
10.
 Cookie (1989) Carmine'S Wiseguy
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Worked as nightclub comic in the late 1970s
1984:
Film debut in "Stranger Than Paradise"
1985:
First supporting role, as cab driver in "Desperately Seeking Susan"
1987:
First foreign film, the multi-national "Candy Mountain"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Notes

"If Redglare brings a verisimilitude to his parts that is beyond the scope of any acting class, he also lends the roles a physical presence that is unobtainable in a makeup chair. A certain wrecked handsomeness lurks behind the scars and the excess weight that makes him look not so much fat as badly inflated. And then there are the Redglare teeth. When he wears his jagged, discolored, metal-fortified dentures, his mouth looks as if it has been carelessly sealed with sheet metal and plywood; when he takes his dentures out, as he often does for films, his canine teeth project a slavering menace that saves directors a lot of time establishing his character." --Mark Lasswell in Premiere, September 1989.

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