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Philip Bosco

Philip Bosco

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Also Known As: Philip Michael Bosco, Phillip Bosco Died:
Born: September 26, 1930 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Jersey City, New Jersey, USA Profession: actor, truck driver, carnival worker

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

An avuncular, often underused character player in films, Philip Bosco made his feature debut in "Requiem For a Heavyweight" (1962) but acted in only one other picture prior to 1983 when his thinning white hair, ready smile and faultless delivery began bringing him many middle-aged roles, often as sympathetic figures of authority. On the New York stage, however, Bosco is a legend who has headlined numerous Broadway productions and along the way earned three Tony nominations before taking the award home for "Lend Me a Tenor" (1989), his fourth invitation to the dance. A frequent presence in the plays of Shakespeare, especially early in his career, he also emerged as one of the finest contemporary interpreters of the work of George Bernard Shaw, appearing on the New York boards in eight Shaw plays. Though he has always put the theater first, he has increasingly allowed TV, films and commercials to enhance his family's quality of life.Born in Jersey City, New Jersey to a carnival operator, Bosco washed out of Catholic University in Washington, DC, because he was spending too much time in dramatics to the exclusion of other studies. He went into the army, trained as a cryptographer, and upon his release...

An avuncular, often underused character player in films, Philip Bosco made his feature debut in "Requiem For a Heavyweight" (1962) but acted in only one other picture prior to 1983 when his thinning white hair, ready smile and faultless delivery began bringing him many middle-aged roles, often as sympathetic figures of authority. On the New York stage, however, Bosco is a legend who has headlined numerous Broadway productions and along the way earned three Tony nominations before taking the award home for "Lend Me a Tenor" (1989), his fourth invitation to the dance. A frequent presence in the plays of Shakespeare, especially early in his career, he also emerged as one of the finest contemporary interpreters of the work of George Bernard Shaw, appearing on the New York boards in eight Shaw plays. Though he has always put the theater first, he has increasingly allowed TV, films and commercials to enhance his family's quality of life.

Born in Jersey City, New Jersey to a carnival operator, Bosco washed out of Catholic University in Washington, DC, because he was spending too much time in dramatics to the exclusion of other studies. He went into the army, trained as a cryptographer, and upon his release returned to Catholic University and earned his degree. As he was 27 years of age, this set the pace for the late blooming which has marked much of his brilliant career. A resident actor of DC's Arena Stage from 1957-60, he made his Broadway debut in 1958 playing Brian O'Bannion in a revival of "Auntie Mame" at the City Center Theatre, then toured with the show before earning his first Tony nomination (as Featured Actor in a Play) for "The Rape of the Belt" (1961). He also enjoyed a long association with the American Shakespeare Festival at Stratford, Connecticut, playing Henry Bolingbroke in "Richard II" and the title role in "Henry IV, Part I" (1962); Rufio in "Antony and Cleopatra" and Pistol in "Henry V" (1963); Claudius in "Hamlet" (1964); and the title role of "The Tragedy of Coriolanus" (1965), among his roles.

Bosco embarked on another long association with a resident acting company portraying Lovewit in "The Alchemist" (1966) at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre of New York's Lincoln Center. During his tenure there, he played Dunois in "Saint Joan" (1968) and Crofts in "Mrs. Warren's Profession" (1976) from the Shaw repertoire and essayed Creon ("Antigone" 1971) as well as Reverend John Hale ("The Crucible" 1972). He again portrayed Pistol in "Henry V" in 1977, this time for the New York Shakespeare Festival, and was Mack the Knife in the Festival's acclaimed 1977 revival of "The Threepenny Opera". Bosco then played Mendoza in Shaw's "Man and Superman" (1978-79) at the Circle-in-the Square Theatre, where he would return as Captain Queeg in "The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial" (1983) and Boss Mangan in Shaw's "Heartbreak House" (1983-84), earning his second Tony nomination (as Featured Actor in a Play) for the latter all-star production which boasted Rex Harrison, Rosemary Harris, Amy Irving and Dana Ivey. After collecting a third Tony nomination for Shaw's "You Never Can Tell" (1987), he won both a Drama Desk and Tony Award for his leading role in Ken Ludwig's farce "Lend Me a Tenor" (1989-90) and later co-starred with Carol Burnett in Ludwig's backstage comedy "Moon Over Buffalo" (1995-96), which garnered him a fifth Tony nomination.

During the 70s, Bosco suffered anxiety attacks which made it difficult for him to leave his Teaneck (New Jersey) home and severely limited his professional choices. Unknown to feature film audiences until a small role in 1983's "Trading Places", he grabbed Hollywood's attention as millionaire industrialist Oren Trask in Mike Nichols' Oscar-nominated comedy "Working Girl" (1988). His firm yet warm delivery demonstrated his great range, and he got a ton of mileage for admonishing Harrison Ford about thinking with his "Johnson". There has been no shortage of feature parts since as he has appeared in such pics as "The Dream Team" (1989), "Blue Steel" (1990) and three Woody Allen pictures ("Another Woman" 1988, "Shadows and Fog" 1992, "Deconstructing Harry" 1997). A busy 1994 saw him play Geena Davis' father, keeping the secret of her natural mother's actual fate in "Angie", the judge ruling on Paul Newman's misdeeds in "Nobody's Fool" and Susan Sarandon's father in "Safe Passage", not to mention the disappointing "Milk Money", which reteamed him with "Working Girl" Melanie Griffith. He subsequently made a valiant effort in the insipid "It Takes Two" (1995), starring the Olsen twins, and ably courted laughs in his cameo gag as Uncle Carmine Morelli in "The First Wives Club" (1996).

While it took middle age to jump-start his feature career, Bosco had been working in New York-based TV since the early 60s, appearing in live anthology shows like "DuPont Show of the Month" (CBS) and acting in "The Nurses" and "The Defenders" (both CBS series). With the rise of his big screen career in the 80s, Bosco's profile on TV increased as well. He co-starred in the 1986 NBC miniseries "Rage of Angels II: The Story Continues" and played Captain Wycoff, boss to Richard Crenna, in several "Janek" TV-movies for CBS. He was a mobster turned good Samaritan in "Some Men Need Help", an "American Playhouse" presentation for PBS in 1985, and won a Daytime Emmy for his work as the grandfather in "Read Between the Lines," a 1987 "ABC Afterschool Special". The short-lived "Tribeca" (Fox, 1993) represented his first stab at regular series work, and although the show was an anthology, Bosco supplied the continuity, playing the proprietor of an upscale coffee shop where characters regularly had breakfast and dashed in for take-out. He has lent his smooth, resonant voice to many TV specials and miniseries, perhaps most notably standing in for Horace Greeley in Ken Burns' "The Civil War" (PBS, 1990) and for several characters in Burns' "Baseball" (PBS, 1994). He also played recurring characters in two CBS daytime serials, "Guiding Light" (1979) and "As the World Turns" (1994).

Bosco popped up in another blockbuster, "My Best Friend's Wedding" (1997), playing Cameron Diaz's father, but he was never away from his first love for long. He was perfect as Malvolio, the pompous steward duped into believing his mistress Olivia desires him in Lincoln Center's Broadway revival of "Twelfth Night" (1998), suffering profound humiliation and communicating his misery in a way that elicited audience sympathy. The following year, he appeared as the grandfather in "Ancestral Voices", a minor addition to A.R. Gurney's "growing up WASP in Buffalo" canon. Back on Broadway in Michael Frayn's cerebral "Copenhagen" (2000), he delivered an acclaimed (yet overlooked at Tony nominating time) performance as the joyfully inquisitive physicist Neils Bohr, still haunted by his role in the creation of the A-bomb. He also turned up that year as Michael Douglas' father-in-law in "Wonder Boys" and as Mary-Louise Parker's cold and critical father in "Cupid & Cate" (CBS), not to mention acting in John Singleton's remake of "Shaft".

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
 Savages, The (2007)
3.
 Freedomland (2006)
5.
 Hitch (2005) Cast
6.
 Mark Twain (2001) Voice
7.
 No Ordinary Baby (2001) Dr Ed Walden
8.
 Kate & Leopold (2001) Otis
9.
 Borough of Kings (2001)
10.
 Wonder Boys (2000) Emily's father
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in Jersey City, New Jersey
:
A role as Machiavelli the Cat in a school play entitled "The Fairy Cobbler" while in eighth grade hooked him on theater
1951:
Served in US Army Signal Corps and Special Services
1954:
Professional acting debut in Maryland production of "You Never Can Tell"
:
Appeared in 20 productions with Arena Stage, Washington, DC
1958:
Broadway debut in "Auntie Mame," playing Brian O'Bannon
1960:
Early TV credit, "The Prisoner of Zenda," a CBS telecast of the "DuPont Show of the Month"
1961:
Received first Tony Award nomination for performance in "The Rape of the Belt"
1962:
Made film debut in "Requiem for a Heavyweight"
:
Performed with American Shakespeare Festival, including title roles in "Henry IV, Part I" and "Coriolanus"
1966:
First worked with producer Joseph Papp at the New York Shakespeare Festival in "Richard III"
:
Member of the Lincoln Center Repertory Theater company
1968:
Second feature film, "A Lovely Way to Die"
1970:
Returned to Lincoln Center as member of company
:
Experienced an eighteen-month period of anxiety attacks during the mid-1970s (a condition long since controlled) that limited his professional choices
1977:
Played Mack the Knife in New York Shakespeare Festival revival of "The Threepenny Opera" in Central Park
1979:
Had recurring role on the CBS daytime drama "Guiding Light"
1979:
Acted in "Whose Life Is It Anyway?" on Broadway
:
Spent a season with the Roundabout Theatre Company
1983:
First feature in 15 years, "Trading Places"
:
Cast opposite Rex Harrison and Rosemary Harris in the Broadway revival of Shaw's "Heartbreak House"; received Tony nomination
1984:
Cast as Eric Roberts' father in "The Pope of Greenwich Village"
1985:
Starred in American Playhouse production of "Some Men Need Help" (PBS)
1985:
Revisited Catholic upbringing playing a member of a religious order in the comedy "Heaven Help Us"
:
Had lead role of Sir Thomas More in Roundabout revival of "A Man for All Seasons"
1987:
Appeared as a detective in the comedy hit "Three Men and a Baby"
1987:
Garnered third Tony nomination as Actor in a Play for Shaw's "You Never Can Tell"
1987:
Won a Daytime Emmy Award playing a grandfather in "Read Between the Line," an ABC Afterschool Special
1988:
First collaboration with Woody Allen, the Bergmanesque "Another Woman"
1988:
Played industrialist Oren Trask in "Working Girl"
1989:
Starred on Broadway in Ken Ludwig's farcical "Lend Me a Tenor"
1991:
Second film with Woody Allen, "Shadows and Fog"
1993:
Had regular role on the short-lived Fox anthology series "Tribeca"
1994:
Played a judge in Robert Benton's "Nobody's Fool"
:
Co-starred with Rosemary Harris in "An Inspector Calls" on Broadway
1994:
Cast as a corrections officer in the gripping HBO drama "Against the Wall"
1995:
Played Dr. Sloper in Broadway revival of "The Heiress"
:
Starred with Carol Burnett on Broadway in "Moon Over Buffalo"; received Tony nomination
1997:
Cast as Cameron Diaz's father in "My Best Friend's Wedding"
1997:
Third film with Allen, "Deconstructing Harry"
1998:
Portrayed Malvolio in the Lincoln Center production of "Twelfth Night"; reprised role in live telecast on PBS
2000:
Played Michael Douglas' father-in-law in brief role in the feature comedy "Wonder Boys"
2000:
Returned to Broadway to star in Michael Frayn's "Copenhagen"
2000:
Acted in John Singleton's remake of "Shaft," starring Samuel L Jackson
2004:
Returned to Broadway as 'Juror Three, the Angriest One of All' in "Twelve Angry Men" an adaptation of Reginald Rose's popular television (and film) drama from the 1950's; earned Tony nomination for his role
2005:
Starred on Broadway as Grandpa Potts in "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang," inspired by the children's book by Ian Fleming
2007:
Cast on the FX original series "Damages"
2007:
Played the senile father of Philip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney in "The Savages"
2011:
Appeared in PBS' documentary film series "Prohibition"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

St. Peter's Preparatory School: Jersey City , New Jersey - 1948
The Catholic University of America: Washington , Washington D.C. - 1957

Notes

Inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame in 1998.

On his strong feelings regarding actors doing commercials: "Yes, I still think it demeans the profession. How can you play Hamlet or Macbeth and be respected as an artist when they see you selling toilet paper? If you want to be a salesman, fine--but don't be an actor and a salesman. You are not practicing your craft when you are selling products. When Laurence Olivier did it, it broke my heart, although his commercials weren't shown in England. But after a lot of soul-searching, I said that I would do it because my family deserves it. And then it was no dog food or women's sanitary napkins. I became the spokesperson for MCI, and in four years, I made more money in that gig--almost a million dollars--than I made in my entire career as an actor on the stage." --Philip Bosco to Gerard Raymond in InTheater, August 7, 1998.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Nancy Ann Bosco. Were college sweethearts; married on January 2, 1957.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Philip Lupo Bosco. Carnival operator.
mother:
Margaret Raymond Bosco.
daughter:
Diane Bosco.
son:
Philip Bosco.
son:
Christopher Bosco.
daughter:
Jennifer Bosco.
daughter:
Lisa Bosco.
daughter:
Celia Bosco.
son:
John Bosco.
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