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|Also Known As:||Died:||February 12, 1985|
|Born:||January 19, 1924||Cause of Death:||heart attack|
|Birth Place:||Rhode Island, USA||Profession:||Cast ... actor director|
While Nicholas Colasanto achieved his greatest success in the twilight of his career, playing absent-minded but lovable bartender "Coach" on the hit sitcom "Cheers," the Providence, Rhode Island-born actor took on numerous dramatic roles, too, as well as forays into directing for TV. After a brief stint as an accountant in the 1950s, Colasanto, inspired by a Henry Fonda performance on Broadway, joined a small theater company in Phoenix, Arizona. He soon landed in New York City, appearing in off-Broadway stage productions and TV commercials. Despite a burgeoning career as a supporting actor, Colasanto started making his mark as a TV director in the late '60s and '70s, working on such shows as "Columbo," "Starsky and Hutch," and "Hawaii Five-O." While he remained active as a director into the early 1980s, Colasanto took one final, memorable acting role as the friendly but easily forgetful barkeep Ernie "Coach" Pantusso on "Cheers." The role earned Colasanto three Best Supporting Actor nominations shortly before his death from heart failure in 1985. In the final scene of the series, in 1993, bar owner Sam Malone (Ted Danson) took a moment to straighten a photo of the Indian chief Geronimo on the bar's back wall: the photo had been a memento that Colasanto kept in his dressing room on the Cheers set, which was added to the bar's decor after his death.
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