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Tony Franciosa

Tony Franciosa

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Also Known As: Anthony George Papaleo Jr., Tony Franciosa Died: January 19, 2006
Born: October 25, 1928 Cause of Death: massive stroke
Birth Place: New York City, New York, USA Profession: actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A handsome, forceful, compact leading man of Italian descent with an easy, lithe manner and walk and an aggressive, sly quality not unlike Burt Lancaster, Franciosa first established himself on stage with a powerful turn as the brother of a drug addict in Michael V Gazzo's play "A Hatful of Rain" (1956). Hollywood beckoned and in 1957 he had roles in four prominent features: a nightclub owner in "This Could Be the Night", an unethical personal manager in Elia Kazan's "A Face in the Crowd", a hired man who falls for his boss' wife in "Wild Is the Wind" and recreating his stage triumph in Fred Zinnemann's film version of "A Hatful of Rain", for which he earned a Best Actor Oscar nomination. The actor was miscast as a weak Southerner in "The Long Hot Summer" (1958) but delivered a strong portrayal of a struggling actor in "Career" (1959). Franciosa was a member of The Actors Studio and belonged to a generation of intense Italian-American actors (e.g., Ben Gazzara, Harry Guardino) who came along too early to become movie stars in the way Al Pacino and Robert De Niro did some fifteen years later. Franciosa had a good role as an alcoholic defense attorney defending a woman (Rita Hayworth) and her lover...

A handsome, forceful, compact leading man of Italian descent with an easy, lithe manner and walk and an aggressive, sly quality not unlike Burt Lancaster, Franciosa first established himself on stage with a powerful turn as the brother of a drug addict in Michael V Gazzo's play "A Hatful of Rain" (1956). Hollywood beckoned and in 1957 he had roles in four prominent features: a nightclub owner in "This Could Be the Night", an unethical personal manager in Elia Kazan's "A Face in the Crowd", a hired man who falls for his boss' wife in "Wild Is the Wind" and recreating his stage triumph in Fred Zinnemann's film version of "A Hatful of Rain", for which he earned a Best Actor Oscar nomination. The actor was miscast as a weak Southerner in "The Long Hot Summer" (1958) but delivered a strong portrayal of a struggling actor in "Career" (1959).

Franciosa was a member of The Actors Studio and belonged to a generation of intense Italian-American actors (e.g., Ben Gazzara, Harry Guardino) who came along too early to become movie stars in the way Al Pacino and Robert De Niro did some fifteen years later. Franciosa had a good role as an alcoholic defense attorney defending a woman (Rita Hayworth) and her lover (Gig Young) accused of murder in Clifford Odets' "Story on Page One" (1960) and nearly stole "Rio Conchos" (1964), taking on Richard Boone. He also had a good shot with "Across 110th Street" (1972), but most of his films of the 60s and, to a lesser extent, the 70s, were either standard action fare or films which spotlighted major stars. Franciosa landed his first major film role in 20 years as a Mafia don in Harold Becker's "City Hall" (1996).

The actor's good-humored and sexy but sometimes flashy and explosive personality made him ideal for devil-may-care heroes on several TV series. Both "Valentine's Day" (ABC, 1964-1965), in which he was a suave publishing executive, and "Matt Helm" (ABC, 1975-1976), which was too derivative, were short-lived. Franciosa is perhaps better recalled for his turn as an investigative reporter in "The Name of the Game" (NBC, 1968-71) and as a security agent in "Search" (NBC, 1972-73). He returned to series in "Finder of Lost Loves" (ABC, 1984-85), which saw the actor playing a wealthy widower who helped people track down their former lovers (before daytime talk shows began doing the same thing). Franciosa has also starred in numerous TV-movies like "Deadly Hunt" (CBS, 1971), as a man caught in a forest fire while being chased by two assassins, and "Earth II" (ABC, 1971), wherein he headed a futuristic space station. More frequently, he was cast as mobsters, albeit with a veneer of class, as in "Blood Vows: The Story of a Mafia Wife" (NBC, 1987).

Over his career, he has been billed as both 'Anthony' and 'Tony'. Franciosa was married to actress Shelley Winters from 1957 to 1960.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 City Hall (1996) Paul Zapatti
2.
 Double Threat (1992) Crocker Scott
3.
4.
 Backstreet Dreams (1990) Angelo Carnevale
5.
 Death House (1989) Vic Moretti
6.
 Death Wish II (1982) La Police Commissioner
7.
 Sotto gli occhi dell'Assassino (1982) Peter Neal
8.
 Aiutami a sognare (1981) Ray
9.
 Firepower (1979) "Dr Felix"--Carl Stegner
10.
 World Is Full Of Married Men, The (1979) David Cooper
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1953:
Made Broadway debut in "End as a Man"; appeared alongside Ben Gazzara
1956:
Received Tony nomination as Featured Actor in a Drama for a breakthrough role on Broadway in "A Hatful of Rain"; co-starred opposite future wife Shelley Winters and Gazzara
1957:
Entered feature films with "This Could Be the Night"
1957:
Recreated his stage role in the film version of "A Hatful of Rain"; received Best Actor Oscar nomination
1959:
Had one of his best screen roles as a struggling actor in "Career"
1966:
Made TV-movie debut in "Fame Is the Name of the Game" (NBC)
1972:
Played agent Nick Bianco opposite Hugh O'Brian on the NBC spy drama, "Search"
:
Was the "Finder of Lost Loves" (ABC)
1995:
Toured with Loretta Swit in the stage production "Love Letters"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Actors Studio: New York , New York -

Notes

"Tony has a smile that cuts through you." --"City Hall" director Harold Becker to PEOPLE, March 18, 1996

"I went to Hollywood in the mid-50s, and I would say I went out there a little too early. It was an incredible amount of attention, and I wasn't quite mature enough psychologically and emotionally for [it]." --Anthony Franciosa in DAILY NEWS, February 19, 1996

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Beatrice Bakalyar. Writer. Married in 1952; divorced in 1957.
wife:
Shelley Winters. Actor. Married May 4, 1957 in Reno, Nevada; divorced in 1960.
companion:
Ava Gardner. Actor.
companion:
Silvana Mangano. Actor.
wife:
Judy Kanter. Real estate agent. Married in 1962; divorced c. 1968.
wife:
Rita Franciosa. Former model. German; met in 1967; married on November 27, 1970.
VIEW COMPLETE COMPANION LISTING

Family close complete family listing

father:
Anthony Papaleo Sr. Construction worker. Divorced Franciosa's mother c. 1929.
mother:
Jean Papaleo. Seamstress. Divorced Franciosa's father c. 1929.
daughter:
Nina Franciosa. Mortgage consultant. Born 1964; mother, Judy Balaban Kanter.
son:
Christopher Franciosa. Actor, playwright. Born c. 1968; mother, Rita Thiel.
son:
Marco Franciosa. Volunteer with AmeriCares; born c. 1972.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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