Family & Companions
Born in Austria and raised in Italy until age seven, actor Danny Nucci possessed dark Mediterranean good looks and an international air that were tempered by a decidedly American appeal, making him a viable choice for a wide variety of roles. Hired no doubt due to his assured, confident presence and notable experience as well as his fitting looks, the actor proved a capable addition to many projects. Nucci moved with his family from Italy to Queens, New York in the mid-1970s, unable to speak any English. More than 20 years later and after 15 years as a working actor, he would need to recapture his early Italian accent reaching his largest audience to date with a supporting performance as Fabrizio, the gambling partner, traveling companion and friend to Leonardo DiCaprio's Jack Dawson in James Cameron's epic "Titanic" (1997).
At age 14, two years after the Nuccis headed west to California's San Fernando Valley, he began his acting career with a role on ABC's long-running daytime drama "General Hospital." By 1985, Nucci had landed guest roles on series like "Hell Town" and "Mr. Belvedere" and had made his film debut with a bit part in the River Phoenix and Ethan Hawke starrer "Explorers." Generally portraying a stereotypical bully or a street tough with a soft heart, he racked up a good deal of guest credits on television while steadily raising his profile in film.
The 80s saw the actor focusing on TV work, appearing quite frequently in guest roles on series, making his face a familiar one in many American homes. A turn in a memorable 1986 episode of the CBS remake "The Twilight Zone" saw the young actor portray one of three boys who kidnaps a leprechaun only to have him grant their wishes with most unpleasant results. Also that year, he amassed several TV-movie credits, playing a street kid in ABC's "The Children of Times Square," and taking a featured role in the high school vigilante drama "Brotherhood of Justice" (also ABC) before lightening things up with a turn in the NBC comedy "Combat High." While he had a starring role in the pilot of the 1986 NBC sitcom "Dads," his part was reassigned to another actor for the rest of the series' short run. Fans of the ABC sitcom "Growing Pains" may remember Nucci's guest turn that same year as the harsh, squeaky-voiced manager who runs World of Burgers and rules over employees including rascally Mike Seaver (Kirk Cameron) with an iron fist. In 1987 Nucci starred in the CBS TV-movie drama "An Enemy Among Us," a production initially meant to be a "CBS Schoolbreak Special," but aired instead in primetime. He played a high school student exposed to the AIDS virus who finds that the pain of discrimination comes along with his stigmatized condition. He joined the regular cast of "Falcon Crest" for the 1988-1989 season, again portraying a discriminated against character as Gabriel Ortega, a young Latino in the blue-blooded world of Napa Valley. He followed this stint with guest roles on the series "Tour of Duty" (CBS), "Equal Justice" (ABC), "Quantum Leap" and "Ferris Bueller" (both NBC) in 1990.
After missing out on what would likely have been his big break when he narrowly lost a starring role in Rob Reiner's modern classic "Stand By Me" (1986), Nucci returned to the big screen in 1990 with a supporting turn in "Book of Love." Similar to "Stand By Me" as it was a coming of age story set in the 1950s and named after a popular song from the era, "Book of Love" distinguished itself from Reiner's effort by being quite uninspired and forgettable, and did little to further the actor's career. He managed to emerge virtually unscathed and appeared in the equally unremarkable high school comedy "Rescue Me" (1991) before reteaming with Ethan Hawke in the gripping survival drama "Alive" (1993), a fact-based look at a South American soccer team stranded in the Andes following a plane crash. More film work followed, with featured roles in the independents "Rooster" (1993) and "Homage" (1995). 1995 saw the actor take the first in a series of supporting turns in big budget action films, playing a military sonar officer in the cold war thriller "Crimson Tide" before portraying both a Navy SEAL in Michael Bay's "The Rock" and a US Marshal in the Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle "Eraser" the following year. Also in 1996. Nucci proved himself in the noirish independent "The Big Squeeze," heating up the screen as a gardener in love with an unhappily married woman (Lara Flynn Boyle). He was less sympathetic as a paparazzo stalking an actress (Bette Midler) who reunites with her long estranged ex-husband (Dennis Farina) at their daughter's wedding in Carl Reiner's "That Old Feeling" (1997). Later that year, virtually every moviegoer would witness Nucci's engaging performance as Fabrizio in the multi-Oscar-winner "Titanic." He followed up with a more challenging role in the independent "The Unknown Cyclist" (1998) playing a sexually ambivalent alcoholic who, as per his best friend's dying wish, takes part in the grueling West Coast Cycle for AIDS along with the deceased's ex-wife, lover and brother. Nucci was next featured alongside Stephen Baldwin, Claudia Schiffer and Robert Downey Jr. in the ensemble of 1999's little seen "Friends and Lovers." Rarely short of work, he consistently appeared in small independents, including "The Outfitters," starring as a New Mexican cowboy in this 1999 Sundance screened feature.
Nucci returned to the small screen in 1999 with a starring regular role on the ABC detective series "Snoops." From the pen of celebrated TV creator David E Kelley, and boasting a cast featuring hot Hollywood actress Gina Gershon, the highly stylized "Snoops" stood apart from other genre shows, and was marketed as a high tech, high attitude "Charlie's Angels" for the new millennium. Nucci portrayed Manny Lott, the team's snarky resident technical wizard. While the series only lasted for 13 episodes, Nucci did gain from it; he and co-star Paula Marshall fell in love.
Cast (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Moved with family from Italy to Queens, New York at age seven, unable to speak any English (date approximate)
Relocated to California's San Fernando Valley at age 12 (date approximate)
Made professional acting debut at age 14 in an episode of the ABC daytime drama "General Hospital" (date approximate)
First appeared on the big screen with a bit part as 'Nasty Kid at School' in the preteen adventure film "Explorers", starring River Phoenix and Ethan Hawke
Guest starred on episodes of "Hell Town" (NBC) and "Mr. Belvedere" (ABC)
Starred in the pilot of the comedy series "Dads", but was replaced in the role by Eddie Castrodad for the series' short run
Had featured roles in the ABC TV-movie dramas "The Children of Times Square" (directed by Curtis Hanson) and "Brotherhood of Justice" (alongside Kiefer Sutherland and Keanu Reeves), additionally appeared in the NBC comedy telepic "Combat High"
Played Scooter, Mike Seaver's harsh supervisor at World of Burgers, in an episode of the ABC hit sitcom "Growing Pains"
Starred in an episode of CBS' remake series "The Twilight Zone", playing one of three boys who kidnaps a leprechaun and suffers harsh consequences in the form of granted wishes
Starred in the CBS TV-movie "An Enemy Among Us", playing a high school student exposed to AIDS who suffers subsequent discrimination and social displacement
TV series debut as regular, "Falcon Crest" (CBS), played teenage Hispanic
Guest starred on episodes of the series "Tour of Duty" (CBS), "Equal Justice" (ABC), "Quantum Leap" and "Ferris Bueller" (both NBC)
Had a featured role as Spider Bomboni in the coming of age comedy "Book of Love"
Sworn in as US citizen
Appeared in the action packed high school comedy "Rescue Me"
Portrayed a South American soccer player stranded in the Andes following a plane crash in the fact-based "Alive", marking his second feature with Ethan Hawke
Starred as the rebellious son of a breeder of fighting cocks in the little seen independent "Rooster"
Guest starred on an episode of the ABC police drama "The Commish" as a prime murder suspect championed by a local priest
Had featured role as a jailer in the independent drama "Homage"
Portrayed a military sonar officer in the popular actioner "Crimson Tide"
Had a featured role as a US Marshal in the Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle "Eraser"
Played a lovesick gardener drafted into a hustler's scheme in the noirish independent "The Big Squeeze"
Appeared as a Navy SEAL in Michael Bay's big-budget action adventure "The Rock"
Relearned his long dropped Italian accent to play Fabrizio, Jack Dawson's Italian gambling partner and traveling companion, in James Cameron's epic "Titanic"
Was featured in the Carl Reiner comedy "That Old Feeling", as a paparazzo stalking an actress (Bette Midler) at her daughter's wedding
Starred in "The Unknown Cyclist" as a man granting his best friend's dying wish by joining the deceased's lover, ex-wife and brother in the grueling West Coast Cycle for AIDS; screened at festivals and later sold for airing on cable
Starred as a New Mexican cowboy in the feature "The Outfitters", screened at Sundance Film Festival
Played a gay virgin in the independent ensemble film "Friends and Lovers"
Returned to series work as co-star of "Some of My Best Friends" (CBS), based on the film "Kiss Me, Guido"