Family & Companions
Tough but soft-hearted, this imposing supporting player gives off the same "dese, dem and dose" aura as the earlier William Bendix and Sheldon Leonard. Pastorelli was heading for a career as a truck driver or a boxer when a serious car accident made him re-think his goals and enter acting. He started onstage in the 1970s, playing off-Broadway in "Death of a Salesman," "Bus Stop," "The Rainmaker," "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" and others before heading west to act on TV.
He made his small-screen debut guesting on "Barney Miller" and soon began turning up on such shows as "Mary," "Beauty and the Beast," "MacGyver," "The A-Team," "Miami Vice" and "Hill Street Blues." From 1988-1995, he played his star-making part, Eldin Bernecky, Candice Bergen's ever-present housepainter and hip confidante, on "Murphy Brown" (CBS). In 1995, Pastorelli starred in his own short-lived sitcom as a bicycle messenger in "Double Rush" (CBS), also produced by Diane English.
His TV-movie roles have shown a great deal of versatility. Of course, he started with bits in "Diner" (CBS, 1983), "I Married a Centerfold" (NBC, 1984) and "California Girls" (ABC, 1985). But after his "Murphy Brown" fame, Pastorelli began getting good character parts. He was a nasty bounty hunter in "Robin Cook's 'Harmful Intent'" (CBS, 1993), Jean Smart's schizophrenic husband in the heart-warming "Yarn Princess" (ABC, 1994) and was in the ensemble of Ernest Thompson's all-star "West Side Waltz" (CBS, 1995).
Pastorelli's breakthrough film role was as a frontiersman driving Kevin Costner across the country in 1990's Oscar-winning "Dances With Wolves." Although he had made his debut alongside Bette Midler and Shelley Long in "Outrageous Fortune" (1987), he is perhaps better recalled as the hood from whom the undercover Eddie Murphy wants 2,000 American Express cards in the opening Detroit segment in "Beverly Hills Cop II" (also 1987). Other credits include providing the voice of Tony in "FernGully: The Last Rainforest" (1992), playing Whoopi Goldberg's manager in "Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit" (1993) and co-starring as a former victim of Arnold Schwarzenegger in "Eraser" (1996). Also in 1996, he co-starred as one of the reporters trying to disprove the angelic credentials of John Travolta's "Michael" in Nora Ephron's successful film. Pastorelli continued to work on the big screen in the crime caper "The Asphalt Quintet" (lensed 1996) and the fantasy "A Simple Wish" (1997).
Cast (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Critically injured in automobile accident
Moved to Los Angeles
Film debut in "Outrageous Fortune"
Played Eldin Bernecky on the popular CBS sitcom, "Murphy Brown" (CBS)
Breakthrough film role, as Timmons the mule driver in "Dances With Wolves"
Starred in short-lived CBS sitcom, "Double Rush"
Co-starred in hit film "Michael"
Returned to series TV in the title role of the ABC detective drama "Cracker", based on the British series
Portrayed sailor Luther Billis in the ABC remake of "South Pacific", featuring Glenn Close as Nellie Forbush
Had co-starring role in the CBS movie "The Ballad of Lucy Whipple", executive produced and starring Glenn Close