Jon Polito


Actor

About

Also Known As
Jon Raymond Polito
Birth Place
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Born
December 29, 1950
Died
September 01, 2016

Biography

Renowned for portraying figures on both sides of the law, prolific character actor Jon Polito racked up over 220 screen credits, most notably five Coen brothers pictures and a recurring role on "Homicide: Life on the Street" (NBC, 1993-99). Born in Philadelphia, PA in 1950, Polito studied Theater at Villanova University before moving to New York to further his stage career, going on to w...

Biography

Renowned for portraying figures on both sides of the law, prolific character actor Jon Polito racked up over 220 screen credits, most notably five Coen brothers pictures and a recurring role on "Homicide: Life on the Street" (NBC, 1993-99). Born in Philadelphia, PA in 1950, Polito studied Theater at Villanova University before moving to New York to further his stage career, going on to win an OBIE Award for his off-Broadway work in 1980. Polito made his on-screen debut as real-life mafia co-founder Thomas Lucchese in miniseries "The Gangster Chronicles" (NBC, 1981), and a year later played Det. Sporaco in murder mystery "The Clairvoyant" (1982), two roles which ultimately laid the groundwork for much of his TV and film career. After portraying Willy's boss Harold in an award-winning TV movie adaptation of "Death of a Salesman" (1985) starring Dustin Hoffman, Polito played authority figures in fantasy epic "Highlander" (1986), romantic drama "Fire with Fire" (1986) and martial arts police procedural "Ohara" (ABC, 1987-88), and villains in TV movie "A Deadly Business" (1986) and the critically-acclaimed "Crime Story" (NBC, 1986-88), the latter as Chicago crime lord Phil Bartoli. After appearing alongside Marlon Brando in "The Freshman" (1990), Polito forged a fruitful working relationship with the Coen brothers when he was cast as highly-strung Prohibition era mobster Johnny Caspar in "Miller's Crossing" (1990). Polito would go on to appear in a further four Coen movies, playing Hollywood lackey Lou Breeze in "Barton Fink" (1991), eccentric businessman Mr. Bumstead in "The Hudsucker Proxy" (1994), private investigator Da Fino in "The Big Lebowski" (1998) and dry-cleaning salesman Creighton Tolliver in "The Man Who Wasn't There" (2001). During this period, Polito also enjoyed supporting roles in superhero pictures "The Rocketeer" (1991) and "Blankman" (1994), behind bars dramas "Girls in Prison" (1994) and "The Green Mile" (1999) and family movies "Fluke" (1995) and "Stuart Little" (1999). Polito also made several guest appearances on "Seinfeld" (NBC, 1989-1998), "Dream On" (HBO, 1990-96) and "Early Edition" (CBS, 1996-2000), and played veteran Det. Steve Crosetti in "Homicide: Life on the Street" (NBC, 1993-99) for two seasons before being permanently written out following a dispute with the show's producers. Polito remained just as prolific throughout the following decade, landing the recurring roles of newspaper editor Donald Stern in short-lived "The Chronicle" (Sci-Fi Channel, 2001-02) and Judge Dominick Ventimiglia in legal drama "Raising the Bar" (TNT, 2008-09), enjoying supporting parts in "The Singing Detective" (2003), "Flags of Our Fathers" (2006) and "American Gangster" (2007) and showing up in over a dozen popular series including "Gilmore Girls" (The CW, 2000-07), "Desperate Housewives" (ABC, 2004-2012) and "Two and a Half Men" (CBS, 2003-2015). Polito then returned to familiar territory as Mafia member Jack Dragna in "Gangster Squad" (2013) before playing another real life figure, impresario Enrico Banducci, in "Big Eyes" (2014), guesting as Jay's rival Earl Chambers in "Modern Family" (ABC, 2009-) and making his final on-screen appearance in "Comedy Bang! Bang!" (IFC, 2012-16). In 2016 Polito died of complications from cancer in Duarte, CA aged 65.

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

Big Eyes (2014)
Locker 13 (2014)
Gangster Squad (2013)
Batman: Year One (2011)
Commissioner Loeb
Atlas Shrugged Part 1 (2011)
The Last Godfather (2011)
Burning Palms (2011)
Super Capers (2009)
Rock Monster (2008)
Bart Got a Room (2008)
Short Order (2008)
Wedding Bros (2008)
Happily N'Ever After (2007)
Voice
American Gangster (2007)
Big Nothing (2007)
Flags of Our Fathers (2006)
Grilled (2006)
The Honeymooners (2005)
The Last Shot (2004)
29 Palms (2003)
The Box (2003)
The Singing Detective (2003)
Second Hood
Women vs. Men (2002)
The Man Who Wasn't There (2001)
Creighton Tolliver
View from the Top (2001)
Tailor of Panama (2001)
Inside Out (2000)
Homicide: The Movie (2000)
The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (2000)
Nowhere Land (2000)
Road Kill (1999)
Jelly
Angel's Dance (1999)
The Apartment Complex (1999)
Stuart Little (1999)
The Defenders: Choice of Evils (1998)
Al Orsini
With Friends Like These (1998)
The Big Lebowski (1998)
Music from Another Room (1998)
Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco (1996)
Voice
Bushwhacked (1995)
Fluke (1995)
The Shaggy Dog (1994)
Girls in Prison (1994)
Blankman (1994)
The Hudsucker Proxy (1994)
Flodder in Amerika (1993)
The Contenders (1992)
Pedro Perusia
The Rocketeer (1991)
Barton Fink (1991)
Leather Jackets (1991)
Fat Jack
Miller's Crossing (1990)
The Freshman (1990)
Homeboy (1988)
Alone in the Neon Jungle (1988)
Highlander (1986)
Fire with Fire (1986)
A Deadly Business (1986)
Dream Lover (1986)
Dr James
Death of a Salesman (1985)
Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins (1985)
Compromising Positions (1985)
C.H.U.D. (1984)
Running Out (1983)
Joe Poswalsky
The Killing Hour (1981)
Sporaco

Cast (Special)

TV Road Trip: New York (2003)
Livin' Large (1989)
Sal
Death and Taxes (1989)

Cast (TV Mini-Series)

Gone, But Not Forgotten (2006)
The Shrink Is In (2001)
Robin Cook's Invasion (1997)
Money Plays (1996)
The Invaders (1995)

Life Events

1976

Off-Broadway debut in "The Transfiguration of Benno Blimpie"

1977

Broadway debut as understudy to Kenneth McMillan in David Mamet's "American Buffalo" opposite Robert Duvall

1981

TV series debut, "The Gangster Chronicles"

1981

Film debut, "The Killing Hour"

1982

Appeared opposite Faye Dunaway on Broadway in "Curse of the Aching Heart"

1994

Acted in "The Hudsucker Proxy", directed by the Coen brothers

1997

Had supporting role in the NBC TV miniseries "Robin Cook's Invasion"

1998

Reteamed with the Coens for "The Big Lebowski"

2001

Played the editor in chief of the titular newspaper in "The Chronicle", a Sci-Fi Channel series

2002

Co-starred in the ABC drama mystery series "Push, Nevada"

2004

Appeared with Matthew Broderick in the comedy "The Last Shot"

2007

Played Rossi in the film "American Gangster"

2010

Appeared in the comedy "The Last Godfather"

2013

Played Dragna in the period crime thriller "Gangster Squad"

2014

Appeared in the Tim Burton film "Big Eyes"

2016

Guest starred on an episode of the series "Major Crimes"

Bibliography