Family & Companions
A native New Yorker who managed to avoid the ethnic typecasting that limited so many other actors with similar backgrounds, Bobby Cannavale was an Emmy Award-winning actor known for procedural TV dramas as well as big screen comedy and numerous Broadway accomplishments. Some of Cannavale's best-known roles found him in uniform like FDNY paramedic Bobby Caffey on "Third Watch" (NBC, 1999-2005), boss of "Paul Blart: Mall Cop" (2009), and his Emmy-winning guest appearances as Will's cop boyfriend on "Will & Grace" (NBC, 1998-2006). But while he certainly scored as "regular Joes" - including his charming work in the indie favorite "The Station Agent" (2003) - he easily adapted into a wide range of characters and consistently enjoyed cross-medium success that few actors could match. In fact, he translated his easygoing appeal across a wide spectrum of projects like "Snakes on a Plane" (2005) and "Fast Food Nation" (2006), while also appearing steadily on stage with roles in "Mauritius" (2008), "The Talk" (2008) and "The Motherf**ker with the Hat" (2011). Aside from indie features and stage roles, he landed parts in major blockbusters like "Tower Heist" (2011) and had memorable recurring roles on critically acclaimed series like "Boradwalk Empire" (HBO 2010-14) and "Nurse Jackie" (Showtime, 2009-2015) before starring in Martin Scorsese's '70s-set record industry drama "Vinyl" (HBO 2016) and joining the cast of cult favorite "Mr. Robot" (USA 2015- ) for its third season. Whether his role was large or small, Cannavale always delivered standout performances that garnered the actor considerable attention.
Cannavale was born on May 3, 1970 to a Cuban mother and Italian father in Union City, NJ. His strict, yet supportive mother made sure her son stayed out of trouble, making him participate in as many extracurricular activities at St. Michael's Catholic School as possible. But domestic trouble arose in the Cannavale household and his parents divorced. At age 13, Cannavale moved to Puerto Rico with his mother for two years. He later moved to Miami where he attended high school, then went back to New Jersey to live with his grandmother. After high school, Cannavale joined the prestigious Circle Repertory Theatre for several years, doing whatever he could to get his chance to perform. He started by sweeping floors, then served as a reader for plays being prepared for production, and was finally asked to be an understudy in the French farce, "A Flea in Her Ear." Cannavale was asked to fill in for lead Mark-Linn Baker and had, according to the actor, the best experience of his life.
His performance in "A Flea in Her Ear" led to him being cast in "Most Fabulous Story Ever Told" by scribe Paul Rudnick. A casting director for Warner Bros. brought famed television writer-director-producer John Wells to the play. Wells enjoyed Cannavale's performance so much that he cast him on the short-lived NBC drama "Trinity" (1998-99). The series was cancelled after one season, but Cannavale maintained a strong relationship with Wells, who created the roll of Bobby Caffey for the actor on his next series, "Third Watch." After three seasons on the popular NBC drama about police, paramedics and firefighters in New York City, Cannavale's character was killed off after he requested to leave the show. He moved on to the A+E series, "100 Centre Street" (A&E, 2001-02), a drama that recounted stories of Manhattan-based prosecutors, judges and defense attorneys. However, Cannavale did not restrict himself to television. He made brief appearances in several feature films, including "I'm Not Rappaport" (1996) and "Night Falls on Manhattan" (1997), directed by future father-in-law Sidney Lumet. (Cannavale would go on to marry Jenny Lumet, daughter to Sidney and granddaughter to Lena Horne). Cannavale next played Randy in the massive comedic misfire "The Guru" (2002), co-starring Heather Graham and Jimi Mistry, as well as appearing in the critically acclaimed indie "Washington Heights" (2001), followed by a recurring stint on the final season of "Ally McBeal" (Fox, 1997-2002).
It was not until "The Station Agent" (2003), written and directed by actor friend Tom McCarthy, that Cannavale was given the chance to sink his teeth into a major film role. Cannavale played the fast-talking, but perpetually lonely Joe Oramas, a hotdog vendor who pesters Finbar McBride (Peter Dinklage), a dwarf seeking total isolation at an abandoned train depot, into a grudging friendship. Co-starring Patricia Clarkson, "The Station Agent" won the coveted Audience Award at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival, as well as the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award and the Special Jury Prize for Outstanding Performance for Clarkson.
Cannavale's profile continued to rise with his roles on the NBC gangster family miniseries "Kingpin" (2003), an Emmy Award-winning guest stint as Will Truman's cop boyfriend Vince on the hit sitcom "Will & Grace," and a guest role on HBO's "Six Feet Under" (HBO, 2001-05). He returned to the big screen in John Turturro's murder musical, "Romance and Cigarettes" (2004), and played Jennifer Lopez's homophobic dance student in "Shall We Dance" (2004). Cannavale's co-starring role in the romantic comedy "Happy Endings" (2005) was little-seen, but in the following year, he showed extraordinary range with roles in Armistead Maupin's psychological mystery, "The Night Listener;" the character-based indie "10 Items or Less;" and the hugely hyped horror film, "Snakes on a Plane." In addition to his feature work, Cannavale regularly revisited procedural dramas like "Law & Order" (NBC, 1990-2010) and "Cold Case" (CBS, 2003-2010), while appearing in supporting roles in indie films ranging from the comedy "The Ten" (2007) to the gritty urban heist flick "The Take" (2007).
The stage veteran hit Broadway in 2008, co-starring in a production of "Mauritius" that earned him a Tony nomination for Featured Actor in a Play. The same year, he appeared off-Broadway in the premiere of Frank Pugliese's "The Talk" and in the under-the-radar feature "Diminished Capacity" (2008), starring Matthew Broderick. He once again donned a police uniform for the horror flick "100 Feet" (2008) then sent up his frequent "man in uniform" image by playing a mall cop alongside comic actor Kevin James in the hit comedy, "Paul Blart: Mall Cop" (2009). Fresh off the success of this unlikely hit, Cannavale returned to primetime in the spring of 2009 as the matchmaking mental patient lead of the series, "Cupid" (ABC, 2009). Following a small supporting role opposite Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg in the action comedy "The Other Guys" (2010), Cannavale landed an episode of "Blue Bloods" (CBS, 2010- ), and starred on Broadway opposite Chris Rock and Annabelle Sciorra in "The Motherf**ker with the Hat" (2010), which earned him a Tony Award nomination for Best Leading Actor. From there, he was Ron Eldard's high school nemesis in "Roadie" (2011) and had a small part in the hit caper comedy "Tower Heist" (2011), starring Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy. Back on television, he had a recurring role on "Nurse Jackie" (Showtime, 2009-2014) as a new physician at All Saints' Hospital, which earned him an Emmy nomination for guest actor in 2012, and delivered a chilling turn as gangster Gyp Rosetti on Prohibition-era drama "Boardwalk Empire" (HBO 2010-14). Following impressive big-screen performances in Woody Allen's "Blue Jasmine" (2013), the Jon Favreau comedy-drama "Chef" (2014) and blockbusters "Spy" (2015) and "Ant-Man" (2015), Cannavale returned to television in the starring role of struggling record executive Richie Finestra in the Martin Scorsese-produced drama "Vinyl" (HBO 2016). Though the series was heavily hyped, it received largely negative reviews and low ratings, and was canceled after a single season. Cannavale next joined the cast of cult-favorite cable series "Mr. Robot" (USA 2015- ) for its third season.
Cast (Feature Film)
Music (Feature Film)
Misc. Crew (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Feature film debut, "I'm Not Rappaport"
First collaboration with Sidney Lumet, small role in "Night Falls on Manhattan"
Cast in lead role in Williamstown staging of Paul Rudnick's comedy "The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told"
Cast in recurring role on short-lived NBC drama "Trinity"
Appeared in Broadway revival of "A Flea in Her Ear" as understudy who went on for an ill Mark Linn-Baker
Landed supporting role in Lumet directed remake of "Gloria," starring Sharon Stone
Cast in NBC's "Third Watch" as paramedic Bobby Caffrey; character killed off at actor's request to leave the series
Joined cast of Lumet directed A&E series "100 Centre Street"
Landed featured role in "The Guru"
Briefly appeared on HBO prison drama "Oz" as a gay drug dealer
Played Joe Oramas, a hotdog vendor in "The Station Agent"
Cast opposite Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez in "Shall We Dance"
Earned Emmy nomination for recurring role as Will's (Eric McCormack) boyfriend on NBC's "Will & Grace"
Co-starred in "Happy Endings," a comedic drama about the ups and downs of relationships
Cast in adaptation of Armistead Maupin's novel "The Night Listener"
Co-starred with Samuel L. Jackson in campy thriller "Snakes on a Plane"
Cast as part of an ensemble in "Fast Food Nation," Richard Linklater's adaptation of Eric Schlosser's non-fiction book
Appeared in John Turturro's "Romance & Cigarettes," starring James Gandolfini and Kate Winslet
Served as voice of Corado R. Ciarlo ("Babe") in Ken Burns's PBS film series "The War"
Co-starred in Broadway production of "Mauritius"; received Tony nomination for Featured Actor in a Play
Featured in Naked Angels' off-Broadway premiere of Frank Pugliese's "The Talk"
Appeared opposite Kevin James in "Paul Blart: Mall Cop"
Co-starred with Sarah Paulson on ABC romantic comedy "Cupid"
Played supporting role opposite Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell in buddy feature "The Other Guys"
Played titular character's (Ron Eldard) high school nemesis in "Roadie"
Co-starred on Broadway with Chris Rock and Annabella Sciorra in Stephen Adly Guirgis' "The Motherf*cker With the Hat"; earned Tony nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
Joined cast of Showtime's "Nurse Jackie" during fourth season
Played ruthless Prohibition-era gangster Gyp Rosetti on HBO's "Boardwalk Empire"
Cast opposite Jason Statham and Jennifer Lopez in crime thriller "Parker"
Appeared in Jon Favreau's "Chef"
Had a supporting role in Marvel's "Ant-Man"
Appeared on HBO's "Vinyl"
Joined season 3 of "Mr. Robot"
Co-starred in Jake Kasdan's "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle"