Vincent Gardenia


Actor

About

Also Known As
Vincente Scognamiglio
Birth Place
Naples, IT
Born
January 07, 1920
Died
December 09, 1992
Cause of Death
Heart Attack

Biography

Short, stocky character player whose furrowed brow, hawk nose and hearty manner made him an instantly recognizable figure on stage, screen and TV from the late 1950s. Starting as a professional actor in his mid-30s, Gardenia played supporting roles on Broadway in "Volpone" (1957), "Only in America" (1959) and "Seidman and Son" (1962) and in films including "The Hustler" (1961, playing a ...

Notes

Gardenia has also received two Oscar nominations as Best Supporting Actor for his work in "Bang the Drum Slowly" (1973) and "Moonstruck" (1987) and a Tony nomination as Outstanding Actor in a Musical for Michael Bennett's "Ballroom" (1979).

Biography

Short, stocky character player whose furrowed brow, hawk nose and hearty manner made him an instantly recognizable figure on stage, screen and TV from the late 1950s. Starting as a professional actor in his mid-30s, Gardenia played supporting roles on Broadway in "Volpone" (1957), "Only in America" (1959) and "Seidman and Son" (1962) and in films including "The Hustler" (1961, playing a bartender) and "Mad Dog Coll" (1961, playing Dutch Schultz). He won a Tony for his performance in Neil Simon's "The Prisoner of Second Avenue" in 1972 and earned a New York Film Critics Award and his first Oscar nomination as the baseball team manager in "Bang the Drum Slowly" (1973). His second nomination came as Cher's philandering father in "Moonstruck" (1987).

Gardenia appeared in many other Simon plays including "God's Favorite," in a role written specially for him by the playwright. He is perhaps best known as Archie Bunker's loquacious, ever-singing, culinary buff neighbor Frank Lorenzo on the CBS perennial, "All in the Family."

Gardenia spent a considerable portion of his career playing huffy but good-hearted police officers, detectives, and station captains in TV movies including "Cops" (1973), "Muggable Mary: Street Cop" (1982), "The Dark Mirror" (1984) and "Brass" (1985), and films such as "Heaven Can Wait" (1978). His final film appearance was as the father of Joe Pesci in "The Super" (1991).

Life Events

1924

Family emigrated to the US when Gardenia was two; settled in Brooklyn (date approximate)

1927

Played first (amateur) stage role at age five at the Fifth Avenue Theatre in Brooklyn, a shoeshine boy in "Shoe Shine"

1945

Appeared in a bit part as one of the trainee spies in "The House on 92nd Street"; uncredited

1956

Enjoyed a career breakthrough with the role of Piggy in the off-Broadway production of "The Man with the Golden Arm"

1958

Returned to feature films; played first notable film role in "Cop Hater"

1958

First acted on Broadway in "The Visit"

1983

Played J. Edgar Hoover in the NBC mini-series, "Kennedy"

1987

Was featured as Cher's father in "Moonstruck"

1992

Was appearing onstage in "Breaking Legs" in Philadelphia at the time of his death

Videos

Movie Clip

Trailer

Family

Gennaro Gardenia Scognamiglio
Father
Actor, singer.
Elisa Scognamiglio
Mother

Bibliography

Notes

Gardenia has also received two Oscar nominations as Best Supporting Actor for his work in "Bang the Drum Slowly" (1973) and "Moonstruck" (1987) and a Tony nomination as Outstanding Actor in a Musical for Michael Bennett's "Ballroom" (1979).