Joe Pantoliano

"Joey Pants" redirects here. For the Canadian politician, see Joe Pantalone.
Joe Pantoliano

Pantoliano at the Hudson Union Society event in February 2009
Born Joseph Peter Pantoliano
(1951-09-12) September 12, 1951
Hoboken, New Jersey, U.S.
Other names Joey Pants
Occupation Actor
Years active 1974–present
  • Morgan Kester (m. 1979–85)
  • Nancy Sheppard (m. 1994)
Children 4

Joseph Peter "Joe" Pantoliano (born September 12, 1951),[1] often referred to by his nickname "Joey Pants", is an American actor.

Pantoliano is best known for portraying Ralph Cifaretto in The Sopranos, Bob Keane in La Bamba, Cypher in The Matrix, Teddy in Memento, Francis Fratelli in The Goonies, Guido in Risky Business, Eddie Moscone in Midnight Run, and Caesar in Bound. He also played Deputy U.S. Marshal Cosmo Renfro in both The Fugitive and U.S. Marshals films.

Early life

Pantoliano was born in Hoboken, New Jersey, the son of Italian American parents Mary (née Centrella), a bookie and seamstress, and Dominic "Monk" Pantoliano, a hearse driver and factory foreman.[1][2][3] He attended HB Studio, and studied extensively with actors John Lehne and Herbert Berghof.[4]


Pantoliano aboard the USS John F. Kennedy during Fleet Week, 2005

He first grew to fame as "Guido the Killer Pimp" in Risky Business, and continued to rise in 1985 when he appeared as the villainous Francis Fratelli in teen classic The Goonies. He gained fame amongst a new generation as Cypher in the 1999 landmark sci-fi film The Matrix, and won an Emmy as Ralph Cifaretto in HBO's The Sopranos. Pantoliano is also known for his role as Eddie Moscone, the foul-mouthed, double-crossing bail bondsman, in the Robert De Niro comedy Midnight Run, as Captain Howard in Bad Boys and its sequel Bad Boys 2", as double-crossed mafioso Caesar in Bound, as John "Teddy" Gammell in Memento, and as investigative journalist Ben Urich in Mark Steven Johnson's 2003 Daredevil adaptation. He also played Deputy Marshal Cosmo Renfro in The Fugitive along with Tommy Lee Jones, and reprised the role in the sequel U.S. Marshals. He is known for his portrayals of criminals, criminal investigators, detectives, and forensic specialists with a wisecracking touch.

In 2003, Pantoliano replaced Stanley Tucci in the Broadway play Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune. That same year he won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for The Sopranos.[5]

In 2012, Joe Pantoliano stars as the eccentric pawn broker Oswald Oswald in the film adaptation of Wendy Mass's popular children's book Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life, written and directed by Tamar Halpern.[6] In 2013, he was cast as Yogi Berra in the Broadway production of Bronx Bombers,[7] but dropped out during rehearsals due to "creative differences".[8]

When not acting, Pantoliano also writes. He is the author of two memoirs: Who's Sorry Now: The True Story of a Stand-Up Guy and Asylum: Hollywood Tales From My Great Depression: Brain Dis-Ease, Recovery and Being My Mother's Son. In the latter, he writes about his addictions to alcohol, food, sex, Vicodin and Percocet before being diagnosed with clinical depression.[9]

Personal life

Pantoliano lives with his wife, former model Nancy Sheppard, and their four children.[10] He was introduced to his wife by his friend, actress Samantha Phillips.[11]

On October 9, 2007, Pantoliano announced on the National Alliance on Mental Illness blog that he has been suffering from clinical depression for the last decade, although he was only formally diagnosed recently. He claims that his recent film Canvas was what helped him come to terms with his depression. Rather than hide his struggle from the public, he has chosen to speak out about it to remove some of the stigmas that are commonly associated with mental illness. He founded a non-profit organization, "No Kidding, Me Too!",[12] to unite members of the entertainment industry in educating the public about mental illness. He is also dyslexic. The title comes from the response he’s heard all too often after divulging how mental illness affected him and his family. He’s also shot a documentary called No Kidding, Me Too!.[9]

After an episode in the Sopranos aired in which he brutally beat a young prostitute to death, during an interview he went on television and stated, "After the Episode aired a lot more women started hitting on me. I thought it was very revealing.."[13]



Year Title Role Notes
1974 Road Movie Mugger Credited as Joseph Pantoliano
For Pete's Sake Undercover Cop who arrests Mark credited
1980 The Idolmaker Gino Pilato
1982 Monsignor Pvt. Joe Musso
1983 The Final Terror Eggar
Risky Business Guido
Eddie and the Cruisers Doc Robbins
1985 The Mean Season Andy Porter
The Goonies Francis
1986 Running Scared Snake
1987 Scenes from the Goldmine Manny
La Bamba Bob Keane
The Squeeze Norman
Amazon Women on the Moon Sy Swerdlow Segment: "Hairlooming"
Empire of the Sun Frank Demarest
1988 The In Crowd Perry Parker
Midnight Run Eddie
1990 Ardouous Moon Short film
Downtown White
The Last of the Finest Wayne Gross
Short Time Scalese
Backstreet Dreams Paul Antangeli Uncredited
1991 Zandalee Gerri
1992 Used People Frank
1993 Three of Hearts Mickey
The Fugitive Deputy U.S. Marshal Cosmo Renfro
Calendar Girl Harvey Darpinian
Me and the Kid Roy
1994 Robot in the Family The Father
Teresa's Tattoo Bruno
Baby's Day Out Norby
1995 Bad Boys Captain Howard
Congo Eddie Ventro Uncredited
The Last Word Doc
Steal Big Steal Little Eddie Agopian, Ruben's Lawyer
The Immortals Pete Tunnell
1996 Fly Away Home Gordy
The Flight of the Dove Attorney Brezner
Bound Caesar
1997 Top of the World Vince Castor
Aliens Attack Captain Nevins
Tinseltown Arnie
1998 U.S. Marshals Deputy U.S. Marshal Cosmo Renfro
Hoods Charlie Flynn
1999 Taxman Al Benjamin
Forces of Nature Cab Driver Uncredited
The Matrix Cypher
Black and White Bill King
The Life Before This Jake Maclean
Olive, the Other Reindeer Martini Voice role
2000 Silver Man Norbert
Ready to Rumble Titus Sinclair
New Blood Hellman
Memento Teddy Gammell
A Better Way to Die Flash
2001 Cats & Dogs Peek Voice role
2002 A Call for Help Charlie
The Adventures of Pluto Nash Mogan
2003 Daredevil Ben Urich
Bad Boys II Captain Howard
2004 Second Best Elliot
Perfect Opposites Louis Carbonelli
The Easter Egg Adventure Terrible Timothy Takit Voice role
2005 Racing Stripes Goose Voice role
The Check Up The Inspector Short film
The Amateurs Some Idiot
2006 Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector Mayor M.T. Gunn
Wedding Daze Smitty
Canvas John Marino
Unknown Bound Man
2009 The Job Perriman
Deadly Impact David Kaplow
Falling Up George
2010 The Legend of Secret Pass Chucksta Voice
Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief Gabe Ugliano
Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore Peek Voice role
New York Street Games self Documentary
2011 Loosies Carl
Spring Break '83 Sergeant Coltrane
Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life Oswald Oswald III
2014 The Identical Avi Hirshberg
2016 The Perfect Match Marty

TV series

Year Title Role Notes
1977 McNamara's Band Frankie Milano TV movie
1978 Free Country Louis Peschi 3 episodes
1979 From Here to Eternity Pvt. Angelo Maggio Miniseries
1980 Alcatraz: The Whole Shocking Story Ray Neal Movie
1981, 1984 Hart to Hart Frank Tisdale / Nate Volkman 2 episodes
1981 M*A*S*H Cpl. Gerald Mullen/Josh Levin Episode: "Identity Crisis" (#10.2)
1982 Chicago Story Cooney Episode: "Who Needs the Truth?" (#1.12)
1983 Hardcastle and McCormick Teddy Hollins Episode: "The Crystal Duck" (#1.4)
1984 Mister Roberts Insignia Movie
Hill Street Blues Sonny Orsini 2 episodes
Trapper John, M.D. Michael Merrow Episode: "Where There's a Will" (#5.15)
Simon & Simon Carl Episode: "Who Killed the Sixties?" (#4.7)
1985 Robert Kennedy & His Times Roy Cohn Miniseries
1986 Amazing Stories Joe Episode: "One for the Road" (#1.15)
L.A. Law Rob Cavanaugh Pilot
1987 Destination America Lt. Mike Amico Movie
1988 Rock 'n' Roll Mom Ronnie Movie
1989 Nightbreaker Sgt. Jack Russell Movie
The Hitchhiker Brother Charles Episode: "Miracle of Alice Ames" (#5.7)
Tales from the Crypt Ulrich The Undying Episode: "Dig That cat...He's real gone" (#1.3)
1990 El Diablo Kid Durango Movie
1990–91 The Fanelli Boys Dominic Fanelli 19 episodes
1991 One Special Victory Daniel Movie
1992 Through the Eyes of a Killer Jerry Movie
Highlander: The Series Doctor Wilder Episode: "Deadly Medicine" (#1.8)
1994 Dangerous Heart Barclay Movie
Beethoven Sparky (voice) 12 episodes
1995 The Marshal Cameris Episode: "Unprotected Witness" (#1.12)
NYPD Blue Vinnie Greco 3 episodes
1996 Ed McBain's 87th Precinct: Ice Det. Meyer Meyer Movie
Life with Louie Jojo Stomopolous Voice
Arliss Vic Freed Episode: "The Client's Best Interest" (#1.9)
1996–97 EZ Streets Jimmy Murtha Recurring role
1997 Natural Enemy Stuart Movie
1998 Godzilla: The Series Animal Palotti (voice) Episode: "New Family" (Part 1)
Hercules King Pan Episode: "Hercules and the King for a Day"
The Lionhearts Director (voice) 5 episodes
1999 Sugar Hill Joe Pilot
The Outer Limits Stan Harbinger Episode: "Alien Radio" (#5.1)
2000–04 The Sopranos Ralph Cifaretto Recurring role
2001 Roswell Kal Langley 2 episodes
2003–04 The Handler Joe Renato Recurring role
2003 Gary the Rat Anthony 'the Heel' Stilletto (voice) Episode: "Sleeps with the Fishes" (#1.6)
2004–06 Dr. Vegas Tommy Danko Recurring role
2006 Deceit Anthony Movie
Waterfront James "Jimmy" Centrella Lead role
The Simpsons Dante (voice) Episode: "The Mook, the Chef, the Wife and Her Homer" (#18.1)
2011 How to Make it in America Felix DiFlorio 2 episodes
2015 Sense8 Michael Gorski Recurring role

Video games

Year Title Voice role Notes
2001 Majestic Tim Pritchard Episode 4
Grand Theft Auto III Luigi Goterelli From mission Luigi's Girl until mission Salvatore's Called a Meeting
2013 Call of Duty: Black Ops II Al "The Weasel" Arlington "Uprising" DLC, on the zombies map "Mob of the Dead"

Awards and nominations

Year Association Category Nominated work Result
1997 Saturn Awards Best Supporting Actor Bound Nominated
Television Critics Association Individual Achievement in Drama EZ Streets Nominated
Viewers for Quality Television Best Supporting Actor in a Quality Drama Series EZ Streets Nominated
2002 Screen Actors Guild Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series The Sopranos Nominated
2003 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series The Sopranos Won
2004 Screen Actors Guild Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series The Sopranos Nominated


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