PROFILE
Name:
Armand Assante
Birth Date:
1949/10/4
Birth Place:
New York City, New York
Height:
5' 10" (1.78 m)
Nationality:
Italian and Irish
Famous for:
His role in “Private Benjamin” (1980)
BIOGRAPHY
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Gotti

Background:

“It's a blessing and a curse, but it's not always the best situation to be in. As a profession, I don't recommend acting at all.” Armand Assante

Emmy Award-winning American actor Armand Assante entered the entertainment industry in the late 1960s. Once called the 'Ethnic Everyman' after successfully playing several challenging characters from many ethnic backgrounds, he has given strong performances although full-fledged stardom has escaped him. First enjoying film success in “Private Benjamin” (1980), the handsome performer picked up a Golden Globe nomination a decade later with his supporting role of Latin crook Bobby Texador in Sidney Lumet's “Q & A” (1990). He went on to give memorable performances throughout the 1990s in such movies as “The Marrying Man” (1991), “1492: Conquest of Paradise” (1992) and “Judge Dredd” (1995). He also remained busy with roles in more recent and upcoming movies like “Last Run” (2001), “Consequence” (2003), “Mirror Wars: Reflection One” (2005), “Two for the Money” (2005), “Funny Money” (2006), “ California Dreamin' (Nesfarsit)” (2007), “When Nietzsche Wept” (2007), “American Gangster” (2007, earned a SAG nomination), “Linea, La” (2008), “The Bleeding” (2009), “Chicago Overcoat” (2009), “Order of Redemption” (2009), “The Steam Experiment” (2009), “Magic Man” (2009),“Killer by Nature” (2009) and “Darc” (2009).

Assante, however, is probably most celebrated for his work on the small screen. A regular on two NBC series, “How to Survive a Marriage” (1974-1975, as Johnny McGee) and “The Doctors” (1975-1977, as Dr. Mike Powers), he scored his first triumph with his role of Richard Mansfield on the CBS miniseries “Jack the Ripper” (1988), for which he took home nominations at the Emmy and Golden Globe Awards. He won his Emmy Award eight years later for the HBO drama “Gotti” (1996), where he brilliantly portrayed crime kingpin John Gotti. The role also brought Assante his next Golden Globe nomination and a Screen Actors Guild nomination. The next year, he resurfaced with his Golden Globe and Golden Satellite nominated portrayal of Odysseus in the miniseries adaptation of “The Odyssey” (1997). The graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts has also played recurring roles in NBC's “ER” (2006), CBS' “Navy NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigative Service” (2007) and ABC's “October Road” (2008).

Assante and his former wife Karen, whom he was married to from 1982 to 1994, have two kids together. In his free time, Assante enjoys reading and playing the guitar.


Father of 2

Childhood and Family:

Armand Anthony Assante Jr. was born on October 4, 1949, in New York City, New York, to Armand Sr., a painter and artist, and Katherine, a music teacher and poet. He is of Italian descent from his father's side and Irish lineage from his mother's side. Armand was raised in a Roman Catholic household in Cornwall, New York. After graduating from Cornwall Central High School, he began his dramatic training at New York's American Academy of Dramatic Arts. He graduated in 1969 as “Best of Class” and was given the Jehlinger Award.

On February 28, 1982, Armand married Karen Assante. The marriage ended in 1994 after producing two daughters, Anya Assante (born in May 1983) and Alesandra Assante (born on May 26, 1988). Armand currently resides on a 255 acre farm in upstate New York.


Q & A

Career:

A graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Art, Armand Assante made his stage debut in 1969 at the Westport Playhouse. Two years later, he debuted off-Broadway in Steve Tesich's “Lake of the Woods,” where he appeared with Hal Holbrook. He then appeared on the big screen with a bit part in the 1974 comedy “The Lords of Flatbush.” The same year, he won the role of Johnny McGee on the NBC daytime soap “How to Survive a Marriage,” a role he played until 1975 when the show was canceled.

Assante appeared in his first TV movie in the NBC biopic “First Ladies Diaries: Rachel Jackson” (1975) and portrayed Dr. Mike Powers #6 in the soap opera “The Doctors” (from 1975 to 1977) before landing the significant role of Lenny Carboni in “Paradise Alley” (1978). Also in 1978, Assante appeared with Anne Archer, Ian McShane and Franco Nero in his miniseries debut, “Harold Robbins' 'The Pirate,’” which aired on CBS. Meanwhile, he also revisited the stage with performances in the Broadway play “The Comedian” (1976) and the Square production of William Shakespeare's “Romeo and Juliet” (1977), in which he played Tybalt.

Assante got his breakout film role when he was cast as Frenchman Henri Alan Tremont in director Howard Zieff's comedy “Private Benjamin” (1980), opposite Goldie Hawn and Eileen Brennan. The film received three Oscar nominations and won a 1981 WGA for Best Comedy Written Directly for the Screen. He returned to the stage to play Emperor Napoleon I on Broadway in Edward Sheehan's “Kingdoms” (1981-1982) before again delivering a memorable performance in “I, the Jury” (1982), in which he starred as macho and sexy detective Mike Hammer. He further showed his versatility by playing a gallant concert violinist in the remake “Unfaithfully Yours” (1984, directed by Howard Zieff), the title character in the indie-drama “Belizaire the Cajun” (1985, opposite Gail Youngs and Stephen McHattie) and Hispanic felon Bobby Texador in the Sidney Lumet-directed “Q & A” (1990), which was based on a book by Edwin Torres. His latter role brought him a Golden Globe nomination in the category of Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture.

Meanwhile, Assante was also building a strong reputation on the small screen. He portrayed the contractor husband of Lesley Ann Warren, Joseph Friedman, in the NBC miniseries “Evergreen,” which was adapted from the bestselling romantic novel by Belva Plain, reprised his stage role of Napoleon Bonaparte for the ABC miniseries version of “Napoleon and Josephine” (1987) and was cast alongside Michael Caine and Jane Seymour in the CBS two-part miniseries “Jack the Ripper” (1988). His scene stealing portrayal of Richard Mansfield in the last project garnered him Emmy and Golden Globe nominations.

After his successful role in “Q & A,” Assante was once again cast as a gangster, this time Bugsy Siegel, in the Neil Simon-written “The Marrying Man” (1991), opposite Kim Basinger and Alec Baldwin. He then starred as Antonio Banderas' brother in the Oscar-nominated musical “The Mambo Kings” (1992), based on the Oscar Hijuelos Pulitzer Prize winning novel, teamed up with Gerard Depardieu and Sigourney Weaver for Ridley Scott's biopic “1492: Conquest of Paradise” (1992) and displayed a surprising gift for comedy in the unsuccessful parody “Fatal Instinct” (1993), directed by Carl Reiner. He then starred in the HBO television movie “Blind Justice” and appeared with Joanne Whalley, Gabriel Byrne and William Hurt in “Trial by Jury” (both 1994) before being reunited with Stallone for a third time for the 1995 feature “Judge Dredd.” Also in 1995, he played the lead role of Alan Breck Stewart on the based-on-novel miniseries “Kidnapped,” a role previously given to Christopher Reeve who was forced to leave the show due to a horse riding accident.

The following year, after a supporting role in the Demi Moore starring vehicle “Striptease” (1996), Assante became the center of attention with his role of infamous Mafia boss John Gotti in the HBO biopic “Gotti” (also 1996). Under the direction of Robert Harmon, his performance was critically applauded and Assante was handed a 1997 Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Special. The role also brought him a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV and a Screen Actors Guild nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a TV Movie or Miniseries. He gained another victory when he was cast in the NBC two-part miniseries “The Odyssey” (1997), based on Homer's epic poem of the same name. For his good acting, Assante received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV and a Golden Satellite nomination for the same category. He closed the decade with a notable guest spot as Aris Boch on the long-running sci-fi series “Stargate SG-1” (1999).

Entering the new millennium, Assante could be seen starring as lead singer Vince 'Vinnie' Pirelli in the independent movie “Looking for an Echo” (2000, directed by Martin Davidson), Commander Dwight Towers in the made-for-TV drama “On The Beach” (2000, opposite Rachel Ward and Bryan Brown) and an ex-Cold War spy out for revenge in the action flick “Last Run” (2001). He also provided the voice of Tzekel-Kan in “The Road to El Dorado” (2000), for which he was nominated for an Annie for Outstanding Individual Achievement for Voice Acting by a Male Performer in an Animated Feature Production, costarred with Benjamin Bratt in the Guy Ferland award winning movie “After The Storm” (2001) and appeared in the Ben Affleck written TV series “Push, Nevada” (2002). Assante then played the role of a former Chicago crook named Frank Carbone in the action film “Federal Protection” (2002), was cast as a traveling carnival owner who hires Norman Reedus in “Tough Luck” (2003), teamed up with Jerry Springer and Roy Scheider for director Philippe Martinez's drama, “Citizen Verdict” (2003) and starred in “Consequence” (2003).

From 2004 to 2006, Assante was seen in various movies like “Ennemis publics,” “Casanova's Last Stand,” “The Third Wish,” “Mirror Wars: Reflection One” (with Malcolm McDowell and Rutger Hauer), D.J. Caruso's gambling drama “Two for the Money” (opposite Al Pacino, Matthew McConaughey and Rene Russo), “Dead Lenny” (played Mobster Tony Thick), the big screen adaptation of Ray Cooney's play “Funny Money,” “Surveillance,” and Harry Basil's “Soul's Midnight.” On television, he costarred with David Arquette in the Stephen T. Kay-helmed television movie “The Commuters” (2005) and had a four-episode role in the NBC popular medical series “ER” (2006), as Richard Elliot.

Assante was next seen in “Mexican Sunrise” (2007), which was directed and written by Rowdy Stoval, was cast as Doug Jones in Cristian Nemescus' war film “California Dreamin' (Nesfarsit)” (2007), which won the prestigious Un Certain Regard Award at the Cannes Film Festival, starred as philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche in the based-on-novel “When Nietzsche Wept” (2007) and jointly nabbed a SAG nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture for his appearance in Ridley Scott's “American Gangster” (2007), which starred Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe. He then revisited the small screen with a recurring role on “Navy NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigative Service” (2007, as La Grenouille) and appeared in “October Road” (2 episodes, 2008), playing Gabriel Diaz. He then appeared in a substantial role in The Hallmark television movie “Shark Swarm” (2008), opposite Daryl Hannah and John Schneider.

After playing Padre Antonio in the action movie “Linea, La” (2008), which also starred Ray Liotta, Andy Garcia and Esai Morales, Assante starred as Jack Plummer in the horror film “The Bleeding” (2009) and Kevin in the made-for-TV thriller “The Lost” (2009). Currently, Armand has completed filming the action film “Shadows in Paradise,” alongside Mark Dacascos and Tom Sizemore, the gangster movie “Chicago Overcoat” (2009), and “Order of Redemption” (2009), opposite Tom Berenger, Busta Rhymes and Sticky Fingaz. Additionally, he will play Taper in the thriller “Magic Man” (2009), starring Billy Zane, Detective Mancini in the Philippe Martinez-directed drama “The Steam Experiment” (2009), opposite Val Kilmer and Eric Roberts, and Eugene Branch in the adventure “Killer by Nature” (2009), with Ron Perlman. In the action film “Darc” (2009), written by Tony Schiena, he is set to costar with Ice-T, DMX and Michael Madsen (rumored). Assante is also scheduled to star in the drama film “Murphy's Creek” (2009), helmed by Rob Walker and written by Carol Mulholland.


Awards:

  • Westchester Film Festival: Lifetime Achievement Award, 2007

  • Emmy: Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Special, “Gotti,” 1997

  • Jehlinger Award: 1969

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