All My Children
Multitalented Robert LuPone is perhaps best recognized for his performances in the soap operas “All My Children” (1984-1985) and “Guiding Light” (1990, 1992-1996, 2000). He has also acted in several primetime shows, including the Fox miniseries “Love and Betrayal: The Mia Farrow Story” (1995), the NBC series “Law & Order” and its companion shows “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and the David Chase created popular show “The Sopranos,” in which he played the recurring role of Dr. Cusamano from 1999 to 2007. Besides television, LuPone acted in several feature films, including “Jesus Christ Superstar” (1973), adapted from the 1971 play of the same name in which LuPone also appeared in, “High Stakes” (1989), “Dead Presidents” (1995), “Heartbreak Hospital” (2002), “The Door in the Floor” (2004), “Mentor” (2006), “Funny Games U.S.” (2007) and “Breaking Point” (2009).
The cofounder of the theater company Manhattan Class Company (MCC) who kicked off his career as a part of the family act “The LuPone Trio,” received a Tony nomination for his role as choreographer/director Zach in Broadway’s “A Chorus Line” (1975). He also earned praise for his work in the stage production “The Tooth of Crime” (1973). Other theater credits include “Minnie's Boys” (1970), “Saint Joan” (1977), “Lennon” (1982), “Late Night Comic” (1987), “Triumph of Love” (1997), “A View from the Bridge” (1998), “True West” (2000) and “Change Beds and Dance” (2002).
The LuPone Trio
Childhood and Family:
Robert LuPone was born on July 29, 1946, in Brooklyn, New York. His father, Orlando Joseph LuPone, was a school administrator and his mother, Angela Louise, worked as an administrator at a college. They divorced in 1961.
Robert graduated from the prestigious Juilliard School in New York, where he majored in music. He is the older brother of actress Patti LuPone (born on April 21, 1949), who won a Tony Award for her role as “Evita” in the Broadway musical of the same name (1979). He also has a twin brother named William LuPone, who pursued a career as a librarian after leaving the family act “The LuPone Trio,” whose members included Robert and Patti.
A Chorus Line
Robert LuPone and his younger sister began performing together as small children. During the 1960s, the twosome performed in a family act called “The Lupone Trio” with his twin brother. LuPone also appeared as a dancer in “Arabian Nights” at the Jones Beach Theatre in Long Island, New York, in 1967 and the next year, was cast in a New York City revival of “West Side Story.” However, he did not hit Broadway until two years later when he landed a part in the 1970 production of “Minnie's Boys.” It was also that year that LuPone appeared in the Andrew L. Stone directed “Song of Norway” as a dancer.
In 1971, LuPone received a role in a N.Y.C. production of “Jesus Christ Superstar” and when the play was brought to the big screen by director Norman Jewison two years later, the actor was cast in the role of James in the movie version. Still in 1973, LuPone also gained attention for his stage work in “The Tooth of Crime” at the Chicago Goodman Theatre Center and was handed a Joseph Jefferson Award for his performance in the show. He gathered up even more recognition in 1975 with his role of director/choreographer Zach on the original Broadway production of “A Chorus Line,” which earned him a 1976 Tony nomination in the category of Best Actor (Featured Role-Musical) for his performance. He followed the success by touring the country as Zach in 1976 and undertaking the role of the Dauphin in the Broadway revival of “Saint Joan” in 1977. Also in 1977, LuPone appeared in an episode of the dramatic series “The Feather and Father Gang.” He then received the recurring role of Chester Wallace in two episodes of the ABC soap opera “Ryan's Hope” (1979-1980). He returned to the stage in 1980 to co-direct “It's Me Marie” with Myra Turley at the Actors Studio before spending the next year teaching acting at New York University. He was seen on stage again in 1982 when he portrayed John Lennon in an off-Broadway production of “Lennon.” On the small screen, he also portrayed Thomas on the NBC daytime drama “Search for Tomorrow.”
However, it was LuPone's next television role that really earned the actor recognition. As character Zach Grayson during the 1984-1985 seasons of the ABC daytime series “All My Children,” he picked up a Daytime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Actor in a Supporting Role in a Daytime Drama Series. He also co-formed the Manhattan Class Company (MCC) where he shared executive director responsibilities with Bernard Telsey.
Two years after leaving “All My Children,” LuPone appeared as Jeffery Sinclair on the “CBS Summer Playhouse” episode of “The Saint in Manhattan.” He then revisited Broadway in “Late Night Comic” (both 1987), where he was cast as David. He next participated in the Josephine Abady world premiere of “On the Waterfront” at the Cleveland Playhouse in 1989 and portrayed John Stratton in that year's motion picture “High Stakes,” which was written and directed by Amos Kollek.
1990 saw LuPone portray the disreputable attorney Leo Flynn on the long running soap opera “Guiding Light,” but he soon left the CBS show and did not make a comeback until 1992. He departed the series again in 1996. Meanwhile, LuPone also made his first of several appearances on the NBC series “Law & Order” in 1990, was featured as a music manager in the Oliver Stone drama “The Doors” in 1991, directed MCC’s production of “D Train” in 1994 and played Andre Previn on the Fox miniseries “Love and Betrayal: The Mia Farrow Story” in 1995. Still in 1995, he acted with Lisa Eichhorn and Stanley Tucci in the independent film “A Modern Affair,” helmed by Vern Oakley, portrayed Ralph in the Alan Taylor comedy “Palookaville,” which starred William Forsythe, and was featured as a lawyer in the action film “Dead Presidents,” which was co-directed by Albert and Allen Hughes.
After serving as a choreographer for the Hartford Stage Company production of “Romeo and Juliet” (1996), LuPone gave a memorable stage performance as Hermocrates in a regional production of the musical “Triumph of Love” (1997) in Baltimore. He was then cast in a Broadway revival of Arthur Miller's “A View from the Bridge” (1998), a role originated by Stephen Spinella. He closed out the decade directing the play “The English Teachers” and starting his recurring role of Tony Soprano's next door neighbor, Dr. Cusamano, on the hit HBO series “The Sopranos” (both 1999).
Entering the new millennium, LuPone reprised his role of Leo Flynn on “Guiding Light” and portrayed Robert Kardashian in CBS’ miniseries “An American Tragedy,” which was based on a book by Lawrence Schiller and James Willwerth. He also received guest spots in episodes of “Sex & the City” and “JAG” and on stage, portrayed the role of movie producer Saul Kimmer in a Broadway production of Sam Shepard's “True West” (all 2000). He then played Arnold Burns in the Broadway production of “A Thousand Clowns” (2001), opposite Tom Selleck, costarred with Maryanne Plunkett in an off-Broadway production of Neil Koenigsberg's “Change Beds and Dance” (2002) and was cast in Alfred Uhry’s play “Edgardo Mine” (also 2002) at the Hartford Stage in Connecticut. Also in 2002, he received the supporting role of Hal in the film “Heartbreak Hospital.”
LuPone next appeared in a 2003 episode of “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” and as Brooks Harmon in a 2004 episode of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.” He resumed his film career by taking on the role of Mendelssohn in Tod Williams' “The Door in the Floor” (2004), which starred Elle Fanning, Jeff Bridges, Kim Basinger and Jon Foster. He went on to appear in writer/director Leonardo Ricagni's “Indocumentados” (2005, as a Priest), the Carlo Ventura comedy “Vieni via con me” (2005, as Fred) and the drama “Mentor” (2006, as Franklin Burier), alongside Rutger Hauer and Matthew Davis. In 2007, the actor portrayed the supporting role of Robert in the thriller “Funny Games U.S.,” which was written and directed by Michael Haneke and starred Naomi Watts, Tim Roth and Michael Pitt. He then worked with Tom Berenger in the dramatic movie “Breaking Point,” (2009) which was directed by Jeff Celentano.
Joseph Jefferson: “The Tooth of Crime,” 1973