Vincent Gardenia - Rotten Tomatoes

Vincent Gardenia



During the '70s and '80s Vincent Gardenia was one of the most familiar character actors in film, television, and on the Broadway stage. Though viewers may not always have remembered his name, his sad eyes, hawk-nosed Italian-American face, short, stocky build, and distinctive often booming Brooklyn-accented voice and exaggerated gestures made him instantly recognizable.

Gardenia was born Vincent Scognamiglio in Naples, Italy, but he was raised in New York from the age of two. Once in the Big Apple, his father founded an Italian-language theater troupe and it is with them that Gardenia learned his craft. When he was 14, Gardenia dropped out of school to become a full-time actor with the company. He was in the army during WWII; after his discharge he returned to work in his father's theater and in other Italian-American productions. Though he had played a bit part in the 1945 film The House on 92nd Street, Gardenia did not launch his real film career until he was in his mid-thirties and played his first major role in The Cop Hater (1958). Though most often cast as Italian-Americans or in simple ethnic roles, Gardenia was a versatile actor who could easily switch from comedic to dramatic roles in films of widely varying quality. Some of his best-known roles include that of a bartender in 1961 in The Hustler, and Dutch Schnell in Bang the Drum Slowly (1973) opposite Robert De Niro. The latter garnered Gardenia his first Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Gardenia's second nomination came in 1987 for his memorable portrayal of Cher's father in Moonstruck. The character actor was 70 when he played his final role in the Joe Pesci vehicle The Super (1991). Gardenia's considerable television work includes the soap opera Edge of Night, a regular role on All in the Family (during the 1973-1974 season), the short-lived series Breaking Away (1980-1981), and a semi-regular role on L.A. Law in 1990. He has also made numerous guest appearances. Gardenia died of heart failure in 1992 at the age of 70.

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
No Score Yet Reading Rainbow - Man's Best Friend
  • Actor
2006
60% Hickey & Boggs
  • Papadakis
2000
0% The Super
  • Big Lou Kritski
1991
No Score Yet The Tragedy of Flight 103: The Inside Story
  • Harry Pizer
1991
No Score Yet Age-Old Friends
  • Michael Aylott
1989
36% Skin Deep
  • Barney
1989
92% Moonstruck
  • Cosmo Castorini
1987
90% Little Shop of Horrors
  • Mushnik
1986
No Score Yet Odd Squad
  • Actor
1986
No Score Yet Movers & Shakers
  • Saul Gritz
1985
No Score Yet Brass
  • Chief Mike Maldonato
1985
No Score Yet Dark Mirror
  • Detective Al Church
1984
No Score Yet Kennedy: The Presidential Years
  • Actor
1983
29% Death Wish II
  • Det. Frank Ochoa
1982
40% The Last Flight of Noah's Ark
  • Stoney
1980
No Score Yet Home Movies
  • Dr. Byrd
1980
No Score Yet Firepower
  • Frank Hull
1979
No Score Yet Marciano
  • Al Weill
1979
89% Heaven Can Wait
  • Lt. Krim
1978
No Score Yet The Big Racket
  • Pepe
1977
No Score Yet Greased Lightning
  • Sheriff Cotton
1977
No Score Yet The Manchu Eagle Murder Caper Mystery
  • Big Daddy
1975
73% The Front Page
  • Sheriff
1974
67% Death Wish
  • Detective Frank Ochoa
1974
No Score Yet Lucky Luciano
  • Il Colonello americano
1973
88% Bang The Drum Slowly
  • Dutch Schnell
1973
40% Cold Turkey
  • Mayor Wrappler
1971
57% Little Murders
  • Mr. Newquist
1971
100% Where's Poppa?
  • Coach Williams
1970
No Score Yet Jenny
  • Mr. Marsh
1969
No Score Yet Mission Impossible Versus the Mob
  • Actor
1968
No Score Yet The Third Day
  • Preston
1965
No Score Yet A View from the Bridge
  • Lipari
1962
98% The Hustler
  • Bartender
1961
No Score Yet Parrish
  • Gas Station Attendant
1961
No Score Yet Mad Dog Coll
  • Dutch Schultz
1961
No Score Yet Murder, Inc.
  • Lazlo
1960
No Score Yet Cop Hater
  • Danny the Gimp
1958
60% The House on 92nd Street
  • Trainee
1945

TV

RATING TITLE CREDIT
The Twilight Zone
1985-1989
  • Harry

Quotes from Vincent Gardenia's Characters