Chazz Palminteri was born in 1952 and grew up in a tough area of the Bronx, New York. This setting was to give young Calogero (Palminteri’s given first name) the life lessons that would later prove very useful to his career. He started out pursuing his craft by studying at the Actor’s Studio with Lee Straussberg. He appeared off-Broadway in the early 1980s while paying his dues as a singer in his own band.
In 1989, Chazz wrote a one man show about a killing he saw in the Bronx when he was nine years old. He performed it at a small theater in Hollywood, California. It soon became a hit and the most sought after theatrical property since Rocky. With only $200 left in the bank and million dollar offers on the table, Chazz steadfastly refused to sell his play unless he played Sonny and write the screenplay. The rest is history. Chazz moved the production to New York, where it played for four months of sold-out performances, earning him nominations for the New York Outer Critics Circle for both acting and writing. While in New York, he completed the screenplay for the film.
Now the Academy Award nominated actor and writer has returned to the stage in an unforgettable performance after a successful run on Broadway, where the play was praised by the critics and adored by the public. In A Bronx Tale, the celebrated one man show on which he based the legendary movie, Palminteri vividly depicts a young boy’s rough childhood in the 1960s-era Bronx and the unforgettable people he encountered. This classic coming-of-age story is about reaching ones true potential and trusting one’s heart.
Mr. Palminteri was a natural choice to continue the long line of prominent Italian actors in the film industry. In the tradition set forth in the 1970s by such icons as director Martin Scorsese and actors Al Pacino and Joe Pesci, Palminteri has brought grit, muscle and an evocative realism to the sidewalks of his New York neighborhood.
Chazz has more than 50 movies to his credit, including The Usual Suspects; Bullets Over Broadway, for which he received an Academy Award nomination; Analyze This; Hurlyburly; Mulholland Falls; Faithful (he also wrote the screenplay); Poolhall Junkies; Down to Earth and A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints. He has also directed an episode in the HBO series “Oz”, Showtime’s “Women vs. Men” and the feature film “Noel.” He appeared on the New York stage in the play “The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui” starring with Al Pacino, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi and Billy Crudup. Chazz is also a member of the Actors Studio in New York City.
In 1996, Chazz received Leadership in Entertainment Award from the Coalition of Italo-American Association, Inc. and was honored by President Clinton with a Special Achievement Award for the Performing Arts from the National Italian American Foundation in Washington, D.C. He received the Publisher’s Award from the Italian Tribune in 2006.
He will be performing his remarkable one man show at the Wellmont Theatre on Friday, September 20th for an 8:00 pm show. The Wellmont Theatre is located at 5 Seymour St. in Montclair, New Jersey. For tickets go to www. wellmonttheater.com.