The Info List - Vincent Gardenia

Vincent Gardenia
Vincent Gardenia
(born Vincenzo Scognamiglio; January 7, 1920 – December 9, 1992)[1] was an Italian-American
stage, film, and television actor. He was nominated twice for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, first for Bang the Drum Slowly (1973) and again for Moonstruck
(1987). He also portrayed Det. Frank Ochoa in Death Wish (1974) and its 1982 sequel, as well as Mr. Mushnik in the musical film adaptation of Little Shop of Horrors (1986). Gardenia's other notable feature films include Murder Inc. (1960), The Hustler (1961), The Front Page (1974), Greased Lightning
Greased Lightning
(1977) and Heaven Can Wait (1978).


1 Early life 2 Career 3 Death 4 Filmography 5 Television 6 See also 7 References 8 External links

Early life[edit] Gardenia was born Vincenzo Scognamiglio in Naples, Italy,[2] the son of Elisa (Ausiello) and Gennaro Gardenia Scognamiglio.[3] When he was two years old, the family immigrated to the United States and settled in Brooklyn, New York City, New York.[2] His father established an acting troupe that presented Italian-language melodramas. As a child, he performed in the troupe in Italian-American
neighborhoods in and around New York City,[2] having later said, "the titles changed, but they were usually about a son or daughter who gets in trouble, runs away, then begs forgiveness". He debuted in the company at age five, portraying a shoeshine boy. He graduated to character roles while still a teenager. He remained a member of the company until 1960, five years after his first English-speaking role on Broadway.[4] Career[edit] Gardenia played a small role in the film The House on 92nd Street
The House on 92nd Street
and bit parts in other films, including Cop Hater and A View From the Bridge. His first English-speaking role was in 1955, as a pirate in the Broadway play
Broadway play
In April Once. The following year, at age 36, he appeared as Piggy in his Off-Broadway debut in The Man with the Golden Arm.[2] He described his role in the film Little Murders
Little Murders
as a "turning point".[2] He won Obie Awards in 1960 and 1969.[2] A life member of The Actors Studio,[5] Gardenia won a Tony Award
Tony Award
for Best Featured Actor in a Play in 1972 for his performance in The Prisoner of Second Avenue, opposite Peter Falk. In 1979, he was nominated for Best Actor in a Musical for his performance in Ballroom. In film, he was twice nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performances in Bang the Drum Slowly and Moonstruck. In television, Gardenia won the 1990 Emmy Award
Emmy Award
for his performance in Age-Old Friends, with Hume Cronyn.[6] Among his best remembered TV roles is his portrayal of Archie Bunker's neighbor Frank Lorenzo on All in the Family
All in the Family
(1973–74) and as J. Edgar Hoover
J. Edgar Hoover
in the miniseries Kennedy (1983). He also played in an episode of Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea titled "Escape From Venice." Death[edit] In December 1992, Gardenia was in Philadelphia
to perform in the stage production of the Tom Dulack comedy Breaking Legs. He was beginning a three-week run as restaurant owner Lou Garziano in the off-Broadway hit at the Forrest Theatre. It was a role he had performed since the show's New York City
New York City
opening in May 1991. Around 1 a.m. on December 9, 1992, hours after the final preview performance, Gardenia had returned to his hotel room at Philadelphia's Benjamin Franklin Hotel, after dining with stage director John Tillinger, producer Elliot Martin, and cast members. According to Martin, Gardenia showed no signs of illness, adding, "It was just a jolly evening." According to authorities, when Gardenia failed to appear the next morning for a radio interview to promote the play's run, press representative Irene Gandy and cast member Vince Viverito became alarmed. When they arrived at Gardenia's hotel room, there was no answer. The hotel sent an engineer who opened the door and Gardenia was discovered dead of a heart attack, dressed and clutching the telephone. He was 72. That evening, in the theatrical tradition of "the show must go on" and just hours after Gardenia's death, the play's official opening took place. The company dedicated its opening performance to Gardenia's memory.[7] Harry Guardino
Harry Guardino
assumed Gardenia's role as the restaurant owner.[8] Gardenia is interred in Saint Charles Cemetery in Farmingdale, Long Island, New York, along with his parents Elisa (1901–1967) and Gennaro Gardenia Scognamiglio (1896–1965). Gardenia never married and was survived by his brother, Ralph.[4][9] A section of 16th Avenue in the Bensonhurst
neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, where he resided until his death, bears the secondary name of Vincent Gardenia Boulevard in his honor. Filmography[edit]

Year Film Role Notes

1945 The House on 92nd Street German spy trainee Uncredited

1958 Cop Hater Danny Gimp

1960 Murder, Inc. Lawyer Laslo

1961 Parrish Bit part Uncredited

Mad Dog Coll Dutch Schultz

The Hustler Bartender

1962 A View From the Bridge Liperi

1965 The Third Day Preston

1970 Jenny Mr. Marsh

Where's Poppa? Coach Williams

1971 Little Murders Mr. Newquist

Cold Turkey Mayor Quincey L. Wappler

1972 Hickey & Boggs Papadakis

1973 Bang the Drum Slowly Dutch Schnell Nominated—Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor

Lucky Luciano Colonel Charles Poletti

1974 Death Wish Det. Frank Ochoa

The Front Page Sheriff Pete Hartmann

1975 The Manchu Eagle Murder Caper Mystery Big Daddy Jessup

La banca di Monate Santino Paleari

1976 House of Pleasure for Women Mr. Chips

The Big Racket Pepe

Luna di miele in tre Frankie, the journalist

1977 Fire Sale Benny Fikus

Greased Lightning Sheriff Cotton

1978 Heaven Can Wait Det. Lt. Krim

1979 Firepower Frank Hull

Home Movies Doctor Byrd

Sensitività Old painter

Goldie and the Boxer Diamond

That's Life

1980 The Dream Merchants Peter Kessler

The Last Flight of Noah's Ark Stoney

1982 Death Wish II Det. Frank Ochoa

1983 Odd Squad General Brigg

1985 Movers & Shakers Saul Gritz

1986 Little Shop of Horrors Mr. Mushnik

1987 Moonstruck Cosmo Castorini Nominated—Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor

1988 Cheeeese Bonjour

Cavalli si nasce Il Principe

1989 Skin Deep Barny the Barkeeper

1991 The Super Big Lou Kritski (final film role)


Before becoming a regular cast member on All in the Family, Gardenia and Rue McClanahan
Rue McClanahan
played "wife-swappers" who meet the unsuspecting Bunkers in a 1972 episode. L-R: McClanahan, Carroll O'Connor, Jean Stapleton, and Gardenia.[10]

Year Film Role Notes

1954 Twelve Angry Men (Westinghouse Studio One) Bailiff Uncredited. Season 7, Episode 1.

1957 The Night America Trembled (Westinghouse Studio One) Dick Season 10, Episode 1.

1961 The Untouchables (TV series) Jake Petrie

1965 The Big Valley John Sample Season 1, Episode 1 ("Palms of Glory")

1967 The Rat Patrol Colonel Centis


Season 12, episode 24 (Noose of Gold)

Mission Impossible Vito Lugana Season 2, episodes 11 & 12 (The Council)

1972 The Rookies Saul Season 1, episode 8 (Dirge for Sunday)

1973–74 All in the Family Frank Lorenzo

1977 The Mary Tyler Moore Show Frank Coleman Season 7, episode 24 (The Last Show)

1990 L.A. Law Murray Melman 7 episodes

See also[edit]

Biography portal


^ a b "Vincent Gardenia". All Movie Guide. Retrieved June 22, 2009.  ^ a b c d e f Murphy, Mary (January 16, 1974). "Vince Gardenia and the Actor as Coach". Los Angeles Times. LATimes.com. p. E1.  access-date= requires url= (help) ^ "Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television". google.ca. Retrieved June 29, 2015.  ^ a b Grimes, William (December 10, 1992). "Vincent Gardenia, Character Actor, Is Dead at 71". The New York Times. NYTimes.com. Retrieved December 28, 2012.  ^ Garfield, David (April 1984). "Appendix: Life Members of The Actors Studio as of January 1980". A Player's Place: The Story of The Actors Studio. New York: MacMillan Publishing Co., Inc. p. 278. ISBN 978-0020123101.  ^ Folkart, Burt A. (December 10, 1992). "Vincent Gardenia; Actor Won Tony, Emmy Awards". Los Angeles Times. LATimes.com. Retrieved December 28, 2012.  ^ Bykofsky, Stu; Nelson, Nels; Daughen, Joseph R. "'Breaking Legs' Cast Pays Tribute To Star Dedicates Opener To Vince Gardenia Who Died In Hotel". Philadelphia
Daily News. Philly.com. Retrieved December 28, 2012.  ^ "Guardino replaces Gardenia in play". The Baltimore Sun. BaltimoreSun.com. January 20, 1993. Retrieved December 28, 2012.  ^ Rousuck, J. Wynn (December 10, 1992). "Vincent Gardenia's final role indulged actor's twin passions APPRECIATION". The Baltimore Sun. BaltimoreSun.com. Retrieved December 28, 2012.  ^ All in the Family, episode "The Bunkers and the Swingers" (1972) on IMDb

External links[edit]

Vincent Gardenia
Vincent Gardenia
at Find a Grave Vincent Gardenia
Vincent Gardenia
at the Internet Broadway Database
Internet Broadway Database
Vincent Gardenia
Vincent Gardenia
at the Internet Off-Broadway Database Vincent Gardenia
Vincent Gardenia
on IMDb Vincent Gardenia
Vincent Gardenia
at the TCM Movie Database

v t e

Primetime Emmy Award
Emmy Award
for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

Anthony Quayle
Anthony Quayle
(1975) Ed Flanders
Ed Flanders
(1976) Burgess Meredith
Burgess Meredith
(1977) Howard Da Silva
Howard Da Silva
(1978) Marlon Brando
Marlon Brando
(1979) George Grizzard
George Grizzard
(1980) David Warner (1981) Laurence Olivier
Laurence Olivier
(1982) Richard Kiley
Richard Kiley
(1983) Art Carney
Art Carney
(1984) Karl Malden
Karl Malden
(1985) John Malkovich
John Malkovich
(1986) Dabney Coleman
Dabney Coleman
(1987) John Shea
John Shea
(1988) Derek Jacobi
Derek Jacobi
(1989) Vincent Gardenia
Vincent Gardenia
(1990) James Earl Jones
James Earl Jones
(1991) Hume Cronyn
Hume Cronyn
(1992) Beau Bridges
Beau Bridges
(1993) Michael A. Goorjian (1994) Donald Sutherland
Donald Sutherland
(1995) Tom Hulce
Tom Hulce
(1996) Beau Bridges
Beau Bridges
(1997) George C. Scott
George C. Scott
(1998) Peter O'Toole
Peter O'Toole
(1999) Hank Azaria
Hank Azaria
(2000) Brian Cox (2001) Michael Moriarty (2002) Ben Gazzara
Ben Gazzara
(2003) Jeffrey Wright
Jeffrey Wright
(2004) Paul Newman
Paul Newman
(2005) Jeremy Irons
Jeremy Irons
(2006) Thomas Haden Church
Thomas Haden Church
(2007) Tom Wilkinson
Tom Wilkinson
(2008) Ken Howard
Ken Howard
(2009) David Strathairn
David Strathairn
(2010) Guy Pearce
Guy Pearce
(2011) Tom Berenger
Tom Berenger
(2012) James Cromwell
James Cromwell
(2013) Martin Freeman
Martin Freeman
(2014) Bill Murray
Bill Murray
(2015) Sterling K. Brown
Sterling K. Brown
(2016) Alexander Skarsgård
Alexander Skarsgård

v t e

Tony Award
Tony Award
for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play


Arthur Kennedy
Arthur Kennedy
(1949) Eli Wallach
Eli Wallach
(1951) John Cromwell (1952) John Williams (1953) John Kerr (1954) Francis L. Sullivan
Francis L. Sullivan
(1955) Ed Begley
Ed Begley
(1956) Frank Conroy (1957) Henry Jones (1958) Charlie Ruggles
Charlie Ruggles
(1959) Roddy McDowall
Roddy McDowall
(1960) Martin Gabel
Martin Gabel
(1961) Walter Matthau
Walter Matthau
(1962) Alan Arkin
Alan Arkin
(1963) Hume Cronyn
Hume Cronyn
(1964) Jack Albertson
Jack Albertson
(1965) Patrick Magee (1966) Ian Holm
Ian Holm
(1967) James Patterson (1968) Al Pacino
Al Pacino
(1969) Ken Howard
Ken Howard
(1970) Paul Sand (1971) Vincent Gardenia
Vincent Gardenia
(1972) John Lithgow
John Lithgow
(1973) Ed Flanders
Ed Flanders
(1974) Frank Langella
Frank Langella


Edward Herrmann
Edward Herrmann
(1976) Jonathan Pryce
Jonathan Pryce
(1977) Lester Rawlins (1978) Michael Gough (1979) David Rounds (1980) Brian Backer (1981) Zakes Mokae (1982) Matthew Broderick
Matthew Broderick
(1983) Joe Mantegna
Joe Mantegna
(1984) Barry Miller (1985) John Mahoney
John Mahoney
(1986) John Randolph (1987) B. D. Wong
B. D. Wong
(1988) Boyd Gaines
Boyd Gaines
(1989) Charles Durning
Charles Durning
(1990) Kevin Spacey
Kevin Spacey
(1991) Laurence Fishburne
Laurence Fishburne
(1992) Stephen Spinella (1993) Jeffrey Wright
Jeffrey Wright
(1994) John Glover (1995) Ruben Santiago-Hudson
Ruben Santiago-Hudson
(1996) Owen Teale
Owen Teale
(1997) Tom Murphy (1998) Frank Wood (1999) Roy Dotrice
Roy Dotrice


Robert Sean Leonard
Robert Sean Leonard
(2001) Frank Langella
Frank Langella
(2002) Denis O'Hare
Denis O'Hare
(2003) Brían F. O'Byrne (2004) Liev Schreiber
Liev Schreiber
(2005) Ian McDiarmid
Ian McDiarmid
(2006) Billy Crudup
Billy Crudup
(2007) Jim Norton (2008) Roger Robinson (2009) Eddie Redmayne
Eddie Redmayne
(2010) John Benjamin Hickey
John Benjamin Hickey
(2011) Christian Borle
Christian Borle
(2012) Courtney B. Vance
Courtney B. Vance
(2013) Mark Rylance
Mark Rylance
(2014) Richard McCabe (2015) Reed Birney (2016) Michael Aronov (2017)

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WorldCat Identities VIAF: 56810339 LCCN: no92031353 ISNI: 0000 0001 1764 7976 GND: 173809081 SUDOC: 094156611 BNF: cb140337856 (data) BIBSYS: 1095473 ICCU: ITICCURAVV306795 BNE: XX944703 SN