Chazz Palminteri (b. May 15, 1952) is an Academy Award-nominated American actor and writer, best known for his performances in The Usual Suspects, A Bronx Tale and Mulholland Falls.
Palminteri, a Sicilian/Italian American was born Calogero Lorenzo Palminteri in the Bronx, New York, an area which has had considerable influence on his work, particularly A Bronx Tale, a play which he wrote and adapted into a 1993 film which starred him and Robert De Niro. The film was acclaimed and opened doors to Palminteri as an actor, and supporting roles in Hollywood films such as The Usual Suspects and Woody Allen's Bullets Over Broadway followed, the latter earning Palminteri an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor nomination.
Palminteri has had acclaimed dramatic performances in films such as The Perez Family, Jade and Diabolique, as well as comedic roles in films such as Analyze This and Down to Earth. During its run, Palminteri did many advertisements for Vanilla Coke, in which he portrayed a mob boss who would threaten celebrities if they didn't praise the product in question's taste, and then let them walk away with the Vanilla Coke to "reward their curiosity", touching on its slogan at the time. Palminteri has voiced characters in various animated films, the most notable being 2006's Hoodwinked.
He made his directorial debut with the 2002 television film, "Women vs. Men". He has also directed the 2004 film Noel which starred Alan Arkin and Susan Sarandon. Palminteri's recent efforts include A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints, Running Scared and Arthur and the Minimoys.
Chazz Palminteri is now starring on Broadway in A Bronx Tale, the semi-autobiographical one-man show he first performed off-Broadway in 1989. The production, directed by Jerry Zaks and with music by John Gromada, began previews October 4 at the Walter Kerr Theatre and opens on October 25, running for 18 weeks. Palminteri plays 18 roles in, "A Bronx Tale," which depicts a rough childhood on the streets of the Bronx. The play ran for two months at Playhouse 91 in 1989. Robert De Niro saw this show there and made his directorial debut with the big-screen version, co-starring with Palminteri.