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Rudolph Marinelli

Rudolph Marinelli

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Tall, broad-shouldered, and handsome, this former football star became a respected TV actor best known for his six seasons as Officer Joe Coffey, partner to Betty Thomas' Lucy Bates, on "Hill Street Blues" (NBC, 1981-86). Ed Marinaro was attracted to acting when he was healing from a foot injury and his New York Jets teammate Joe Namath suggested he give the entertainment industry a whirl. He soon quit football, moved to Los Angeles, studied acting and bagged a guest shot on an episode of the police drama "Eischied." Soon after, he appeared in an unsold pilot, but producer Garry Marshall saw the project and hired Marinaro for the ABC sitcom "Laverne and Shirley" during its waning days when Laverne (Penny Marshall) had moved to Hollywood. Marinaro was cast as Sonny, a stuntman and neighbor who became Laverne's beau. After a season, Marinaro joined "Hill Street Blues" as the caring, yet masculine cop, a persona he would subsequently refine in numerous roles. His good looks and popularity led to parts in two TV-movies, "Born Beautiful" (NBC, 1982), in which Marinaro was a fashion photographer, and "Policewoman Centerfold" (NBC, 1983), in which he was the husband of a cop who decides to bare all.Marinaro...

Tall, broad-shouldered, and handsome, this former football star became a respected TV actor best known for his six seasons as Officer Joe Coffey, partner to Betty Thomas' Lucy Bates, on "Hill Street Blues" (NBC, 1981-86). Ed Marinaro was attracted to acting when he was healing from a foot injury and his New York Jets teammate Joe Namath suggested he give the entertainment industry a whirl. He soon quit football, moved to Los Angeles, studied acting and bagged a guest shot on an episode of the police drama "Eischied." Soon after, he appeared in an unsold pilot, but producer Garry Marshall saw the project and hired Marinaro for the ABC sitcom "Laverne and Shirley" during its waning days when Laverne (Penny Marshall) had moved to Hollywood. Marinaro was cast as Sonny, a stuntman and neighbor who became Laverne's beau. After a season, Marinaro joined "Hill Street Blues" as the caring, yet masculine cop, a persona he would subsequently refine in numerous roles. His good looks and popularity led to parts in two TV-movies, "Born Beautiful" (NBC, 1982), in which Marinaro was a fashion photographer, and "Policewoman Centerfold" (NBC, 1983), in which he was the husband of a cop who decides to bare all.

Marinaro continued working in TV after the demise of "Hill Street Blues." He spent four seasons as Mitch Margolis, the Jewish ex-husband of the youngest of the "Sisters" (NBC). In 1996, Marinaro was the thrice-divorced Vince on "Champs" (ABC), the first series from DreamWorks SKG. Additionally, he starred in TV-movies, including "Sharing Richard" (CBS, 1988), about a man with three girlfriends, and was Joey Buttafuoco in "Amy Fisher: My Story" (1992), the NBC version of the 'Long Island Lolita' tale. Marinaro also played a sympathetic school counselor helping a young man deal with his sexual confusion in "What If I'm Gay?" a 1987 "CBS Schoolbreak Special."

Marinaro has appeared only sporadically in features. He did a bit in "Fingers" (1977) and was the lead as a street-tough detective in "Dead Aim" (1987). In 1991, he was part of the ensemble cast in "Queens Logic," about a family reunion.

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