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Jon Polito

Jon Polito

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Also Known As: Jon Raymond Polito Died: September 1, 2016
Born: December 29, 1950 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA Profession: actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Renowned for portraying figures on both sides of the law, prolific character actor Jon Polito racked up over 220 screen credits, most notably five Coen brothers pictures and a recurring role on "Homicide: Life on the Street" (NBC, 1993-99). Born in Philadelphia, PA in 1950, Polito studied Theater at Villanova University before moving to New York to further his stage career, going on to win an OBIE Award for his off-Broadway work in 1980. Polito made his on-screen debut as real-life mafia co-founder Thomas Lucchese in miniseries "The Gangster Chronicles" (NBC, 1981), and a year later played Det. Sporaco in murder mystery "The Clairvoyant" (1982), two roles which ultimately laid the groundwork for much of his TV and film career. After portraying Willy's boss Harold in an award-winning TV movie adaptation of "Death of a Salesman" (1985) starring Dustin Hoffman, Polito played authority figures in fantasy epic "Highlander" (1986), romantic drama "Fire with Fire" (1986) and martial arts police procedural "Ohara" (ABC, 1987-88), and villains in TV movie "A Deadly Business" (1986) and the critically-acclaimed "Crime Story" (NBC, 1986-88), the latter as Chicago crime lord Phil Bartoli. After appearing...

Renowned for portraying figures on both sides of the law, prolific character actor Jon Polito racked up over 220 screen credits, most notably five Coen brothers pictures and a recurring role on "Homicide: Life on the Street" (NBC, 1993-99). Born in Philadelphia, PA in 1950, Polito studied Theater at Villanova University before moving to New York to further his stage career, going on to win an OBIE Award for his off-Broadway work in 1980. Polito made his on-screen debut as real-life mafia co-founder Thomas Lucchese in miniseries "The Gangster Chronicles" (NBC, 1981), and a year later played Det. Sporaco in murder mystery "The Clairvoyant" (1982), two roles which ultimately laid the groundwork for much of his TV and film career. After portraying Willy's boss Harold in an award-winning TV movie adaptation of "Death of a Salesman" (1985) starring Dustin Hoffman, Polito played authority figures in fantasy epic "Highlander" (1986), romantic drama "Fire with Fire" (1986) and martial arts police procedural "Ohara" (ABC, 1987-88), and villains in TV movie "A Deadly Business" (1986) and the critically-acclaimed "Crime Story" (NBC, 1986-88), the latter as Chicago crime lord Phil Bartoli. After appearing alongside Marlon Brando in "The Freshman" (1990), Polito forged a fruitful working relationship with the Coen brothers when he was cast as highly-strung Prohibition era mobster Johnny Caspar in "Miller's Crossing" (1990). Polito would go on to appear in a further four Coen movies, playing Hollywood lackey Lou Breeze in "Barton Fink" (1991), eccentric businessman Mr. Bumstead in "The Hudsucker Proxy" (1994), private investigator Da Fino in "The Big Lebowski" (1998) and dry-cleaning salesman Creighton Tolliver in "The Man Who Wasn't There" (2001). During this period, Polito also enjoyed supporting roles in superhero pictures "The Rocketeer" (1991) and "Blankman" (1994), behind bars dramas "Girls in Prison" (1994) and "The Green Mile" (1999) and family movies "Fluke" (1995) and "Stuart Little" (1999). Polito also made several guest appearances on "Seinfeld" (NBC, 1989-1998), "Dream On" (HBO, 1990-96) and "Early Edition" (CBS, 1996-2000), and played veteran Det. Steve Crosetti in "Homicide: Life on the Street" (NBC, 1993-99) for two seasons before being permanently written out following a dispute with the show's producers. Polito remained just as prolific throughout the following decade, landing the recurring roles of newspaper editor Donald Stern in short-lived "The Chronicle" (Sci-Fi Channel, 2001-02) and Judge Dominick Ventimiglia in legal drama "Raising the Bar" (TNT, 2008-09), enjoying supporting parts in "The Singing Detective" (2003), "Flags of Our Fathers" (2006) and "American Gangster" (2007) and showing up in over a dozen popular series including "Gilmore Girls" (The CW, 2000-07), "Desperate Housewives" (ABC, 2004-2012) and "Two and a Half Men" (CBS, 2003-2015). Polito then returned to familiar territory as Mafia member Jack Dragna in "Gangster Squad" (2013) before playing another real life figure, impresario Enrico Banducci, in "Big Eyes" (2014), guesting as Jay's rival Earl Chambers in "Modern Family" (ABC, 2009-) and making his final on-screen appearance in "Comedy Bang! Bang!" (IFC, 2012-16). In 2016 Polito died of complications from cancer in Duarte, CA aged 65.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
 Big Eyes (2014)
3.
 Locker 13 (2014)
4.
 Gangster Squad (2013)
5.
6.
 Burning Palms (2011)
7.
8.
 Super Capers (2009)
9.
 Rock Monster (2008)
10.
 Bart Got a Room (2008)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1982:
Appeared opposite Faye Dunaway on Broadway in "Curse of the Aching Heart"
1976:
Off-Broadway debut in "The Transfiguration of Benno Blimpie"
2002:
Co-starred in the ABC drama mystery series "Push, Nevada"
1977:
Broadway debut as understudy to Kenneth McMillan in David Mamet's "American Buffalo" opposite Robert Duvall
:
Played Crosetti for a time on the NBC police drama series, "Homicide: Life on the Street"
1998:
Reteamed with the Coens for "The Big Lebowski"
1981:
TV series debut, "The Gangster Chronicles"
1994:
Acted in "The Hudsucker Proxy", directed by the Coen brothers
1981:
Film debut, "The Killing Hour"
1997:
Had supporting role in the NBC TV miniseries "Robin Cook's Invasion"
2001:
Played the editor in chief of the titular newspaper in "The Chronicle", a Sci-Fi Channel series
2004:
Appeared with Matthew Broderick in the comedy "The Last Shot"
2007:
Played Rossi in the film "American Gangster"
2010:
Appeared in the comedy "The Last Godfather"
2013:
Played Dragna in the period crime thriller "Gangster Squad"
2014:
Appeared in the Tim Burton film "Big Eyes"
2016:
Guest starred on an episode of the series "Major Crimes"
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Education

Villanova University: Villanova, Pennsylvania -

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