Steve Buscemi Biography

Steve Buscemi photo

Born: December 13, 1957


Date of Birth: December 13, 1957

Steve Buscemi may be one weird looking dude — but he's one seriously talented actor, too.

The man the New York Post described as "a strange mix of Don Knotts, Peter Lorre and David Carradine" has also been called "The Most Important Actor in American Independent Film." About his own looks, he's said: "I have crooked teeth and a skinny face and I look like I'm on drugs. I've never played a vampire, but I think I kind of look like that." Looks aside, he's certainly a favorite of Hollywood's more independent-minded directors. He's worked twice with Quentin Tarantino, three times with Jim Jarmusch, and in five films by the Coen Brothers - not to mention his own directorial debut, Trees Lounge.

The Brooklyn-born Buscemi hit the New York theater scene shortly after finishing high school. He studied at the Lee Strasberg Institute and, together with acting buddy Mark Boone Jr., created a series of performance art pieces for off-off-off-Broadway stages. He also briefly tried being a stand-up comedian but, he said, "All comics borrow from each other. In the end, I couldn't figure out who to borrow from, so I stopped."

Steve first struck a chord with moviegoers as a dying AIDS victim in Bill Sherwood's Parting Glances. His career began to steadily build after that galvanizing performance, with impressive supporting roles in Jim Jarmusch's Mystery Train and Martin Scorsese's chapter of New York Stories.

Generally cast as sleazy weasels, he took that persona to the extreme in Quentin Tarantino's 1992 directorial debut, Reservoir Dogs. His slimy, paranoid and ultra-hyper Mr. Pink won Buscemi the year's Independent Spirit Award.

One of Hollywood's most prolific actors, Buscemi has made over 50 films in the past dozen years, including Pulp Fiction (1994), Living In Oblivion (1995), Fargo (1996), the Nicolas Cage mega-hit Con Air (1997), The Wedding Singer (1998) with Adam Sandler, The Big Lebowski (1998) and the blockbuster Armageddon (1998). Buscemi once again teamed up with Sandler in 2007 for I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, in 2010 for Grown Ups and in 2012, when he provided the voice of Wayne for the animated feature Hotel Transylvania(2012) and its sequels, Hotel Transylvania 2 (2015) and Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (2018). He also voiced characters in the animated feature Monsters, Inc. 3D (2012) — a re-release of the original 2001 film, and the film's prequel, Monsters University (2013).

Onscreen, he worked with Richard Gere in Norman (2016), alongside Alec Baldwin in the animated comedy The Boss Baby (2017) and with Jason Isaacs in the dark comedy The Death of Stalin (2018). He played veteran firefighter Papa in Pete Davidson's semi-biographical film, The King of Staten Island (2020).

He's also made a mark on television with recurring roles in two popular series, the NBC comedy 30 Rock and the HBO drama Boardwalk Empire.

Steve has also turned to filmmaking, directing Sienna Miller in Interview (2007), in which he also co-stars. He also directed several episodes of the television series The Sopranos, Nurse Jackie and 30 Rock.

He has one child, Lucien, with his wife, choreographer Jo Andres. While filming Domestic Disturbance in Wilmington, North Carolina in 2001, Steve was stabbed in the throat, head and arm during a barroom brawl. He now has a scar on his cheek which is hidden by makeup for films.

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