Who's the Boss?
"Everyone kept telling me, ‘Just be yourself.’ Be yourself. I kept thinking, there's got to be more to it than that!" Tony Danza.
A former professional boxer who posted a 9-3 record with all wins (and losses) coming by knockout, Italian-American actor Tony Danza gained his earliest fame when he played aspiring boxer Tony Banta on NBC sitcom “Taxi” (1978-1983). He followed it up with another memorable role, as Tony Micelli , a former second baseman turned housekeeper, on ABC long-running sitcom "Who's the Boss?" (1984-1992). In 1999, he was nominated an Emmy for his guest appearance on the ABC legal drama "The Practice." Danza, who has a star on the Walk of Fame Television at 7020 Hollywood Blvd., also hosted his own syndicated TV talk show, “The Tony Danza Show,” from 2004 to May 2006.
On the big screen, Danza could be seen starring in The Hollywood Knights (1980), Going Ape! (1981), She's Out of Control (1989), Angels in the Outfield (1994) and Crash (2004). His upcoming film is Aftermath, a crime thriller by director Thomas Farone that also stars Anthony Michael Hall and Chris Penn.
The 5' 9" tall actor, whose trademark is his Brooklyn accent and received nicknames Brooklyn Tony Danza, or The Brooklyn Brawler, or The Brooklyn Bomber, is also an accomplished stage actor. He received critical praise for his performance in the 1999 Broadway revival of the Eugene O'Neill’s “The Iceman Cometh.” He will join the Broadway production of “The Producers,” playing Max Bialystock on December 19, 2006 until March 11, 2007.
"Don't try too hard to be young. Be who you are." Tony Danza.
Childhood and Family:
In the East New York section of Brooklyn, Antonio Salvatore Iadanza was born on April 21, 1951, to Matty Iadanza (garbage collector; died in 1983 of lung cancer and a brain tumor) and Sicilian born immigrant Anne Iadanza (bookeeper; died in 1993 of brain cancer). He has one brother named Matty Danza, a restaurateur born in 1954. When he was a teenager, Tony followed his family moving to Malverne, New York, where he attended high school. He then went to University of Dubuque in Dubuque, Iowa on a wrestling scholarship and received B.A in History.
In 1970, Tony married his college sweetheart Rhonda Yeoman and welcomed their first child together, son Marc Anthony Iadanza, in 1971. Marc once guest starred in an episode of “Taxi” (1978) playing a handicapped kid and reappeared in another episode of “Taxi” (1978) in which he played a foster child that Tony wanted to adopt. On August 27, 2005, Marc and his wife, Julie, had a son, Nicholas Iadanza.
Tony and Rhonda divorced in 1974, and Tony later married producer/actress Tracy Robinson on June 28, 1986. They have two daughters together: Emily Iadanza (born in 1993) and Katie Iadanza (born in 1987). After 20 years of marriage, on September 28, 2006, Tony and Tracy announced that they are separating.
A Roman Catholic and parishioner at St. Monica Catholic Church in Santa Monica, Tony is also an Ordained Minister with the Universal Life Church.
The Tony Danza Show
Originally a professional boxer who posted a 9-3 record with all wins (and losses) coming by knockout, Tony Danza was discovered for the part of Tony Banta on the TV show "Taxi" (1978) during a gym workout. He subsequently retired from boxing and went to play the aspiring boxer character on the NBC’s original sitcom. He stayed on the acclaimed show until its end in 1983 and earned one Golden Globe nomination for Best TV Supporting Actor. He also reportedly dated his co-star actress, Marilu Henner, during the first season of the show in 1978.
During his “Taxi” stint, Danza made his first TV-movie appearance in the spoof of TV crime dramas, Murder Can Hurt You (1980), and debuted in feature film in Floyd Mutrux's comedy starring Robert Wuhl, The Hollywood Knights (1980; also with Fran Drescher). The next year, he got his first leading role in a feature film, as the son of a circus owner who had to baby-sit three orangutans to inherit his father's wealth, in Jeremy Joe Kronsberg's comedy Going Ape! (alongside Jessica Walter and Danny DeVito).
After “Taxi,” Danza became a TV star again in 1984 when he nabbed the lead role of a widowed man called Tony Micelli , a former second baseman who was forced to retire due to a shoulder injury and found new job as a housekeeper, on ABC long-running sitcom "Who's the Boss?" His performance on the eight-season show that ran until 1992 was awarded three Golden Globes nominations.
Meanwhile, Danza hosted the American Video Awards on ABC-TV in 1985 and both co-executive produced and starred in Doing Life (1986), the TV-movie adaptation of Steve Bello's book about Jerry Rosenberg, a self-obsessed career criminal who refers himself as jailhouse lawyer. In 1989, he starred as Doug Simpson, a divorced father and a radio station producer who raises his two teenage daughters (played by Ami Dolenz and Laura Mooney) alone, in the coming-of-age comedy film She's Out of Control. He also founded Katie Face Productions in 1991, whose first production was the ABC TV-movie The Whereabouts of Jenny, in which Danza appeared as a rowdy bar patron.
Danza made his New York stage debut in 1993, in Garry Marshall and Lowell Ganz's Off-Broadway play "Wrong Turn at Lungfish," which handed Danza an Outer Critics Circle Award nomination. The following year, he directed film, a 20-minute project about her mother, Mamamia, which won an award at the New York International Independent Film & Video Festival for Best Short Film Based on a True Story. After recovering from a serious skiing accident on December 28, 1993, Danza supported Danny Glover in the Disney remake of Angels in the Outfield (1994), playing a washed up baseball pitcher, and voiced Vinnie the Alligator for the Family Channel's comedy fantasy series, "The Mighty Jungle."
Next, Danza returned to TV series as executive producer and star of ABC sitcom "Hudson Street" (1995-1996), portraying Tony Canetti, a conservative police officer and single parent to his son. The show was short lived, and also the next one, NBC’s sitcom "The Tony Danza Show" (1997), in which he starred as Tony DiMeo, a sportswriter who also happens to have two daughters. The subsequent year, Danza appeared in a recurring role as Tommy Silva on the ABC legal drama "The Practice" and was nominated an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series.
On stage, Danza debuted on Broadway in 1998 when he succeeded Anthony LaPaglia in an acclaimed revival of Arthur Miller's "A View From the Bridge" and returned to Broadway in the next year as the bartender in applauded revival of Eugene O'Neill's "The Iceman Cometh." He also played the titular role of the New York City mayor in Los Angeles "Reprise!" staging of the Pulitzer Prize-winning 1959 Broadway musical "Fiorello!" in 1999.
From 2000 to 2002, Danza joined the cast of the CBS drama "Family Law," playing Joe Celano. Host of the annual telecast of the Miss America pageant in 2001, Danza later hosted a syndicated day time talk show called "The Tony Danza Show" in 2004. On May 9, 2005, during a go-kart race with the show’s guest, NASCAR star Rusty Wallace, Danza's kart flipped and he got a concussion as neither he nor Wallace were wearing a helmet. The last live broadcast of "The Tony Danza Show" was on May 26, 2006.
Meanwhile, moviegoers could catch Danza in the 2004 Academy Award-winning film directed by Paul Haggis about racial and social tensions in Los Angeles, Crash, alongside Sandra Bullock, Don Cheadle and Matt Dillon. He also starred in the Marko Sanginetto's mystery drama The Whisper (2004) and provided voice for the animated comedy movie Firedog (2005). Back on TV, he was spotted as a guest in a May 2005 episode of ABC soap, “All My Children.”
As for his upcoming project, Danza just completed his next film with writer-director Thomas Farone, a crime thriller entitled Aftermath, co-starring with Anthony Michael Hall and Chris Penn. On stage, he will join the Broadway production of “The Producers,” playing Max Bialystock on December 19, 2006 until March 11, 2007.
"I am looking forward to getting to do things I have never done before." Tony Danza.