"You just hope the films are going to be good. A lot of times, you don't think they are going to be good and they turn out to be masterpieces." Vincent Pastore
A former club-owner in New Rochelle, New York, Vincent Pastore eventually went into acting after being urged by club-goers/actors Matt and Kevin Dillon. In his early forties, he landed his first film role in the films "Black Roses" (1988) and "True Love" (1989) and has since been typically cast as a heavyset Italian-American mobster or tough guy, thanks to his deep voice and hulky size.
Pastore got his first big break while playing Tony Scarboni, one of the three Italian mobsters and Lazarro's (played by Alan Arkin) clients, in "The Jerky Boys" (1995). He would garner more recognition as Salvatore Bonpensiero, the long-time soldier, right-hand man and confidant of Tony Soprano (played by James Gandolfini), in HBO's acclaimed cult mob series, "The Sopranos" (1999-2007).
Meanwhile, the 5' 10" actor has also appeared in such films as "Goodfellas" (1990), "Awakenings" (1990), "Carlito's Way" (1993), "Gotti (1996; TV), "The Last Don" (1997; miniseries), "Witness to the Mob" (1998; TV), "Mickey Blue Eyes" (1999), "The Hurricane" (1999), "Serving Sara" (2002), "Revolver" (2005), and "The Last Request" (2006). His upcoming films include "Looking for Palladin," "P.J.," "Pizza with Bullets," "Return to Sleepaway Camp," "College Road Trip," "Code Blue," "Thunder Doyle" and "The Ocean."
Pastore made headlines with his personal life in 2005 when he was arrested and charged with assault after a fight with his then-fiancée. He later pled guilty to a minor charge and received community service.
Pastore, who still lives on City Island in the Bronx, New York, also hosts a program called “Wise Guy Radio” on the Sirius Satellite Radio.
Childhood and Family:
Son to Italian-American parents (his father's name is John Pastore; was a copper factory worker), Vincent Pastore was born on July 14, 1946, in Bronx, New York. Vincent, nicknamed ''Vinny,'' was raised in New Rochelle, New York. He has two siblings, one older and one younger.
From 1967-1970, Vincent studied drama at Pace University, in New York, New York. From 1967 to 1987, he managed and owned nightclubs in New Rochelle, New York, and became friends with club-goers Matt and Kevin Dillon, who convinced him to become an actor.
Vincent is divorced and has one daughter named Renee Jordan, who was born in 1976. He was once engaged to actress/director Lisa Regina. In 2005, he was arrested for assaulting her in Little Italy, Manhattan. He refused a plea deal for community service, but eventually agreed to plead guilty. Vincent, who served as a sailor in the U.S. Navy, agreed to perform his community service by volunteering at Veterans' Administration hospitals. Vincent still lives on City Island in the Bronx, New York.
The Jerky Boys
With the encouragement of club-goers/actors Matt and Kevin Dillon, Vincent Pastore, who had dabbled in acting while a student at Pace University, began his professional acting career in his early forties. His first film role was a bit part in John Fasano's cult classic horror "Black Roses" (1988). After meeting Kevin's manager, Pastore, billed as Vinny Pastore, landed a role in Nancy Savoca's romantic comedy film "True Love" (1989; starring Annabella Sciorra and Ron Eldard), which won the Grand Jury Prize at the 1989 Sundance Film Festival.
Pastore followed it up with small roles in the Martin Scorsese's Oscar-winning mob drama based on the book "Wiseguy" by Nicholas Pileggi, "GoodFellas," and Penny Marshall's Oscar-nominated drama film based on Oliver Sacks' memoir, "Awakenings." Pastore appeared as a man with coat rack in the former film and as a ward and a patient in the latter. In 1992, he worked with director Ted Demme for the first time in his 21-minute drama film called "The Bet," alongside Josh Mosby and John Benjamin Hickey. That same year, he began his four appearances on NBC's cop/legal drama series "Law & Order."
Pastore subsequently got the role of Copa Wiseguy in another gangster film, Brian De Palma's Golden Globe-nominated "Carlito's Way" (1993; starring Al Pacino), which was based on the novels ''Carlito's Way'' and ''After Hours'' by Judge Edwin Torres. He was then reunited with Demme for his feature directorial debut, a comedy called "Who's the Man?" (1993). The next year, he played a state trooper in Demme's dark comedy "The Ref" (starring Denis Leary, Judy Davis and Kevin Spacey), and a bowling team member in Andrew Bergman's romantic drama/comedy "It Could Happen to You" (starring Nicholas Cage and Bridget Fonda).
The comedy/crime film "The Jerky Boys" became Pastore's first big break. The film was made in 1993/1994 but was not released until 1995. Afterward, he portrayed New York mobster Angelo Ruggiero, a member of the Gambino crime family, in the HBO acclaimed biopic "Gotti" (1996; starring Armand Assante), and acted with Tony Sirico and Michael Imperioli in John Andrew Gallagher's independent drama comedy "The Deli" (1997). Additionally, he appeared in CBS’ Emmy-nominated miniseries based on Mario Puzo's sprawling novel about an Italian family of gangsters, "The Last Don" (1997; starring Danny Aiello), and played Mikey DeBatt in NBC’s miniseries "Witness to the Mob" (1998; starring Nicholas Turturro). While filming "Witness to the Mob," he also shot Kelly Makin's romantic comedy film "Mickey Blue Eyes" (1999), in which he was cast opposite James Caan.
He next portrayed Bonpensiero, the confidant and right hand man of Tony Soprano (played by James Gandolfini) in HBO's acclaimed cult mob series, "The Sopranos." He appeared regularly since the show's pilot in January 1999 until his character was killed by Paulie Walnuts (played by Tony Sirico) in the "Funhouse" episode of the show's second season in April 2000. Since then, he has reappeared in several episodes in flashback scenes. For his work in the popular show, Pastore won a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series in 2000.
"The only time I turned work down is when I can't do it because of 'The Sopranos.' I don't think I'm in a position [to turn down work]. I had a talk with my agent and he had seen 'Mickey Blue Eyes' already and he said, 'Vinnie, I think you are in a position now. You got to start turning some stuff away.' But when you got a daughter in grad school and you are paying her expenses, it's pretty hard to turn a job down." Vincent Pastore
Meanwhile, Pastore acted in the Emmy-nominated TNT movie starring William H Macy and Felicity Huffman, "A Slight Case of Murder" (1999), inspired by Donald E. Westlake's book, and appeared in Norman Jewison's Oscar-nominated biopic about the boxer wrongly imprisoned for murder, "The Hurricane" (1999; starring Denzel Washington). He was also interviewed for TNT’s documentary "Family Values: The Mob & the Movies" (1999) and teamed up again with Gallagher for the independent drama/comedy film "Blue Moon" (2000), with Ben Gazzara, Rita Moreno and Burt Young.
After the "The Sopranos," Pastore co-starred as a Mafia kingpin known as Fat Tony in Reginald Hudlin's romantic comedy feature "Serving Sara" (2002; with Matthew Perry and Elizabeth Hurley), and co-starred with Frank Vincent in Danny Provenzano's mafia feature based on a true-life crime story, "This Thing Of Ours" (2003). He also landed another series regular role in the short-lived courtroom drama/comedy series "Queens Supreme" (2003).
The following year, Pastore guest starred as an attorney in multiple episodes of ABC's legal drama "The Practice" and provided his voice to DreamWorks' CGI-animated film "Shark Tale." By this time, Pastore had appeared in a string of TV commercials, including one for Pepsi, Gladware sandwich bags, The Wiz, Philadelphia Soul arena football team, and Sean John. Additionally, he appeared on Young Buck's "The Sopranos Mixtape" (2003) and appeared in the play "Guinea Pig Solo" by Brett C. Leonard at The Public Theater, in New York City, New York, from May 2004 to June 2004.
Following his brush with the law in 2005 for a misdemeanor attempted assault of his fiancée, Pastore was reunited with "Soprano" co-star Frank Vincent in Christian Maelen's independent gangster film "Remedy," and then with John Fiore in Larry Blamire's "Johnny Slade's Greatest Hits" (both in 2005). He also supported Jason Statham and Ray Liotta in Guy Ritchie's flop thriller "Revolver" (2005), acted opposite Ben Curtis in Alexander Klymko's "Spy" (2006), and played Father Patton in writer/director John DeBellis' comedy "The Last Request" (2006). Meanwhile, TV viewers could catch him in a December 2006 episode of NBC’s dramatic comedy series "Las Vegas."
Recently, in 2007, Pastore could be seen as a neighborhood gangster in Louis Lombardi's gangster comedy movie "Dough Boys," acting opposite Daniel Baldwin in Scott Prestin's mafia thriller "The Devil's Dominoes," appear with Tara Reid, Ross Patterson and Vinnie Jones in Tommy Reid's comedy "7-10 Split," and became the father of a successful writer/director (played by James Madio) in Carmen Maria Milito's 25-minute comedy "Slice." On the small screen, he was spotted as a guest in an episode of The CW sitcom "Everybody Hates Chris" and NBC’s Emmy-winning sitcom "My Name Is Earl."
Pastore has wrapped upped his upcoming films, "Looking for Palladin," a comedy by writer/director Andrzej Krakowski in which he will star alongside Talia Shire, David Moscow and Ben Gazzara, and "P.J.," an inspiring drama by Russ Emanuel based on Mark Mcquown's award-winning play. He will soon complete Robert Rothbard's comedy "Pizza with Bullets," in which he will play an aging Mafia boss who thinks that a pizza parlor owner (played by Ronnie Marmo) is his missing son and Robert Hiltzik's horror/mystery "Return to Sleepaway Camp," in which he will play a greedy camp owner. He is currently filming Roger Kumble's comedy "College Road Trip" alongside Raven and Martin Lawrence, Arthur Alston's drama "Code Blue" with Sal Rendino and J.D. Williams, Eugene Celico's boxing drama "Thunder Doyle," in which he will play a shady man who runs an illegal boxing circuit, and Dante Tomaselli's horror "The Ocean," starring Dominique Swain.
After turning down an offer to join the reality show ''Dancing with the Stars,'' Pastore is set to compete in Donald Trump's show that will premiere on NBC in January 2008, ''Celebrity Apprentice,'' alongside Stephen Baldwin, Marilu Henner, Piers Morgan of "America's Got Talent," Gene Simmons and Trace Adkins. The winner will get $250,000 that will go to the winner's favorite charity. He is also thrilled to return onstage in the play ''Chicago.”
Radio listeners can also catch his voice while he is hosting "The Wise Guy Show" on Sirius Satellite Radio's Raw Dog Comedy channel Wednesdays from 6pm to 9pm.
Screen Actors Guild: Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series, "The Sopranos," 2000