Giancarlo Esposito

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Giancarlo Esposito
Giancarlo Esposito - Monte-Carlo Television Festival.jpg
Esposito at the 2013 Monte-Carlo Television Festival
BornGiancarlo Giuseppe Alessandro Esposito
(1958-04-26) April 26, 1958 (age 56)
Copenhagen, Denmark
OccupationActor, film director, film producer
Years active1966–present
Spouse(s)Joy McManigal (1995–?; divorced)
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Giancarlo Esposito
Giancarlo Esposito - Monte-Carlo Television Festival.jpg
Esposito at the 2013 Monte-Carlo Television Festival
BornGiancarlo Giuseppe Alessandro Esposito
(1958-04-26) April 26, 1958 (age 56)
Copenhagen, Denmark
OccupationActor, film director, film producer
Years active1966–present
Spouse(s)Joy McManigal (1995–?; divorced)

Giancarlo Giuseppe Alessandro Esposito (born April 26, 1958) is an American actor, director, and producer of African-Italian descent. He is best known for his portrayal of Gustavo "Gus" Fring on the AMC series Breaking Bad, for which he won the Best Supporting Actor in a Drama award at the 2012 Critics' Choice Television Awards and was nominated for an Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series award at the 2012 Primetime Emmy Awards. He is well known for his roles in Spike Lee films such as Do the Right Thing, School Daze, and Mo' Better Blues. Other notable films include The Usual Suspects and King of New York. He has portrayed Sidney Glass/Magic Mirror on ABC's Once Upon a Time and Major Tom Neville in the NBC series Revolution.

Early life[edit]

Esposito was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, the son of an Italian father and an African-American mother. His mother was an opera and nightclub singer from Alabama, and his father was a stagehand and carpenter from Naples.[1][2][3] Esposito lived in Europe until the family settled in Manhattan when he was six.


Esposito made his Broadway debut (1966) at age eight playing a slave child opposite Shirley Jones in the short-lived Maggie Flynn.[4]

During the 1980s, Esposito appeared in films such as Maximum Overdrive, King of New York, and Trading Places, and TV shows such as Miami Vice and Spenser: For Hire. He played J.C. Pierce, a cadet in the 1981 movie Taps. In 1988, he landed his breakout role as the leader ("Dean Big Brother Almighty") of the black fraternity "Gamma Phi Gamma" in director Spike Lee's film School Daze. Over the next four years, Esposito and Lee collaborated on three other movies: Do the Right Thing, Mo' Better Blues, and Malcolm X. During the 1990s Esposito appeared in the acclaimed indie films Night on Earth, Fresh and Smoke, as well as its sequel Blue in the Face. He also appeared in the mainstream film Reckless with Mia Farrow and Waiting to Exhale starring Whitney Houston and Angela Bassett.

Esposito is known for his portrayal of FBI agent Mike Giardello on the TV crime drama Homicide: Life on the Street. That role reflected both his black and Italian heritage; he portrayed the character during the show's seventh and final season. Mike's estranged father, shift lieutenant Al Giardello, is portrayed as subject to racism, something Esposito's character practiced in School Daze. Another biracial role was Sergeant Paul Gigante in the television comedy series, Bakersfield P.D. (Fox Broadcasting Company, 1993–94).

In 1997, Esposito played the role of Darryl in Trouble on the Corner and Charlie Dunt in Nothing to Lose. Other TV credits include NYPD Blue, Law & Order, The Practice, New York Undercover, and Fallen Angels: Fearless.

Esposito has portrayed drug dealers (Fresh, Breaking Bad, King of New York), cops (The Usual Suspects, Derailed), political radicals (Bob Roberts, Do the Right Thing) and even a demonic version of the Greek God of Sleep Hypnos from another dimension (Monkeybone). He played Cassius Marcellus Clay, Sr. in Ali and Nuyorican poet Miguel Piñero's friend and collaborator Miguel Algarín in Piñero, both released in 2001.

In 2006, Esposito starred in Last Holiday as Senator Dillings, alongside Queen Latifah and Timothy Hutton. Also in 2006, he played an unsympathetic Detective named Esposito in the 2006 film, Hate Crime. The film explores homophobia.

Esposito played Robert Fuentes, a Miami businessman with shady connections, on the UPN television series South Beach. He has appeared in New Amsterdam and CSI: Miami. He recorded a public service announcement for Deejay Ra's hip hop literacy campaign to encourage reading about Muhammad Ali. In Feel the Noise (2007), he played ex-musician Roberto, the Puerto Rican father of Omarion Grandberry's character, aspiring rap star "Rob".

Gospel Hill (2008) was Esposito's directorial debut; he also produced the film and starred in it. New York theatre credits for Esposito include The Me Nobody Knows, Lost in the Stars, Seesaw, and Merrily We Roll Along. In 2008 he appeared on Broadway as Gooper in an African American production of Tennessee Williams' Pulitzer Prize-winning drama Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, directed by Debbie Allen and starring James Earl Jones, Phylicia Rashad, Anika Noni Rose, and Terrence Howard.

From 2009 to 2011, Esposito appeared in seasons 2 through 4 of the AMC drama Breaking Bad, as Gus Fring, the head of a New Mexico-based methamphetamine drug ring and the show's primary antagonist in the fourth season. Esposito received critical acclaim for this role. As noted above, he won the Best Supporting Actor in a Drama award at the 2012 Critics' Choice Television Awards and was nominated for an Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series award at the 2012 Primetime Emmy Awards, but lost to co-star Aaron Paul. Esposito appears in Rabbit Hole (2010), with Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart. He also appeared in an episode of the series Leverage, reuniting with his Taps co-star Hutton.

Esposito appeared in the first season of the ABC program Once Upon a Time that debuted in the fall of 2011. He portrayed the split role of Sidney, a reporter for The Daily Mirror in the town of Storybrooke, Maine, who in actuality is the Magic Mirror, possessed by The Evil Queen in a parallel fairy tale world.[5] Esposito currently appears in Revolution as Major Tom Neville, a central character who kills Ben Matheson in the pilot and escorts a captured Danny back to the capital of the Monroe Militia in Philadelphia.[6]

Esposito has also appeared in Community as a guest star for an episode entitled "Digital Estate Planning". He then reappeared in the fourth season, in the episode titled "Paranormal Parentage".[7] Esposito has additionally appeared in a video of the action role-playing sci-fi first-person shooter Destiny, as well as playing The Dentist, a non-playable story character, in the game Payday 2.

He has joined the DC Universe Animated Original Movies series. He played Ra's al Ghul in Son of Batman and is set to portray Black Spider in the upcoming Batman: Assault on Arkham.

Personal life[edit]

Esposito married Joy McManigal in 1995; they later divorced. He has 4 daughters.[8]



1979RunningPuerto Rican Teenager
1981The Gentleman BanditJamieTelevision film
1981TapsCadet Captain JC Pierce
1983Trading PlacesCellmate
1983Enormous Changes at the Last MinuteJulio
1984Go Tell it on the MountainJulio
1984The Cotton ClubBumpy Hood
1985Finnegan Begin AgainIntruderTelevision film
1985Desperately Seeking SusanStreet Vendor
1986Maximum OverdriveVideoplayer
1986RockabyeMarcusTelevision film
1987Sweet LorraineHowie
1988School DazeJulian
1989Do the Right ThingBuggin' Out
1990Mo' Better BluesLeft Hand Lacey
1990King of New YorkLance
1991Harley Davidson and the Marlboro ManJimmy Jiles
1991Night on EarthYoYo
1992Bob RobertsJohn Alijah "Bugs" Raplin
1992Malcolm XThomas Hayer
1995The Usual SuspectsJack Baer
1995Blue in the FaceTommy
1995The KeeperPaul LamontCo-producer
1995Waiting to ExhaleDavid MatthewsUncredited
1997Nothing to LoseCharlie Dunt
1997Big City BluesGeorgie
1998StardustMr. PeavyTelevision film
1998TwilightReuben Escobar
1998CreatureLt. Thomas PenistonTelevision film
1998ThirstDr. Lawrence CarverTelevision film
1998Naked City: Justice with a BulletChaz VillanuevaTelevision film
2000Homicide: The MovieOfficer Mike GiardelloTelevision film
2001AliCassius Marcellus Clay, Sr.
2001PiñeroMiguel Algarín
2003Ash TuesdayKarl
2003Blind HorizonJC Reynolds
2004Doing Hard TimeCaptain PierceDirect-to-DVD
2004A Killer WithinVargas
2005Hate CrimeDet. Esposito
2005Chupacabra: Dark SeasDr. PeñaDirect-to-DVD
2005I Will Avenge You, Iago!Director
2005Back in the DayBenson Copper
2005Carlito's Way: Rise to PowerLittle JeffDirect-to-DVD
2005DerailedDetective Franklin Church
2006Last HolidaySenator Dillings
2006SherrybabyParole Officer Hernandez
2006RainKen Arnold
2007Racing DaylightFred / Drifter
2007The BoxDetective Dwayne Burkhalter
2007ManoNinoShort film
2007Feel the NoiseRoberto
2008Gospel HillDr. PalmerDirector and producer
2008XenophobiaYoungTelevision film
2010Rabbit HoleAuggie
2011S.W.A.T.: FirefightInspector HollanderDirect-to-DVD
2011CertaintyFather Heery
2012Alex CrossDaramus Holiday
2012Dreaming AmericanDaytona LeMansShort film
2013Over / UnderOliver OhrtTelevision film
2014Requiem for the Big EastNarrator[9]
2014Son of BatmanRa's al Ghul (voice)Direct-to-DVD
2014Batman: Assault on ArkhamBlack Spider (voice)Direct-to-DVD
2014Poker NightBernard
2015The Jungle BookAkela (voice)Filming[10]
2015The Maze Runner: Scorch TrialsJorgeFilming


1982Sesame StreetMickey5 episodes
1982Guiding LightClay Tynan
1984–1985Miami ViceLuther / Ricky / Adonis Jackson3 episodes
1985–1986American PlayhouseElisha / Simon Fernandes2 episodes
1986The EqualizerJumpin' JackEpisode: "The Line"
1987Spenser: For HireRamosEpisode: "On the Night He Was Betrayed"
1987Leg WorkTysonEpisode: "Blind Trust"
1990LifestoriesJulioEpisode: "Jerry Forchette"
1993The American ExperienceDr. Kenneth ClarkEpisode: "Simple Justice"
1993–1994Bakersfield P.D.Detective Paul Gigante17 episodes
1995New York UndercoverAdolfo Guzman3 episodes
1995Fallen AngelsParis MintonEpisode: "Fearless"
1996Chicago HopeCherchez LaFemmeEpisode: "Right to Life"
1996Swift JusticeAndrew Coffin3 episodes
1996–1998NYPD BlueFerdinand Hollie / Jamaal2 episodes
1996Living SingleJackson TurnerEpisode: "Kiss of the Spider Man"
1996The Tomorrow ManJonathan DriscollPilot
1996–2005Law & OrderMr. Baylor / Rodney Fallon3 episodes
1998The HungerVampireEpisode: "Fly-By-Night"
1998–1999Homicide: Life on the StreetFederal Agent Mike Giardello22 episodes
2000Touched by an AngelAntonioEpisode: "Here I Am"
2000–2001The $treetTom Divack12 episodes
2001Strong MedicineJames BellEpisode: "Mortality"
2001100 Centre StreetJacob LenzEpisode: "Andromeda and the Monster"
2002The PracticeRay McMurphyEpisode: "Pro Se"
2002Third WatchFather RomeroEpisode: "The Unforgiven"
2002Girl ClubNicholas Hahn9 episodes
20045ive Days to MidnightTim Sanders4 episodes
2004NYPD 2069Lt. GarnerPilot
2005Law & Order: Trial by JuryOrlando RamirezEpisode: "Boys Will Be Boys"
2006South BeachRobert Fuentes5 episodes
2006Ghost WhispererElyEpisode: "Fury"
2006BonesRichard BenoitEpisode: "The Man in the Morgue
2006Las VegasReggie ArchibaldEpisode: "White Christmas"
2006–2008CSI: MiamiChief Braga2 episodes
2007KidnappedVance2 episodes
2008New AmsterdamSpecial Agent James LawsonEpisode: "Legacy"
2009–2011Breaking BadGustavo "Gus" Fring24 episodes
2010LeverageAlexander MotoEpisode: "The Scheherazade Job"
2010Lie to MeBeau HackmanEpisode: "Black and White"
2010Detroit 1-8-7Eddie HendersonEpisode: "Shelter"
2011Criminal Minds: Suspect BehaviorGordon RamirezEpisode: "The Time is Now"
2011–2014Once Upon a TimeSidney Glass/Magic Mirror12 episodes
2012–2013CommunityGilbert Lawson2 episodes
2012NYC 22Harvey Williams2 episodes
2012–2014RevolutionTom Neville41 episodes
2013Timms ValleyPruit Normings (voice)Pilot
2013Axe CopArmy Chihuahua (voice)2 episodes

Video Games[edit]

2014Payday 2The DentistVoice & likeness in trailers

Awards and nominations[edit]

YearAssociationCategoryNominated workResult
1995Independent Spirit AwardsBest Supporting MaleFreshNominated
1995National Board of ReviewBest CastThe Usual SuspectsWon
1999NAACP Image AwardsOutstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama SeriesHomicide: Life on the StreetNominated
2011NAACP Image AwardsOutstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama SeriesBreaking BadNominated
2011Saturn AwardsBest Guest Starring Role on TelevisionBreaking BadNominated
2012Critics' Choice Television AwardsBest Supporting Actor in a Drama SeriesBreaking BadWon
2012Primetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama SeriesBreaking BadNominated
2012Satellite AwardsBest Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television FilmBreaking BadNominated
2012Saturn AwardsBest Supporting Actor on TelevisionBreaking BadNominated
2012Screen Actors Guild AwardsOutstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama SeriesBreaking BadNominated
2013Saturn AwardsBest Supporting Actor on TelevisionRevolutionNominated


  1. ^ LeVasseur, Andrea (c:a 2003). "Giancarlo Esposito Pictures, Biography, Filmography, News, Videos". All Movie Guide. Starpulse. Retrieved 2009-04-10.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  2. ^ "Giancarlo Esposito Biography (1958–)". Film Reference. NetIndustries, LLC. Retrieved 2009-04-10. Giancarlo Giuseppi Alessandro Esposito; born April 26, 1958, in Copenhagen, Denmark; raised in New York, NY; father, a stagehand and carpenter; mother, an opera and nightclub singer; married Joy McManigal (a producer), June 1995; children: Shayne Lyra, Kale Lyn 
  3. ^ "Giancarlo Esposito and confrontation". Los Angeles Times. 
  4. ^,_Giancarlo/Biography/
  5. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (July 18, 2011). "TV BITS: Giancarlo Esposito To Join ABC Series, Howie Mandel To Produce Reality Format, Ben Silveran To Publish Comic". Deadline. Media Corp. Retrieved July 18, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Major Tom Neville". IMDB. Retrieved 9 April 2013. 
  7. ^ Kronke, David (February 17, 2012). "Exclusive: Giancarlo Esposito Talks About His Community Guest Shot". TV Guide. Retrieved February 18, 2012. 
  8. ^ Heisler, Steve (7 October 2011). "Giancarlo Esposito". AV Club. Retrieved 8 October 2011. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Disney’s ‘Jungle Book’ Adds Christopher Walken & Giancarlo Esposito". July 28, 2014. Retrieved July 28, 2014. 

External links[edit]