Steve Buscemi

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Steve Buscemi
Steve Buscemi 2009 portrait.jpg
Buscemi at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival
BornSteven Vincent Buscemi
(1957-12-13) December 13, 1957 (age 56)
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
ResidencePark Slope, Brooklyn
OccupationActor, director, writer
Years active1983–present
Spouse(s)Jo Andres (1987–present)
ChildrenLucian (son)[1]
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Steve Buscemi
Steve Buscemi 2009 portrait.jpg
Buscemi at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival
BornSteven Vincent Buscemi
(1957-12-13) December 13, 1957 (age 56)
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
ResidencePark Slope, Brooklyn
OccupationActor, director, writer
Years active1983–present
Spouse(s)Jo Andres (1987–present)
ChildrenLucian (son)[1]

Steven Vincent "Steve" Buscemi (Italian: [buˈʃɛmi] boo-SHEM-ee; /bʉˈsɛmi/ in the actor's personal preference and habit;[2] born December 13, 1957) is an American actor, writer and director. An associate member of the renowned experimental theater company The Wooster Group,[3] Buscemi has starred and supported in successful Hollywood and indie films, including Parting Glances, New York Stories, Mystery Train, Reservoir Dogs, Desperado, Con Air, Armageddon, The Grey Zone, Ghost World and Big Fish; and the HBO television series The Sopranos. He is also known for his appearances in many films by the Coen brothers: Miller's Crossing, Barton Fink, The Hudsucker Proxy, Fargo and The Big Lebowski.

Since 2010, he has starred in the critically acclaimed series Boardwalk Empire, which earned him two Screen Actors Guild Awards, a Golden Globe, and two nominations for an Emmy Award. He made his directorial debut in 1996, with Trees Lounge, in which he also starred. Other works include Animal Factory (2000), Lonesome Jim (2005) and Interview (2007). He has also directed numerous episodes of television shows, including Homicide: Life on the Street, The Sopranos, Oz, 30 Rock and Nurse Jackie.

Early life[edit]

Buscemi was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Dorothy (née Wilson), who worked as a hostess at Howard Johnson's, and John Buscemi, a sanitation worker and Korean War veteran. Buscemi's father was of Italian descent; his ancestors were from the town of Menfi in Sicily. Buscemi's mother was of Irish, English, and Dutch ancestry.[4][5][6] He has three brothers: Jon, Ken, and Michael. Buscemi was raised Roman Catholic.[5]

He graduated in 1975 from Valley Stream Central High School in Valley Stream, New York, a school which he attended with actress Patricia Charbonneau. In high school, Buscemi wrestled for the varsity squad and participated in the drama troupe, at the time directed by Mr. Lynne C. Lappin. Buscemi's 1996 film Trees Lounge, in which he not only starred but served as screenwriter and director, is set in and was largely shot in his childhood village of Valley Stream.[7] He worked in Alexander's department store in Valley Stream as well.

Buscemi briefly attended Nassau Community College before moving to Manhattan to enroll in the Lee Strasberg Institute. In 1980, Buscemi became a New York City Firefighter, after taking a civil service test in 1976 when he was 18. For four years, Buscemi served on FDNY's Engine Co. 55 in Manhattan's Little Italy.[8] After 9/11, Buscemi returned to Engine 55 and for several days worked 12-hour shifts alongside other firefighters to sift through the rubble from the World Trade Center. In 2003 he also gave a speech supporting higher wages for firefighters at a union rally. [9]



His film debut was in the 1986 film Parting Glances, in which he portrayed Nick, a gay man dying of AIDS. Other early films include Slaves of New York in 1988, and Tales from the Darkside, a 1990 film with three segments. Buscemi starred in the first segment, playing Bellingham, a college student who orders a mummy and unleashes it on fellow college students played by Christian Slater and Julianne Moore. In 1990, Buscemi had a couple of additional crime roles. He played the henchman of Laurence Fishburne named Test Tube in Abel Ferrara’s King of New York. He also played Mink in the Coen Brothers' Millers Crossing. Although he had to audition twice for this role,[10] it marked the first of six of the Coen Brothers' films in which Buscemi appeared. Before his work with the Coen Brothers, he appeared in Jim Jarmusch's anthology film Mystery Train, released in 1989, for which he received an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Supporting Male.[11]

In 1991, he played the bellboy, Chet, in the Coen Brothers film, Barton Fink. His first lead role was in 1992, where he played Adolpho Rollo in Alexandre Rockwell's In the Soup. Then he came to public attention for playing Mr. Pink in Quentin Tarantino’s 1992 film, Reservoir Dogs, a role that Tarantino wrote for himself.[10] In 1995, Buscemi played suspected cop-shooter Gordon Pratt in the episode "End Game" at the end of a three-episode arc of Homicide: Life on the Street. He also had a role as Phil Hickle, Ellen's father and older Pete's guidance counselor, in The Adventures of Pete and Pete, as well as guest-starring in Miami Vice in 1986. Buscemi was rumored to be considered for the role of The Scarecrow in Joel Schumacher's proposed fifth installment of the first Batman franchise, Batman Triumphant, before Warner Bros. cancelled the project.[12]

Buscemi in 1996

Buscemi's other most notable character roles include Garland Greene in Con Air, Rockhound in Armageddon, Randall Boggs in Monsters, Inc. and Monsters University, Donny in The Big Lebowski, Carl Showalter in Fargo, Norther Winslow in Big Fish and Seymour in Ghost World, for which he won several awards.

He often plays characters that are neurotic and paranoid. He has appeared in a number of films by the Coen Brothers, in which his characters tend to die in grisly, prolonged or unexpected manners. He has frequently appeared in Adam Sandler films such as Airheads, Billy Madison, The Wedding Singer, Big Daddy, Mr. Deeds, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, and Grown Ups. He also has worked with Tim Burton, Quentin Tarantino, producer Jerry Bruckheimer, Jim Jarmusch, Robert Rodriguez, and Michael Bay on various occasions.

He has said of his work "I don’t think of myself as having a career. I think of having jobs. When I work, I want to have good jobs. I want to do interesting films. I also want to make a living. You don’t always work on the things that you can put your heart into, so it’s good to work on things that you can get into one hundred percent."[10]

In 2002, Steve contributed to Lou Reed's concept album The Raven with the song "Broadway Song", and poems "Old Poe" and "The Cask". In 2003, Buscemi made a brief celebrity guest appearance as himself on the long-running Fox animated television show The Simpsons in the episode "Brake My Wife, Please". Most recently, Buscemi provided the voice for Dwight, a bank robber whom Marge promises to visit in jail if he turns himself in to the authorities. This episode, entitled "I Don't Wanna Know Why the Caged Bird Sings", originally aired on October 14, 2007. In 2004, Buscemi joined the cast of The Sopranos as Tony Soprano's cousin and childhood friend, Tony Blundetto, a role for which he was nominated an Emmy Award.[13] Buscemi had previously contributed to the show as director of the third season episode "Pine Barrens", which was one of the most critically acclaimed episodes of the series, and the fourth season episode "Everybody Hurts."[14] He appeared in the third episode of season 6, as a doorman in the afterlife, which is portrayed as a country club, in Tony Soprano's dream. He returned to direct the episodes "In Camelot", the seventh episode of season five, and "Mr. & Mrs. John Sacrimoni Request...", the fifth episode of season 6. He also appeared in the music video of the Bob Marley track cover of Joe Strummer's (who died before it was shot) "Redemption Song" with a graffiti portrait.

Buscemi currently stars in the HBO series Boardwalk Empire, playing Enoch "Nucky" Thompson (based on Enoch L. Johnson), a corrupt Atlantic City politician who rules the town during the Prohibition era. Buscemi won a Golden Globe award for best lead actor in a drama series and hosted NBC's Saturday Night Live in 2011.


Buscemi has worked extensively as a writer and director since making his debut feature during the 1990s. His directorial credits include:

In addition to feature films, he directed episodes of the television shows Homicide: Life on the Street, four episodes of The Sopranos, including one of the most critically acclaimed episodes; Pine Barrens, as well as two episodes of HBO's prison-drama series Oz, entitled "U.S. Male" and "Cuts Like a Knife". He has also directed two episodes of 30 Rock ("Retreat to Move Forward" and "Leap Day") and six episodes of Showtime's Nurse Jackie. In the latter, his brother Michael played the character God in several episodes.

While scouting a location for a film, Buscemi visited the Philadelphia Eastern State Penitentiary. He found the building so interesting that he later provided the majority of the narration for the audio tour there.[15][16]

Personal life[edit]

Buscemi was a New York City fire fighter from 1980 to 1984, with Engine Company No. 55, in the Little Italy section of New York. He showed up at his old firehouse the day after the 9/11 attacks in New York to volunteer, working twelve-hour shifts for a week, and digging through rubble looking for missing firefighters.[17] Buscemi was arrested, along with eleven others, on May 25, 2003, while protesting the closing of his former firehouse.[18]

Buscemi pronounces his name as "Bu-semmy", but the Italian pronunciation is "Bu-shehmy".[19] He once said about the pronunciation of his name: "I had to go to Sicily to find out I pronounce my name wrong."[2] In April 2001, while shooting the film Domestic Disturbance in Wilmington, North Carolina, Buscemi was slashed and badly scarred on the face while at the Firebelly Lounge, intervening in a bar fight between his friends Vince Vaughn, screenwriter Scott Rosenberg and a local man, who allegedly instigated the brawl.[20][21] Buscemi, in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, is adamant about not altering his famously misaligned teeth, saying "I've had dentists who have wanted to help me out, but I say, 'You know, I won't work again if you fix my teeth."[22][23] He was in an episode of Who Do You Think You Are?, where he traced his maternal ancestry back to Julia Vanderhoof and Ralph B. Montgomery (1834-1878).[24]


1986Parting GlancesNick
Miami ViceRicklesSeason 3 Episode 7 "El Viejo" also guest stars Willie Nelson
1987Kiss Daddy GoodnightJohnny
1988Call MeSwitchblade
Heart of MidnightEddy
1989Slaves of New YorkWilfredo
Mystery TrainCharlie the BarberNominated – Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actor
Lonesome DoveLukeTelevision
New York StoriesGregory Stark
Bloodhounds of BroadwayWhining Willie
1990MonstersJohn DennisEpisode: 'Bed and Boar'
Tales from the Darkside: The MovieBellinghamSegment: "Lot 249"
King of New YorkTest Tube
Miller's CrossingMink
1991ZandaleeOPP Man
Barton FinkChet
Billy BathgateIrving
1992In the SoupAldolpho Rollo
Reservoir DogsMr. PinkIndependent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actor
CrissCrossDrug Dealer
1993Twenty BucksFrank
Rising SunWilly 'the Weasel' Wilhelm
Ed and His Dead MotherEd Chilton
Adventures of Pete & Pete, TheThe Adventures of Pete & PetePhil HickleTelevision
Tales from the CryptIkeTelevision
1994Search for One-eye Jimmy, TheThe Search for One-eye JimmyEd Hoyt
Hudsucker Proxy, TheThe Hudsucker ProxyBeatnik Barman at Ann's 440
Pulp Fiction"Buddy Holly" waiter
Last Outlaw, TheThe Last OutlawFormer Confederate soldier and outlaw PhiloTelevision
Who Do I Gotta Kill?Uncredited
FelidaeArchieEnglish dub
1995Billy MadisonDanny McGrathUncredited
Living in OblivionNick Reve
Things to Do in Denver When You're DeadMister Shhh
1996FargoCarl ShowalterNominated – Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture – Drama
Escape from L.A.Map to the Stars Eddie
Trees LoungeTommyAlso writer and director
Nominated – Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature (shared with Chris Hanley and Brad Wyman)
Nominated – Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay
Nominated – Chlotrudis Award for Best Director
Kansas CityJohnny Flynn
1997Con AirGarland 'The Marietta Mangler' Greene
Real Blonde, TheThe Real BlondeNick Reve
1998Big Lebowski, TheThe Big LebowskiTheodore Donald 'Donny' Kerabatsos
Divine TrashHimself
Impostors, TheThe ImpostorsHappy Franks
Wedding Singer, TheThe Wedding SingerDavid 'Dave' VeltriUncredited
1999Big DaddyHomeless Guy
200028 DaysCornell Shaw
Animal FactoryA.R. HosspackAlso director
2001Ghost WorldSeymourChicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Chlotrudis Award for Best Supporting Actor
Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actor
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor
Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor
National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor
Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor
Vancouver Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor
Village Voice Film Poll – Best Supporting Performance
Nominated – American Film Institute Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
Nominated – Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated – Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Final Fantasy: The Spirits WithinNeil FlemingVoice
Grey Zone, TheThe Grey Zone'Hesch' Abramowics
Double WhammyJerry Cubbins
Domestic DisturbanceRay Coleman
Monsters, Inc.Randall "Randy" BoggsVoice
2002Mr. DeedsCrazy Eyes
13 MoonsBananas the Clown
Laramie Project, TheThe Laramie ProjectDoc O'Conner
Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost DreamsRomero
2003Spy Kids 3-D: Game OverRomero
Coffee and CigarettesWaiter (Segment "Twins")
Big FishNorther Winslow
2004–06Sopranos, TheThe SopranosTony Blundetto / ManTelevision
Actor (14 episodes) / Director (4 episodes)
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series (2001)
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor – Drama Series (2004)
2004Home on the RangeWesleyVoice
2005Lonesome JimDirector
Island, TheThe IslandJames McCord
2006Art School ConfidentialBroadway Bob D'AnnunzioUncredited
Monster HouseHorrace NebbercrackerVoice film and motion capture
Charlotte's WebTempleton the RatVoice
Dust to Dust: The Health Effects of 9/11NarratorTelevision
2007I Think I Love My WifeGeorge Sianidis
Paris, je t'aimeThe tourist (segment 'Tuileries')
InterviewPierre PetersAlso director
I Now Pronounce You Chuck and LarryClint Fitzer
Simpsons, TheThe SimpsonsDwightVoice only
Television (Episode: "I Don't Wanna Know Why the Caged Bird Sings")
DeliriousLes Galantine
Romance & CigarettesAngelo
30 RockLenny WosniakTelevision (5 episodes)
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor – Comedy Series (2008)
2008ERMr. MastersonTelevision (1 Episode)
John RabeDr. Robert WilsonNominated – German Film Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (2008)
Messenger, TheThe MessengerDale Martin
I Knew It Was YouInterviewed in documentary about John Cazale
Handsome HarryThomas Kelley
2010Saint John of Las VegasJohn Alighieri
Youth in RevoltGeorge Twisp
Grown UpsWiley
Chosen One, TheThe Chosen OneNeal
2010–presentBoardwalk EmpireEnoch "Nucky" ThompsonTelevision
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Drama (2011)
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series(2011–12)
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (2011–12)
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Drama (2012, 2013)
Nominated – Golden Nymph for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series (2012)
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series (2011–12)
Nominated – Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series (2013)
Nominated – Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (2013)
2011PortlandiaBook Store CustomerTelevision
Saturday Night LiveHost
RampartBill Blago
2012On the RoadTall Thin Salesman
Hotel TransylvaniaWayneVoice
2013The Incredible Burt WonderstoneAnton Marvelton
Monsters UniversityRandall "Randy" Boggs[25]Voice
Grown Ups 2Wiley
KhumbaSkalk the Wild DogVoice
2014The CobblerFilming


  1. ^ Stewart, Henry (August 9, 2011). ""What's On Steve Buscemi's Stoop?" Tumblr Shut Down". L Magazine. Retrieved December 15, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Regis kelly steve buscemi - Video Dailymotion". 2011-06-03. Retrieved 2012-12-15. 
  3. ^ "Steve Buscemi". Retrieved April 21, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Film Society of Lincoln Center". Retrieved November 20, 2009. 
  5. ^ a b "steve buscemi profile". John Lahr. September 11, 2001. Retrieved November 20, 2009. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ Delatiner, Barbara. "Cinema Arts Film Festival Stresses the Independents", The New York Times, June 1, 1997. Retrieved November 1, 2007.
  8. ^ "Ground Zero: Engine 10 and Ladder 10". Bushmaster Firearms International. Archived from the original on September 8, 2003. Retrieved 2011-09-08. 
  9. ^ Steve Buscemi - Former Firefighter
  10. ^ a b c Tarantino, Quentin (1993). "Steve Buscemi by Quentin Tarantino". BOMB 42 (Winter). Retrieved September 20, 2011. 
  11. ^ Film Independent Spirit Awards
  12. ^ review of Batman Begins by Andy Hoglund
  13. ^ Steve Buscemi Emmy Nominated
  14. ^ "Barbarians at the Shore". Vanity Fair. 
  15. ^ Steve Buscemi talks about Eastern State
  16. ^ "The Voices of Eastern State" Audio Tour
  17. ^ Biography for Steve Buscemi at the Internet Movie Database
  18. ^ Bode, Nicole (May 26, 2003). "Closures Spur Fiery Protests 20 Arrested As Demonstrations Get Heated". Daily News (New York). 
  19. ^ Kevin Cook (September 2011). "Playboy Interview: Steve Buscemi". Playboy: 41. "I say Bu-semmy. I don't mind Bu-shemmy, though. That's the correct Sicilian pronunciation, from the old country." 
  20. ^ mugshots and description
  21. ^[dead link] has two news clippings on the incident.
  22. ^ Lindsay Powers, "Why Emmy Nominee Steve Buscemi Refuses to 'Fix' His Teeth", The Hollywood Reporter, August 14, 2011
  23. ^ Arienne Thompson, "Buscemi Refuses to Have His Teeth Fixed", USA Today, August 16, 2011
  24. ^
  25. ^ Kit, Borys (March 29, 2011). "Disney Reveals Title for 'Monsters Inc.' Sequel". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 30, 2011. 

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