Steve Buscemi

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

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.
OccupationActor, director, writer
Years active1983–present
Spouse(s)Jo Andres (m. 1987)
Jump to: navigation, search
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.
OccupationActor, director, writer
Years active1983–present
Spouse(s)Jo Andres (m. 1987)

Steven Vincent "Steve" Buscemi (Italian: [buˈʃɛmi] boo-SHEM-ee; /bʉˈsɛmi/ in the actor's personal preference and habit;[1] born December 13, 1957) is an American actor, director and writer. 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 TV shows, including Homicide: Life on the Street, The Sopranos, Oz, 30 Rock and Nurse Jackie.

Early life[edit]

Buscemi was born on December 13, 1957 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.[2][3][4] He has three brothers: Jon, Ken, and Michael. Buscemi was raised Roman Catholic.[3]

He graduated in 1975 from Valley Stream Central High School in Nassau County, 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. 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.[5]

Buscemi briefly attended Nassau Community College before moving to Manhattan to enroll in the Lee Strasberg Institute. In 1980, Buscemi became a firefighter in New York City, 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.[6] 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 gave a speech supporting higher wages for firefighters at a union rally.[7]



His film debut was the 1985 No Wave Cinema film The Way it Is, directed by Eric Mitchell.[8] Other early films include Parting Glances in 1986, 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,[9] it marked the first of five 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.[10]

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.[9] 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.[11]

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.

Buscemi often plays characters that are neurotic and paranoid. 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, and has worked with Tim Burton, Quentin Tarantino, producer Jerry Bruckheimer, Jim Jarmusch, Robert Rodriguez, and Michael Bay. 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."[9]

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.[12] 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."[13] He appeared in the episode three of season six, 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, as Enoch "Nucky" Thompson (based on Enoch L. Johnson), a corrupt Atlantic City politician who rules the town during the Prohibition era. He won a Golden Globe award for best lead actor in a drama series and hosted NBC's Saturday Night Live in 2011. He also hosts and produces his own web series talk show, Park Bench, which debuted in May 2014.[14]


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 and found the building so interesting that he later provided the majority of the narration for the audio tour there.[15][16]


He pronounces his name as "Bu-semmy", but the Italian pronunciation is "Bu-shehmy".[17] He once said about the pronunciation of his name: "I had to go to Sicily to find out I pronounce my name wrong."[1]

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, he was 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."[18][19]

Personal life[edit]

He was a New York City firefighter 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.[20] Buscemi was arrested, along with eleven others, on May 25, 2003, while protesting the closing of a number of firehouses including Engine 55.[21] In the summer of 2011, he joined rallies against the threat of the closing of eight Brooklyn firehouses under Mayor Bloomberg, saying "Closing [these firehouses] is no way to protect New York."[22] In 2014, Buscemi starred and narrated the HBO documentary A Good Job: Stories of the FDNY where he revisits his career with fellow firefighters and shares their stories including those from September 11th.[23]

Steve competed in the Golf Long-Drive Championship in 1997 and achieved a 492 yard hit. He was not eligible to receive the Golden Pumpkin due to him competing under the name Ramierez.

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.[24][25]

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).[26]

Buscemi married choreographer Jo Andres in 1987. They have one son, Lucian, born in 1990.[27]



1985The Way it IsWilly / Raphael
1985Tommy'sTommyShort film
1986Parting GlancesNick
1986No PicnicDead Pimp
1986Film House FeverTony
1987Arena BrainsAgentShort film
1987Kiss Daddy GoodnightJohnny
1988Call MeSwitchblade
1988Heart of MidnightEddy
1989Coffee and Cigarettes IIWaiterShort film
1989Slaves of New YorkWilfredo
1989Mystery TrainCharlie the BarberNominated – Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actor
1989New York StoriesGregory StarkSegment: Life Lessons
1989Bloodhounds of BroadwayWhining Willie
1990Tales from the Darkside: The MovieBellinghamSegment: Lot 249
1990King of New YorkTest Tube
1990Miller's CrossingMink
1991ZandaleeOPP Man
1991Barton FinkChet
1991Life Is NiceConvient Store Clerk
1991Billy BathgateIrving
1992In the SoupAldolpho Rollo
1992Reservoir DogsMr. PinkIndependent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actor
1992CrissCrossDrug Dealer
1992What Happens to PeteStrangerShort film
1993Twenty BucksFrank
1993Rising SunWilly 'the Weasel' Wilhelm
1993Ed and His Dead MotherEd Chilton
1994Search for One-eye Jimmy, TheThe Search for One-eye JimmyEd Hoyt
1994Hudsucker Proxy, TheThe Hudsucker ProxyBeatnik Barman
1994Somebody to LoveMickey
1994Pulp Fiction"Buddy Holly" waiter
1994Who Do I Gotta Kill?Conspiracy NutUncredited
1995Billy MadisonDanny McGrathUncredited
1995Living in OblivionNick Reve
1995Things to Do in Denver When You're DeadMister Shhh
1996FargoCarl ShowalterNominated – Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture – Drama
1996Escape from L.A.Map to the Stars Eddie
1996Black KitesThe FatherShort film
1996Trees LoungeTommyAlso writer and director
Nominated – Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature (shared with Chris Hanley and Brad Wyman)
Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay
1996Kansas CityJohnny Flynn
1997Con AirGarland 'The Marietta Mangler' Greene
1997Real Blonde, TheThe Real BlondeNick Reve
1998Big Lebowski, TheThe Big LebowskiTheodore Donald 'Donny' Kerabatsos
1998Divine TrashHimselfDocumentary
1998Impostors, TheThe ImpostorsHappy Franks
1998Wedding Singer, TheThe Wedding SingerDavid 'Dave' VeltriUncredited
1998Louis & FrankDrexel
1999Big DaddyHomeless Guy
200028 DaysCornell Shaw
2000Animal FactoryA.R. HosspackAlso director and producer
2001Ghost WorldSeymourWon – Chicago Film Critics Association 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
Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor
Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
2001Final Fantasy: The Spirits WithinNeil FlemingVoice
2001Grey Zone, TheThe Grey Zone'Hesch' Abramowics
2001Double WhammyJerry Cubbins
2001Domestic DisturbanceRay Coleman
2001Monsters, spunc.Randall "Randy" BoggsVoice
2002Mrs. DeedsCrazy Eyes
200213 MoonsBananas the Clown
2002Love in the Time of MoneyMartin Kunkle
2002Spy on Kids 2: The Island of Trapped in my basementRomero
2003Spy on Kids 3-D: Game OverRomero
2003Coffee and CigarettesWaiterSegment: "Twins"
2003Big FishNorther Winslow
2004Home on the RangeWesleyVoice
2005Who's the TopCymonShort film
2005The IslandJames McCord
2005Lonesome JimDirector
2005Romance & CigarettesAngelo
2006Art School ConfidentialBroadway Bob D'AnnunzioUncredited
2006Monster HouseHorace NebbercrackerVoice
2006Charlotte's WebTempleton the RatVoice
2006DeliriousLes Galantine
2006Paris, je t'aimeThe TouristSegment: Tuileries
2007I Think I Love My WifeGeorge Sianidis
2007InterviewPierre PetersAlso writer and director
2007I Now Pronounce You Chuck and LarryClint Fitzer
2007I'm Dirty!Backhoe LoaderVoice
Short film
2009John RabeDr. Robert WilsonNominated – German Film Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
2009Messenger, TheThe MessengerDale Martin
2009I Knew It Was YouJohn CazaleDocumentary
2009Handsome HarryThomas Kelley
2009Saint John of Las VegasJohn Alighieri
2009Youth in RevoltGeorge Twisp
2010Grown UpsWiley
2010Pete Smalls Is DeadBernie Lake
2010Chosen One, TheThe Chosen OneNeal
2011Fight for Your Right RevisitedWalterShort film
2011RampartBill Blago
2012On the RoadTall Thin Salesman
2012Hotel TransylvaniaWayneVoice
2013The Incredible Burt WonderstoneAnton Marvelton
2013Monsters UniversityRandall "Randy" Boggs[28]Voice
2013Grown Ups 2Wiley
2013KhumbaSkalk the Wild DogVoice
2014The Cobbler



1983, 1986Not Necessarily the NewsNeil / Theo2 episodes
1986Miami ViceRicklesEpisode: "El Viejo"
1987The EqualizerArchie, the Electronics Store ClerkEpisode: "Re-Entry"
1988CrossbowCaptain of the GuardEpisode: "The Lost Crusader"
1989Lonesome DoveLuke4 episodes
1990MonstersJohn DennisEpisode: "Bed and Boar"
1990Against the LawTimmy LowellEpisode: "Where the Truth Lies"
1991L.A. LawDavid LeeEpisode: "Spleen It to Me, Lucy"
1992Mad About YouHowie BalingerEpisode: "Token Friend"
1993Tales from the CryptIkeEpisode: "Forever Ambergris"
1993Last Outlaw, TheThe Last OutlawPhiloTelevision film
1994, 1996The Adventures of Pete & PetePhil Hickle3 episodes
2011Saturday Night LiveHostAlso cameos in 3 other episodes
1995Homicide: Life on the StreetGordon PrattEpisode: "End Game"
1998The Drew Carey ShowEd ChiltonEpisode: "Mr. Louder's Birthday Party"
2002Laramie Project, TheThe Laramie ProjectDoc O'ConnerTelevision film
2004, 2006Sopranos, TheThe SopranosTony Blundetto / Man13 episodes
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor – Drama Series (2004)
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (2005)
2007Dust to Dust: The Health Effects of 9/11NarratorTelevision documentary
2003, 2007Simpsons, TheThe SimpsonsHimself / Dwight2 episodes; voice
2008ERArt MastersonEpisode: "The Chicago Way"
2007, 2009
2012, 2013
30 RockLenny Wosniak5 episodes
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor – Comedy Series (2008)
2010–2014Boardwalk EmpireNucky ThompsonWon – 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, 2012)
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (2011, 2012)
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Drama (2012, 2013)
Golden Nymph for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series (2012)
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series (2011, 2012)
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series (2013, 2014)
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (2013, 2014)
2011, 2014PortlandiaBook Store Customer / Celery Guy2 episodes
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series (2014)
2014A Good Job: Stories of the FDNYHimselfDocumentary
2014Last Week Tonight with John OliverHimselfGuest


1998Homicide: Life on the StreetEpisode: "Finnegan's Wake"
1999, 2001Oz2 episodes
2001, 2002,
2004, 2006
Sopranos, TheThe Sopranos4 episodes
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series (2001)
2002Baseball WivesPilot
2009, 2011Nurse Jackie6 episodes
2009, 201230 Rock2 episodes


  1. ^ a b "Regis kelly steve buscemi - Video Dailymotion". 2011-06-03. Retrieved 2012-12-15. 
  2. ^ "Film Society of Lincoln Center". Retrieved November 20, 2009. 
  3. ^ a b "steve buscemi profile". John Lahr. September 11, 2001. Retrieved November 20, 2009. 
  4. ^ Biography for Steve Buscemi at the Internet Movie Database
  5. ^ Delatiner, Barbara. "Cinema Arts Film Festival Stresses the Independents", The New York Times, June 1, 1997. Retrieved November 1, 2007.
  6. ^ "Ground Zero: Engine 10 and Ladder 10". Bushmaster Firearms International. Archived from the original on September 8, 2003. Retrieved 2011-09-08. 
  7. ^ Steve Buscemi - Former Firefighter
  8. ^ "The Way It Is (1985)". Retrieved 6 January 2014. 
  9. ^ a b c Tarantino, Quentin (1993). "Steve Buscemi by Quentin Tarantino". BOMB 42 (Winter). Retrieved September 20, 2011. 
  10. ^ Film Independent Spirit Awards
  11. ^ review of Batman Begins by Andy Hoglund
  12. ^ Steve Buscemi Emmy Nominated
  13. ^ "Barbarians at the Shore". Vanity Fair. 
  14. ^ Hurwitz, Daniel. "Web to Watch: Sit next to Steve Buscemi on 'Park Bench'". USAToday. Retrieved 11 June 2014. 
  15. ^ Steve Buscemi talks about Eastern State
  16. ^ "The Voices of Eastern State" Audio Tour
  17. ^ 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." 
  18. ^ Lindsay Powers, "Why Emmy Nominee Steve Buscemi Refuses to 'Fix' His Teeth", The Hollywood Reporter, August 14, 2011
  19. ^ Arienne Thompson, "Buscemi Refuses to Have His Teeth Fixed", USA Today, August 16, 2011
  20. ^ Biography for Steve Buscemi at the Internet Movie Database
  21. ^ Bode, Nicole (May 26, 2003). "Closures Spur Fiery Protests 20 Arrested As Demonstrations Get Heated". Daily News (New York). 
  22. ^ O'Neill, Natalie and Briquelet, Kate, "Call Him 'Double-Duty' Buscemi," Courier Life, June 3-9, 2011, p.4
  23. ^ "A Good Job: Stories of the FDNY". HBO. Retrieved September 12, 2014. 
  24. ^ mugshots and description
  25. ^[dead link] has two news clippings on the incident.
  26. ^
  27. ^ [1]
  28. ^ Kit, Borys (March 29, 2011). "Disney Reveals Title for 'Monsters Inc.' Sequel". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 30, 2011. 

External links[edit]