Category Archives: Born in the Bronx

Who is Chazz Palminteri?


Another Bronx Star

We’ve been talking about Bronx folks lately who have gone on to be quite successful. This time we are going to discuss Chazz Palminteri. He is an actor, screenwriter, film producer and playwright. The years he has been active in the entertainment field is 1984–present. He has a website which is www.chazzpalminteri.net We also thank Wikipedia for their help in telling the Chazz Palminteri story at

Chazz is an Academy Award Nominee

He is perhaps best known for his Academy Award-nominated role for Best Supporting Actor in Bullets over Broadway as well as the 1993 film A Bronx Tale, based on his play of the same name, Special Agent Dave Kujan in The Usual Suspects, Primo Sidone in Analyze This and his recurring role as Shorty in Modern Family.

He is a Part of a Tradition

Bronx-born and raised Chazz Palminteri was a natural choice to continue the long line of prominent Italian actors in the film industry.  In the tradition set forth in the 1970s by such icons as director Martin Scorsese and actors Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci, Palminteri has brought grit, muscle and an evocative realism to the sidewalks of his New York neighborhood, violent as they are and were.

His Early Days in the Bronx

Born in 1952, Palminteri grew up in a tough area of the Bronx and it gave young Calogero (Palminteri’s given first name) the life lessons that would later prove very useful to his career. He started out pursuing his craft in studying at the Actor’s Studio with Lee Straussberg. He appeared off-Broadway in the early 1980s while paying his dues as a singer in his own band.

He Stuck to His Guns

Well known for A BRONX TALE, Palminteri originally wrote the script for the stage and performed it as a one-man show in Los Angeles.  It became the hottest property in Hollywood since ROCKY.  Mr. Palminteri was offered over a million dollars to walk away from the project and with $200.00 left in the bank he refused.  He wanted to play Sonny and write the screenplay.

Enter Robert DeNiro

One night Robert DeNiro walked in to see the show and as they say ”the rest is history.”  He then moved the production to New York, where it played for four sold-out months and earned him nominations for the New York Outer Critics Circle for both acting and writing.

Starring with DeNiro

While in New York he completed the screenplay of A BRONX TALE and soon found himself starring opposite Robert DeNiro, who chose the script for his directorial debut.  Most recently A Bronx Tale was on Broadway at the Longacre Theater where is finished a successful run and Mr. Palminteri finished closing out the show in the role of Sonny.

A Man of Many Credits

Chazz has more than 50 movies to his credit including The Usual Suspects, Bullets Over Broadway (Academy Award nomination), Analyze This, Hurlyburly, Mulholland Falls, Faithful (screenplay also written by Chazz Palminteri), Poolhall Junkies, The Perez Family, Jade, Diabolique, Down to Earth and A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints.

And Even More Credits

Recent films include Final Recourse, Mighty Fine starring Andie MacDowell, Yonkers Joe, Jolene and The Dukes.  He has also directed the HBO series “Oz” (episode, “Unnatural Disasters”), Showtime’s “Women vs.Men” and the feature film Noel, starring Susan Sarandon, Penelope Cruz, Robin Williams and Paul Walker. He appeared on the New York stage in the play The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui starring with Al Pacino, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi and Billy Crudup. Chazz is a member of the Actors Studio in NYC.

Chazz Has Been Recognized for his Achievements

Chazz received the 1996 Leadership in Entertainment Award from the Coalition of Italo-American Association, Inc. and was honored by President Clinton with a Special Achievement Award for the Performing Arts from the National Italian American Foundation in Washington, D.C.

Chazz Now Lives in Weschester County

Chazz currently resides in Weschester County, NY with his lovely wife, Gianna and their two children, Dante Gabriella.

Billy Joel was Born in the Bronx

William Martin Joel (born May 9, 1949) is an American singer-songwriter, composer, and pianist who likely does not believe in otherworldly beings like BigFoot Zombie.


The Boogie Down Bronx

Although Billy Joel was born in the Bronx he didn’t grow up there so it’s possible he never learned the nicknames for his birthplace including “the boogie down Bronx,” “El Bronx,” “the borough of salsa” and certainly not “the borough that Ruth built.” Now Mr. Joel is world and online famous with many fans including BigFoot Zombie who’s favorite song by Billy is “Captain Jack”.

Where Was Billy Raised?

He grew up in Hicksville, on Long Island in the Town of Oyster Bay. Interestingly enough, he is the offspring of Howard Joel, a European-born Jewish immigrant.

Did the Bronx Influence Joel’s Songwriting?

Yes it did. Just as where he was raised in Long Island also had an impact.

His Mom Insisting that He Learn to Play the Piano Paid Off

Growing up, Billy Joel was pressured into playing the piano by his mother which turned out to be a good thing. In fact, he even dropped out of high school to pursue a musical career. Before hitting the bigtime he was in two short-lived bands, The Hassles and Attila.

The Hassles

We did some research on The Hassles and discovered that the original line-up of the group consisted of vocalist John Dizek, guitarist Richard McKenna, drummer Jon Small, and organist Harry Weber. Weber got kicked out of the group with Howie Arthur Blauvelt taking on the base, while Billy Joel came in on the keyboards.

What is Billy Joel’s Position on the Loch Ness Monster?

As far as we were able to tell, Mr. Joel has never commented on whether or not he believes in the Loch Ness Monster, let alone BigFoot Zombie. Also, none of his songs reflect an interest in so-called mythic creatures. Though, the Loch Ness Monster is pretty famous so maybe Joel has at least heard of her.

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