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Anthony LaPaglia Biography

  • Profession: Actor
  • Born: Jan 31, 1959
  • Died: Jan 1, 0001

Despite spending the first 25 years of his life in Adelaide, Australia, Anthony LaPaglia is best known for playing street-savvy Italian New Yorkers. This was not, however, LaPaglia's original plan. Rather than testing the waters of show business, LaPaglia traveled to the United States intending to pursue a full-time teaching career. As luck would have it, however, one of LaPaglia's odd jobs was a small role in [[Feature~V10191~Cold Steel~coldsteel]] (1987), a low-budget detective drama. LaPaglia began pursuing theater and television in his spare time -- one of his more notable early performances was in 1988's [[Feature~V132819~Frank Nitti: The Enforcer~nitti]] -- and considered himself a full-time actor by 1989, when he made his feature-film debut in [[Feature~V45128~Slaves of New York~slavesofnewyork]]. It was 1990, however, when the young actor earned critical recognition for his role as an exceedingly polite mobster in [[Feature~V5155~Betsy's Wedding~betsyswedding]].

LaPaglia continued to build his resumé throughout the early '90s, most of which he spent playing either kindly policemen or good-hearted mobsters, and was delighted to work alongside a variety of noted actors so early in his career. Among those actors were [[Performer~P79264~Alan Alda~alanalda]] in [[Feature~V5155~Betsy's Wedding~betsyswedding]], [[Performer~P37277~Michael Keaton~michaelkeaton]] in [[Feature~V36367~One Good Cop~onegoodcop]] (1991), and [[Performer~P40372~Nathan Lane~nathanlane]], [[Performer~P68496~Sharon Stone~sharonstone]], and [[Performer~P3164~Kevin Bacon~kevinbacon]] in [[Feature~V21760~He Said, She Said~hesaidshesaid]] (1992). Later in 1992, LaPaglia could be found playing his first leading role in [[Performer~P90925~George Gallo~georgegallo]]'s gangster farce [[Feature~V210~29th Street~29thstreet]]. Though the film did not fare particularly well, audiences were nonetheless impressed with LaPaglia's intensity, and he played a more serious gangster with great success opposite [[Performer~P63158~Susan Sarandon~susansarandon]] in [[Feature~V131219~The Client~theclient]] (1994). The actor switched gears for his next handful of films; in [[Feature~V133565~Mixed Nuts~mixednuts]] (1994) he played a disillusioned Santa Claus, while [[Feature~V135828~Empire Records~empirerecords]] (1995) found him as a down-on-his-luck store manager, and the Australian-helmed [[Feature~V135942~Brilliant Lies~brilliantlies]] (1996) featured him as the defendant in a sketchy sexual-harassment case.

Despite a smattering of mediocre films between 1995 and the early 2000s, LaPaglia continued to earn critical acclaim for many of his endeavors, such as [[Performer~P9838~Steve Buscemi~stevebuscemi]]'s directorial debut, [[Feature~V136352~Trees Lounge~treeslounge]] (1996), for which LaPaglia joined a star-studded supporting cast, as well as for his role as a detective in [[Performer~P99175~Spike Lee~spikelee]]'s [[Feature~V180140~Summer of Sam~summerofsam]] (1999). Luckily for him, 2000 and 2001 proved excellent for his career, as it was during this period that he played a wealthy businessman in [[Feature~V212189~The House of Mirth~thehouseofmirth]] and an adulterous police detective in [[Feature~V248917~Lantana~lantana]]. In addition to receiving international success, [[Feature~V248917~Lantana~lantana]] earned LaPaglia the prestigious Best Actor award from the Australian Film Institute, as well as a nomination from the Film Critics Circle. In the meantime, he was adding several major television credits to his resumé, including a starring role as the head of the FBI's Missing Persons Squad on CBS's [[Feature~V273395~Without a Trace~withoutatrace[tvseries]]], and a recurring role on the long-running sitcom [[Feature~V258668~Frasier~frasier[tvseries]]], a performance for which he would receive an Emmy in 2002. Far removed from his fledgling days as a teacher, 2002 also found LaPaglia working with [[Performer~P38142~Val Kilmer~valkilmer]] for [[Feature~V256715~The Salton Sea~thesaltonsea]]; [[Performer~P75144~Sigourney Weaver~sigourneyweaver]] for [[Feature~V273164~The Guys~theguys]]; [[Performer~P17593~Robert De Niro~robertdeniro]] and [[Performer~P86318~Billy Crystal~billycrystal]] in [[Feature~V260381~Analyze That~analyzethat]]; and [[Performer~P68432~Eric Stoltz~ericstoltz]] in [[Feature~V300919~Happy Hour~happyhour]]. In 2003, after filming [[Feature~V283936~Manhood~manhood]] with [[Performer~P196031~Janeane Garofalo~janeanegarofalo]] and the late [[Performer~P60400~John Ritter~johnritter]], LaPaglia agreed to star in director [[Performer~P395920~Josh Sternfeld~joshsternfeld]]'s [[Feature~V305806~Winter Solstice~wintersolstice]] (2004).

Over the next several years, LaPaglia would appear in a number of big screen projects, like Balibo and Overnight. ~ Tracie Cooper, Rovi