“My favorite review described me as the cinematic equivalent of junk mail.”
Steven Vincent Buscemi was born on this day in Brooklyn, New York, USA in 1957. He is 55 years old.
Buscemi is part Irish and part Italian, he’s one of four boys born to John Buscemi, a sanitation worker, and Dorthy Buscemi a hostess. He went to Valley Stream Central High School where he wrestled and acted. After graduating in 1975 he attended Nassau Community College then moved Manhattan to attend the Lee Strasberg Institute. He worked on FDNY Engine #55 as a fire fighter. He has worked as a bartender, a stand-up comedian, an ice-cream truck driver before breaking into acting. One of his brothers, Michael, is also an actor.
He made his film debut with a short called Tommy’s (in which he played Tommy), in 1985. He took on the odd ball, character actor roles — often the mafia types and worked in dozens of TV shows and movies. When he hooked up with the Coen Brother’s his off beat sensibilities found a home.
As of 2010, has appeared in six Coen Brothers films (Miller’s Crossing (1990), The Hudsucker Proxy (1994), Barton Fink (1991), Fargo (1996), The Big Lebowski (1998), and Paris, je t’aime (2006)), more than any other actor. [IMDB.com]
He played Mr. Pink in Quentin Tarntino’s Reservoir Dogs. Then paired up with the director again for a bit part in Pulp Fiction.
Buscemi was brilliant as Carl Showalter, the can’t-catch-a-break smal-time crook in Fargo.
His movie and tv CV is impressive, and he’s the kind of actor where you see a movie title and you think “Oh, yeah, he WAS in that.” From Templeton the Rat (in 2006’s Charlotte’s Web) to Donny (in 1998’s The Big Lebowski) to Lenny Wosniak (his recurring guest spot on 30 Rock) Buscemi is wonderful to watch — even when you want to turn away.
Most recently he’s been the star of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. As amoral Nucky Thompson he manages to hang on to a thread of inner humanity to keep his character viable. And , oh, yeah, he’s a hoot. (When he’s not killing people.)