Sunday, September 4, 2016

Jon Polito Passes On

Jon Polito, the character actor who appeared in many Coen Brothers films as well as such films as The Rocketeer (1991) and The Crow (1994), died on September 1 2016 at the age of 65. The cause was multiple myeloma.

Jon Polito was born in Philadelphia on December 29 1950. He began acting while he was still in high school and attended Villanova University where he studied theatre. He made his debut on Broadway in American Buffalo in 1977. He appeared several more times on Broadway, appearing in the productions of The Curse of an Aching Heart (1982), Total Abandon (1983), and Death of a Salesman (1984). He made his television debut in the mini-series The Gangster Chronicles, playing Thomas "Three Finger Brown" Lucchese. He was a regular on the shows Ohara  and Crime Story. He guest starred on As the World Turns, Wiseguy, Miami Vice, Trying Times, and The Equaliser. He made his film debut in The Clairvoyant (1982). He appeared in the films The Princess and the Call Girl (1984), C.H.U.D. (1984), Compromising Positions (1985), Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins (1985), Dream Lover (1986) , Highlander (1986), Fire with Fire (1986), Critical Condition (1987), Homeboy (1988), The Freshman (1990), and Miller's Crossing (1990).

In the Nineties Jon Polito appeared in such films as Barton Fink (1991), The Rocketeer (1991), The Contenders (1993), The Hudsucker Proxy (1994), The Crow (1994), Blankman (1994), Inside Out (1997), The Big Lebowski (1998), Tale of the Mummy (1998), With Friends Like These... (1998), Carlo's Wake (1999), Stuart Little (1999),  Nowhere Land (2000), and The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle (2000). On television he starred as Detective Steve Crosetti on Homicide: Life on the Street. He had recurring roles on Hearts Are Wild and Dream On. He guest starred on such shows as Tales From the Crypt; Empty Nest; Dinosaurs; The Untouchables; Murder, She Wrote; Mad About You; Roseanne; Seinfeld; and New York Undercover.

In the Nineties Mr. Polito was a regular on The Chronicle and Raising the Bar. He guest starred on such shows as Gideon's Crossing, The Drew Carey Show, Becker, Crossing Jordan, Gilmore Girls, Judging Amy, Scrubs, My Wife and Kids, Ghost Whisperer, Las Vegas, Two and a Half Men, and Monk. He appeared in such films as The Singing Detective (2003), View from the Top (2003), The Box (2003), The Last Shot (2004), The Honeymooners (2005), Lies & Alibis (2006), Flags of Our Fathers (2006), American Gangster (2007), The Marconi Bros. (2008), and Stiffs (2010).

In the Teens Jon Polito had recurring roles on Murder in the First and Modern Family. He guest starred on such shows as It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Mike & Molly, Bunheads, Castle, and Major Crimes. He appeared in such films as Jonny Boy (2011), Gangster Squad (2013), Locker 13 (2014), and Big Eyes (2014).

Jon Polito also did a good deal of voice work in animated TV shows and features, as well as video games, including, but not limited to, the animated TV series Life with Louie, the animated TV series Batman Beyond, the animated TV series Avatar: The Last Airbender, and the animated film Happily N'Ever After.

Jon Polito was a very versatile actor. He played many gangsters in his career, including crime boss Phil Bartoli on Crime Story and Johnny Caspar in Miller's Crossing. He also played his share of generally smarmy characters, some less honest than others, including the crooked pawnbroker Gideon in The Crow and air show promoter Otis Bigelow in The Rocketeer. He also played his share of detectives, including  Steve Crosetti on Homicide: Life in the Street and Sherman in Stuart Little.  He could play anything from weak willed yes men like Lou Breeze in Barton Fink to tough guy cops like Detective Kemper in the TV movie Invasion. Jon Polito could play a wide variety of roles, so it is little wonder that he was so prolific. With his talent he was always an actor very much in demand.


***Dave said...

Headline says "Joe" rather than "Jon". Aside from that, a nice recap of a long career.

Terence Towles Canote said...

Thanks for letting me know. Autocorrect strikes again!