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New York City, New York, USA
Place of Death
Los Angeles, California, USA
Cause of Death
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Profile Bio Text
Tony Franciosa, the handsome and talented movie and television actor who never quite lived up to his early promise, was born Anthony Papaleo on October 25, 1928 in New York City. Franciosa`s parents divorced shortly after his birth, and he never really knew his father. After graduating high school, Franciosa`s route to his acting career began on a serendipitous route: during a visit to a Y.M.C.A. to take a free dance lesson, Franciosa came across an audition for a play. Intrigued, Franciosa auditioned and was offered a part. He began acting professionally, taking his mother`s maiden name as his stage name, and had his breakthrough in Calder Willingham`s play End as a Man (1955), which opened off-Broadway at the Theatre de Lys on September 15, 1953 and transferred to Broadway on October 14th after 32 performances. Staged by Jack Garfein, the play co-starred Ben Gazzara (who won a Theatre World Award and would appear in the movie version), both of whom were associated with the Actors Studio, as was Franciosa. It was in 1955 that Franciosa first appeared in the role that would make him famous, that of Polo Pope, the brother of a heroin addict, in an Actors Studio workshop production of Michael V. Gazzo`s A Hatful of Rain (1957). The production later moved to Broadway, where Franciosa earned an Outer Critics Circle Award and a Tony Award nomination. Hollywood beckoned, and made his cinema debut in Robert Wise`s _This Could Be the Night (1957) with `Paul Douglas` and `Jean Simmons`. He also appeared in Actors Studio co-founder Elia Kazan`s A Face in the Crowd (1957) before reprising the role of Polo Pope in Fred Zinnemann`s film of "A Hatful of Rain." Franciosa won an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor in 1958 for "Hatful," and with his good looks, was a very hot commodity in Hollywood.
Franciosa followed up his strong debut by starring in a variety of top A-list films, including George Cukor`s Wild Is the Wind (1957), Martin Ritt`s The Long, Hot Summer (1958), and The Naked Maja (1958), in which he played Francisco Jose de Goya opposite Ava Gardner. His career began to run out of momentum almost as quickly as it had started, as he rapidly developed a reputation as a combative personality, earning him a reputation as "difficult". Although he starred in George Roy Hill`s adaptation of Tennessee Williams` Period of Adjustment (1962), by 1964, he was reduced to appearing in a TV series, "Valentine`s Day" (1964), which lasted a single season. In 1968, he was cast as one of three alternating leads in the television series "The Name of the Game," a spin-off from the 1966 TV movie "Fame Is The Name Of The Game" (the first TV-movie ever made as a pilot for a TV series that was subsequently picked up as a series). Although the TV show was popular with audiences, Franciosa was fired after appearing in the first two seasons; the network, NBC, justified giving him the sack by saying Franciosa`s mercurial temper was causing too many problems on the set. He continued to act in supporting roles in movies and starring roles in TV movies and series until he retired in 1996. He appeared in one last project, _Manifest Mysteries: Coronation (2006) (TV)_, shortly before his death on January 19, 2006 in Los Angeles, CA. He was 77 years old.
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Full Name at Birth
Anthony George Papaleo
Claim to Fame
A Face in the Crowd
Anthony Franciosa (October 25, 1928 – January 19, 2006), usually billed as Tony Franciosa during the height of his career, was an American film, TV and stage actor. He made several feature films, including Career (1959) for which he won the Golden Globe for Best Actor/Drama and A Face in the Crowd (1957). In television, along with many minor parts, he played lead roles in five major TV series: the sitcom Valentine's Day (1964–65), drama The Name of the Game (1968–71), Search (1972–73), Matt Helm (1975) and Finder of Lost Loves (1984). However, he began as a successful stage actor, gaining a Tony Award nomination for the drug-addiction play A Hatful of Rain.
1955 – 2006, 1955–2006
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