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Steve Buscemi Bio: Star of Boardwalk Empire

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Steven Vincent Buscemi was born December 13th, 1957 in Brooklyn, New York. He landed his first acting gig in the 1985, and his first part in a major soon after with the drama “Parting Glances,” where he portrayed a gay songwriter who was dying of AIDS. Afterward, Buscemi appeared in a string of projects, and became a prominent face within the crime genre, comedies, alongside the likes of Adam Sandler, and box office juggernauts such as "Armageddon." Perhaps most of all, he will forever be known as the cowardly Mr. Pink from Quentin Tarantino's "Reservoir Dogs." Join as we take a look at the career of Steve Buscemi.

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Steve Buscemi Bio: Star of Boardwalk Empire

Mr. Pink has taken on more roles than you think! Welcome to and today we’re taking a look at the career of Steve Buscemi.

Steven Vincent Buscemi was born December 13th, 1957 in Brooklyn, New York. In his youth, he was outgoing and active. He participated in his high school’s drama troupe and was a wrestler for the varsity squad.

After developing a passion for acting, Buscemi moved to Manhattan following his graduation from community college to enroll at the Lee Strasberg Institute. Despite his deep-rooted desire to entertain, he worked as a New York City firefighter between 1980 and 1984, and sometimes performed stand-up comedy for his fellow workers.

Following this, he finally landed his first acting gig in the 1985 film “Tommy’s.” However, his first part in a major film came two years later in the drama “Parting Glances,” where he portrayed a gay songwriter who was dying of AIDS.

Buscemi soon began appearing in a string of projects, including the comedy-drama “Slaves of New York” and the anthology film “Tales from the Darkside.” There, he played a college student who unleashes a mummy on his fellow classmates Julianne Moore and Christian Slater.

Next, Buscemi began his long involvement with the crime genre. He played a henchman named Test Tube in 1990’s “King of New York,” and appeared in the Coen brothers’ gangster film “Miller’s Crossing.” In fact, this was the first of several collaborations between Buscemi and the Coens. The next was his role as a bellboy named Chet in the film “Barton Fink.” Interestingly, the Coen brothers often had Buscemi killed in shocking and gruesome ways in their films.

Soon after, Buscemi was given his first lead role as a self-conscious screenwriter in the 1992 independent comedy “In the Soup.” That same year, he made huge waves with audiences as the anonymous criminal Mr. Pink in Quentin Tarantino’s “Reservoir Dogs.” This low-budget crime film centered on the events surrounding a failed diamond robbery, and Buscemi’s character was actually based on the director himself.

In the years that followed, Buscemi further endeared himself to audiences with a slew of memorable and oddball performances in blockbuster films. These included his part as the soft-spoken serial killer called “the Marietta Mangler” in “Con Air,” his portrayal of a cocky nuclear war-head-riding geologist in “Armageddon,” and his role as a member of the Dude’s bowling team in “The Big Lebowski.”

Meanwhile, he appeared in a number of Adam Sandler comedies, while also earning critical praise for his role as a small-time thief-turned-kidnapper in “Fargo.” Buscemi even lent his voice to a lizard-like creature in Dreamworks’ “Monsters Inc.”

Despite his busy schedule, Buscemi somehow managed to find time between projects to not only star in, but also to make his writing and directorial debut with the feature “Trees Lounge.” In that film, he played an alcoholic bar patron who was on a rampage of self-destructive behavior.

Unfortunately, life soon imitated art when Buscemi was stabbed at a bar by a similar character, while he was hanging out with actor Vince Vaughn. He was hospitalized, and has since had to wear makeup to cover a scar on his face.

In 2001, he earned several awards and nominations for his role as Seymour in “Ghost World.” By 2004, Buscemi began appearing regularly on “The Sopranos” as Tony’s cousin and childhood friend. This segue into television not only prompted numerous other TV roles, but also garnered the actor an Emmy Award nomination.

His most successful television appearance to date was his starring spot as a corrupt politician during the prohibition era in HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire,” and that role earned him multiple accolades and awards.

This character actor has often been typecast as sleazy or crazed personalities, and has rarely been cast as a romantic lead. Nonetheless, with an average of five film roles per year, Buscemi remains one of today’s most prolific and talented actors.

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