Steve Buscemi
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Steve Buscemi

Steve Buscemi
Steve Buscemi (41465) crop.jpg
Buscemi in 2018
Steven Vincent Buscemi

(1957-12-13) December 13, 1957 (age 63)
Alma materLee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute
  • Actor
  • director
  • writer
  • producer
  • firefighter (FDNY)
Years active1985-present
(m. 1987; died 2019)
Steve buscemi signature.png

Steven Vincent Buscemi ( boo-SEM-ee,[1][2][Note 1]Italian: [bu?':mi]; born December 13, 1957) is an American actor, director, writer, producer and former firefighter.[3] He has starred in a number of successful movies, including Reservoir Dogs (1992), Desperado (1995), Con Air (1997), Armageddon (1998), The Grey Zone (2001), Ghost World (2001), Big Fish (2003), and The Death of Stalin (2017). Buscemi is also known for his supporting roles in the Coen brothers films Miller's Crossing (1990), Barton Fink (1991), The Hudsucker Proxy (1994), Fargo (1996), and The Big Lebowski (1998).

Buscemi has worked prominently in animation, including voice-work for Randall Boggs in the Monsters, Inc. film franchise (2001-2013), Wesley in Home on the Range (2004), Horace Nebbercracker in Monster House (2006), Templeton in Charlotte's Web (2006), Scamper in Igor (2008), Bucky in G-Force (2009), Wayne the Werewolf in the Hotel Transylvania film franchise (2012-present) and Francis E. Francis in The Boss Baby (2017). From 2010 to 2014, Buscemi portrayed Enoch "Nucky" Thompson in the critically acclaimed television series Boardwalk Empire, which earned him two Screen Actors Guild Awards, a Golden Globe and two nominations for an Emmy Award. He made his directorial film debut with Trees Lounge (1996), in which he also starred. Other films he has directed include Animal Factory (2000), Lonesome Jim (2004), and Interview (2007). Buscemi played the role of Pete Wittel in the tragicomedy web series Horace and Pete (2016).

Early life

Buscemi was born in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, to John Buscemi, a sanitation worker and Korean War veteran, and Dorothy (née Wilson) Buscemi, a hostess at Howard Johnson's. Buscemi's father was of Italian descent; his ancestors were from the town of Menfi in Sicily. Buscemi's mother is of Irish, English, and Dutch ancestry.[4][5] He has three brothers--Jon, Ken, and Michael. Michael is also an actor. Buscemi was raised Catholic.[5]

The family moved to Valley Stream in Nassau County and Buscemi graduated in 1975 from Valley Stream Central High School along with classmate and future actress Patricia Charbonneau. In high school Buscemi wrestled for the varsity squad and participated in the drama troupe. (Buscemi's 1996 film Trees Lounge, in which he starred and served as screenwriter and director, is set in and was largely shot in his childhood village of Valley Stream.[6]) Buscemi briefly attended Nassau Community College before moving to Manhattan to enroll in the Lee Strasberg Institute.



Beginnings and rising popularity: 1985-1995

Buscemi made his acting debut in the 1985 film The Way It Is, directed by Eric Mitchell and produced by No Wave Cinema. Other early performances include Parting Glances (1986) and Slaves of New York (1988), as well as an appearance in an episode of the television series Miami Vice in 1986.[7] Buscemi received a nomination for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male for his role in Mystery Train, released in 1989.[8] In 1990, he played Mink in the Coen Brothers' Millers Crossing. [9] This was the first of five of the Coen Brothers' films in which Buscemi performed. Also that year, he starred as Test Tube, a henchman of Laurence Fishburne's character Jimmy Jump in Abel Ferrara's crime film King of New York,[10] as well as Edward in the anthology film Tales from the Darkside: The Movie, the protagonist of the "Lot 249" segment of the film.[11]

Buscemi in 1996

In 1991, he played a bellboy, Chet, in the Coen Brothers film Barton Fink.[12] His first lead role was as Adolpho Rollo in Alexandre Rockwell's In the Soup (1992).[13] He gained wider attention for his supporting part as pseudonymous criminal Mr. Pink in Quentin Tarantino's film Reservoir Dogs (1992),[14] a role that Tarantino originally wrote for himself,[9] and one that earned Buscemi the Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male in his second nomination.[15] Also in 1992, he had a guest role as Phil Hickle, Ellen's father and older Pete's guidance counselor, in The Adventures of Pete and Pete.[16] The following year, he starred as the eponymous character in the critically panned[17]horror comedy film Ed and His Dead Mother. He also appeared in a cameo appearance in Tarantino's next film, Pulp Fiction, where he portrays a waiter dressed as Buddy Holly who serves Mia Wallace and Vincent Vega.[18] In 1995, Buscemi guest-starred as suspected murderer Gordon Pratt in "End Game", an episode of the television series Homicide: Life on the Street. Buscemi was rumored to be considered for the role of The Scarecrow in Joel Schumacher's proposed fifth installment of the first Batman franchise, Batman Unchained, before Warner Bros. cancelled the project.[19]

Supporting roles and television work: 1996-2009

Throughout the late-1990s, Buscemi appeared in several films by the Coen Brothers (Joel and Ethan)

The next year, Buscemi again collaborated with the Coen Brothers, starring as kidnapper Carl Showalter in Fargo.[20] Subsequently, he gained a reputation as character actor,[21] with supporting roles as Garland Greene in Con Air (1997), Rockhound in Armageddon (1998) and Donny in The Big Lebowski (1999).[22] Going into the 2000s, Buscemi continued to co-star in supporting roles. He played Seymour in Ghost World (2001) and Romero in Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams (2002), as well as its successor Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over (2003). He also extensively performed voice-over work for animated films, playing Randall Boggs in Monsters, Inc. (2001), -- a role he later reprised in its prequel Monsters University (2013) -- Mr. Wesley in Home on the Range (2004), Nebbercracker in Monster House (2006) and Templeton the Rat in Charlotte's Web.[23][24][25]

Buscemi at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival

In 2004, Buscemi joined the cast of the television series The Sopranos as Tony Soprano's cousin and childhood friend, Tony Blundetto, a role that earned him an Emmy Award nomination.[26] Buscemi had previously contributed to the show as director of the third-season episode "Pine Barrens", which was one of the most critically acclaimed episodes of the series, and the fourth-season episode "Everybody Hurts".[27] He appeared in episode three of season 6 as a doorman in the afterlife, which is portrayed as a country club in Tony Soprano's dream. He also directed the episodes "In Camelot", the seventh episode of season 5, and "Mr. & Mrs. John Sacrimoni Request...", the fifth episode of season 6. As well, he appeared in the music video for Joe Strummer's cover version of Bob Marley's "Redemption Song".[28]

Current works: 2009-present

Buscemi starred in the HBO series Boardwalk Empire starting in 2010, as Enoch "Nucky" Thompson (based on Enoch L. Johnson), a corrupt Atlantic City politician who rules the town during the Prohibition era. He won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Television Series Drama for the role. In 2011 he hosted NBC's Saturday Night Live.[29][30]

He hosts, directs, and produces his own web series talk show, Park Bench, which debuted in May 2014.[31] In January 2016, Buscemi began co-starring alongside Louis C.K. in C.K.'s comedy-drama web series Horace and Pete.[32]


Buscemi has also worked as a director, making his directing debut in the 1990s. His directorial credits include:

In addition to feature films, he directed the television show Love (Netflix Web Series) and episodes of Homicide: Life on the Street; four episodes of The Sopranos, including one of the most critically acclaimed episodes: "Pine Barrens"; as well as two episodes of HBO's prison-drama series Oz, entitled "U.S. Male" and "Cuts Like a Knife". He has also directed two episodes of 30 Rock ("Retreat to Move Forward" and "Leap Day"), and six episodes of Showtime's Nurse Jackie. In the latter, his brother Michael played the character God in several episodes. While scouting a location for a film, Buscemi visited the Philadelphia Eastern State Penitentiary and found the building so interesting that he later provided the majority of the narration for the audio tour there.[33][34]

Buscemi and Lou Reed at a screening of the film Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers, 2006


In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Buscemi was adamant about not altering his misaligned teeth, saying, "I've had dentists who have wanted to help me out, but I say, 'You know, I won't work again if you fix my teeth.'"[35][36] Buscemi is noted for wrinkles around his eyes, giving them an aged appearance. "Buscemi eyes" describes the result when his eyes are photo-edited onto others' faces. He has stated that although he did not find this amusing, his wife Jo Andres did.[37]

Buscemi guest-starred in season 6 episode 7 of 30 Rock as a private investigator. Playing against his image, during a flashback he appears to be disguised as a teenager as he says that he was "part of a special task force of very young-looking cops who infiltrated high schools".[38][39] His character's disguise became an internet meme.[40]

Personal life

Buscemi grew up pronouncing his name as boo-SEM-ee, in an anglicized way. In Sicily, where his ancestors are from, it is pronounced as boo-SHEM-ee.[41] He once remarked, "I had to go to Sicily to find out I pronounce my name wrong."[1]

Buscemi was a New York City firefighter from 1980 to 1984, with Engine Company No. 55, in the Little Italy section of New York. The day after the 9/11 attacks in New York, he returned to his old firehouse to volunteer; he worked twelve-hour shifts for a week, and dug through rubble looking for missing firefighters.[42] On May 25, 2003, Buscemi was arrested with nineteen other people while protesting the closing of a number of firehouses, including Engine 55.[43]

Buscemi married Jo Andres in 1987; they were married until her death in early January 2019.[44] They had one son.[45]

In April 2001, Buscemi was in Wilmington, North Carolina, shooting the film Domestic Disturbance. He was stabbed multiple times after intervening in a bar fight between Vince Vaughn, Scott Rosenberg, and two local men, and was released from hospital after treatment.[46]

A guest in episode 13 of the genealogy series Who Do You Think You Are?, he was helped to trace his maternal ancestry to Julia Vanderhoof and Ralph B. Montgomery (1834-1878), individuals of Dutch and English descent. The program aired March 25, 2011.

In the middle of 2011, he joined rallies against the threat of the closing of eight Brooklyn firehouses during the administration of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, saying "Closing [these firehouses] is no way to protect New York."[47]

In 2014, Buscemi starred in and narrated the HBO documentary A Good Job: Stories of the FDNY, in which he revisited his work with fellow firefighters. He shares their stories, including those from September 11.[48]


Buscemi has a body of work in both film and television dating back to the 1980s.


Awards and nominations

Primetime Emmy Awards

Daytime Emmy Awards

Year Nominated work Category Result
2019 Outstanding Performer in a Preschool Animated Program Elena of Avalor: The Tides of Change Nominated[51]

Golden Globe Awards

Screen Actors Guild Awards

Independent Spirit Award

Year Nominated work Category Result
1990 Best Supporting Male Mystery Train Nominated
1993 Best Supporting Male Reservoir Dogs Won
1997 Best First Feature Trees Lounge Nominated
Best First Screenplay Nominated
2002 Best Supporting Male Ghost World Won

Other Awards

Association Year Category Nominated Work Result
20/20 Awards 2016 Best Actor Living in Oblivion Nominated
American Film Institute Awards 2002 Feature Actor of the Year - Male -- Movies Ghost World Nominated
American Comedy Awards 1997 Funniest Actor in a Motion Picture Fargo Nominated
Awards Circuit Community Awards 1996 Best Actor in a Supporting Role Won
Best Cast Ensemble Won
Behind the Voice Actors Awards 2013 Best Vocal Ensemble in a Feature Film Hotel Transylvania Nominated
2014 Best Vocal Ensemble in a Feature Film Monster's University Nominated
2015 Best Male Vocal Performance in a TV Special/Direct-to-Video Title or Short Khumba Nominated
Boston Society of Film Critics Awards 2001 Best Supporting Actor Ghost World Nominated
British Independent Film Awards 2017 Best Supporting Actor The Death of Stalin Nominated
Cannes Film Festival 1996 Golden Camera Award Trees Lounge Nominated
Chicago Film Critics Association Awards 1997 Best Supporting Actor Fargo Nominated
2002 Best Supporting Actor Ghost World Won
Chlotrudis Awards 1997 Best Director Trees Lounge Nominated
2002 Best Supporting Actor Ghost World Won
Crime Thriller Awards 2011 Best Leading Actor Boardwalk Empire Nominated
2012 Best Leading Actor Nominated
Critics Choice Television Awards 2011 Best Actor in a Drama Series Nominated
Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Awards 2002 Best Supporting Actor Ghost World Nominated
Directors Guild of America 1999 Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Series' - Night Homicide: Life on the Street Nominated
2002 Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Series' - Night The Sopranos Nominated
DVD Exclusive Awards 2003 Best Supporting Actor Double Whammy Nominated
Fantasporto Awards 2008 Best Screenplay Interview Won
Film Club's The Lost Weekend 2018 Best Supporting Actor The Death of Stalin Won
Florida Film Festival 1998 Special Achievement Award N/A Won
German Film Awards 2009 Best Supporting Actor John Rabe Nominated
Ghent International Film Festival 2005 Grand Prix Lonesome Jim Nominated
Gijon International Film Festival 2007 Best Feature Interview Nominated
Gold Derby Awards 2004 Drama Supporting Actor The Sopranos Nominated
2011 Drama Lead Actor Boardwalk Empire Nominated
Golden Schmoes Awards 2001 Best Supporting Actor of the Year Ghost World Nominated
Gotham Awards 2003 Tribute Award N/A Won
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards 2001 Best Supporting Actor Ghost World Won
Las Vegas Film Critics Society Awards 2002 Best Supporting Actor Won
Method Fest 2010 Feature Film Handsome Harry Nominated
Monte-Carlo TV Festival 2012 Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series Boardwalk Empire Nominated
MTV Movie + TV Awards 1997 Best On-Screen Duo (shared with Peter Stormare) Fargo Nominated
National Society of Film Critics Awards 2002 Best Supporting Actor Ghost World Won
New York Film Critics Circle Awards 2001 Best Supporting Actor Won
New York Film Critics Online Best Supporting Actor Won
News & Documentary Emmy Awards 2015 Outstanding Business and Economic Reporting - Long Form Independent Lens Won
Online Film & Television Association Awards 2002 Best Supporting Actor Ghost World Nominated
2004 Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series The Sopranos Nominated
2008 Best Guest Actor in a Drama Series ER Nominated
2011 Best Actor in a Drama Series Boardwalk Empire Won
Best Ensemble in a Drama Series Won
2012 Best Actor in a Drama Series Nominated
Best Ensemble in a Drama Series Nominated
2013 Best Actor in a Drama Series Nominated
Best Ensemble in a Drama Series Nominated
2014 Best Guest Actor in a Comedy Series Portlandia Nominated
Online Film Critics Society Awards 2002 Best Supporting Actor Ghost World Won
Philadelphia Film Festival 2005 American Independents Award N/A Won
Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards 2002 Best Supporting Actor Ghost World Nominated
San Diego Film Critics Society Awards 2001 Special Award Ghost World
Monsters, Inc.
Double Whammy
Domestic Disturbance
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within
San Jordi Awards 1997 Best Foreign Actor Fargo

Living in Oblivion

Satellite Awards Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture -- Drama Fargo Nominated
2002 Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture -- Comedy or Musical Ghost World Nominated
2011 Best Actor in a Series -- Drama Boardwalk Empire Nominated
Saturn Awards 1998 Best Supporting Actor Con Air Nominated
Southeastern Film Critics Association Awards 2001 Best Supporting Actor Ghost World Nominated
Stockholm Film Festival 2000 Bronze Horse Award Animal Factory Nominated
Sundance Film Festival 2005 Dramatic Lonesome Jim Nominated
Television Critics Association Awards 2011 Individual Achievement in Drama Boardwalk Empire Nominated
Toronto Film Critics Association Awards 2001 Best Supporting Performance - Male Ghost World Nominated
Vancouver Film Critics Circle Awards 2002 Best Actor Won
Village Voice Film Poll Awards 2001 Best Supporting Performance Won


  1. ^ As stated in interviews by Buscemi himself, some may insist that his pronunciation of his own name is "wrong" because it does not match the original Italian pronunciation as well. It is not uncommon for people to pronounce his name boo-SHAY-mee instead.


  1. ^ a b "Regis kelly steve buscemi - Video Dailymotion". June 3, 2011. Retrieved 2012.
  2. ^ "How to Pronounce 'Steve Buscemi' -- Running Late with Scott Rogowsky". RunningLateShow. June 4, 2014. Retrieved 2017.
  3. ^ "Steve Buscemi - Former Firefighter". Archived from the original on April 9, 2008.
  4. ^ "Film Society of Lincoln Center". Archived from the original on October 11, 2008. Retrieved 2009.
  5. ^ a b "Steve Buscemi profile". John Lahr. September 11, 2001. Archived from the original on October 29, 2011. Retrieved 2009.
  6. ^ Delatiner, Barbara. "Cinema Arts Film Festival Stresses the Independents", The New York Times, June 1, 1997. Retrieved November 1, 2007.
  7. ^ Wood, Jenner M. (October 22, 2013). "27 Actors Who Got Their Starts on Miami Vice". Mental Floss. Retrieved 2016.
  8. ^ "2011 Film Independent Spirit Awards" (PDF). Film Independent Spirit Awards. 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 22, 2012.
  9. ^ a b Tarantino, Quentin (1993). "Steve Buscemi by Quentin Tarantino". BOMB. 42 (Winter). Retrieved 2017.
  10. ^ "King of New York (1990)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2018.
  11. ^ "Tales from the Darkside: The Movie (1994)". British Film Institute. Retrieved 2020.
  12. ^ "Barton Fink (1991)". Box Office Mojo. 1991. Retrieved 2008.
  13. ^ Maslin, Janet (October 3, 1992). "In the Soup (1992) From Art-Loving Gangster To a Menacing Hemophiliac". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016.
  14. ^ "Reservoir Dogs (1992)". American Film Institute. Retrieved 2020.
  15. ^ "'Homeboys', 'Idaho' Lead Spirit Nominees". Chicago Tribune. January 23, 1992. Retrieved 2012.
  16. ^ Kurp, Joshua. "The Ten Most Memorable Guest Stars of The Adventures of Pete and Pete". Splitsider. Archived from the original on February 24, 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  17. ^ Thomas, Kevin (November 17, 1993). "Script and Cast Can't Save 'Mother'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2014.
  18. ^ "The Secrets of 'Pulp Fiction': 20 Things You Didn't Know About the Movie on Its 20th Anniversary" Archived March 15, 2017, at the Wayback Machine. The Daily Beast. Retrieved March 15, 2017.
  19. ^ review of Batman Begins by Andy Hoglund
  20. ^ "Fargo (1995)". British Film Institute. Archived from the original on July 14, 2012. Retrieved 2015.
  21. ^ Graham-Dixon, Charles (December 14, 2017). "Steve Buscemi: 10 essential films". British Film Institute. Retrieved 2020.
  22. ^ "Steve Buscemi Profile". AllMovie. Retrieved 2020.
  23. ^ Ebert, Roger. "Big Fish Movie Review & Film Summary (2003)". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2016.
  24. ^ Eisenberg, Eric (August 20, 2011). "Monsters University Voice Cast And Plot Details Announced At D23". Cinema Blend. Retrieved 2016.
  25. ^ "Ghost World". Cineplex Entertainment. Archived from the original on March 6, 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  26. ^ "Steve Buscemi". Television Academy.
  27. ^ Wolcott, James (September 30, 2010). "Barbarians at the Shore". Vanity Fair.
  28. ^ D'Angelo, Joe. "Joe Strummer Leaves Final Mark On New York With New Video". MTV. Retrieved 2016.
  29. ^ Ocasio, Anthony. "012 Golden Globe Awards: Winners List". Screen Rant. Retrieved 2016.
  30. ^ Staff, THR. "'Saturday Night Live' Hosted by Steve Buscemi: What the Critics Are Saying (Video)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2016.
  31. ^ Hurwitz, Daniel (May 15, 2014). "Web to Watch: Sit next to Steve Buscemi on 'Park Bench'". USAToday. Retrieved 2014.
  32. ^ Kreps, Daniel (January 15, 2016). "Louis C.K. Surprise-Releases New Series 'Horace and Pete' With Steve Buscemi". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2016.
  33. ^ "Steve Buscemi talks about Eastern State". Archived from the original on April 6, 2013.
  34. ^ "The Voices of Eastern State Audio Tour". Archived from the original on May 14, 2013.
  35. ^ Lindsay Powers, "Why Emmy Nominee Steve Buscemi Refuses to 'Fix' His Teeth", The Hollywood Reporter, August 14, 2011.
  36. ^ Arienne Thompson, "Buscemi Refuses to Have His Teeth Fixed", USA Today, August 16, 2011.
  37. ^ Samantha Grossman (June 10, 2014). "Steve Buscemi Addresses Internet Memes On Late Night With Seth Meyers".
  38. ^ Steve Buscemi - 30 Rock on YouTube
  39. ^ "30 Rock - Season 6, Episode 7: The Tuxedo Begins -". CBS Interactive.
  40. ^ "How Do You Do, Fellow Kids?". Know Your Meme. Retrieved 2020.
  41. ^ Cook, Kevin (August 10, 2011). "Playboy Interview: Steve Buscemi". Playboy: 41. Archived from the original on August 4, 2016. Retrieved 2011. I say Bu-semmy. I don't mind Bu-shemmy, though. That's the correct Sicilian pronunciation, from the old country.
  42. ^ "Ground Zero: Engine 10 and Ladder 10". Bushmaster Firearms International. Archived from the original on September 8, 2003. Retrieved 2011.
  43. ^ Bode, Nicole (May 26, 2003). "Closures Spur Fiery Protests 20 Arrested As Demonstrations Get Heated". New York Daily News. New York City: Tribune Publishing. Retrieved 2003.
  44. ^ MaslowW, Alexia; Fernandez, Nick (January 12, 2019). "Steve Buscemi's Wife of Over 30 Years, Jo Andres, Dies at 65". People. United States: Meredith Corporation. Retrieved 2019.
  45. ^ D'Zurilla, Christie (December 14, 2010). "Michael C. Hall divorce has him alone among fellow Golden Globe nominees". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times Communications LLC. Retrieved 2010.
  46. ^ Reuters (April 13, 2001). "Buscemi Stabbed, Vaughn Arrested in Bar Brawl". ABC News. New York City: ABC. Retrieved 2018.
  47. ^ O'Neill, Natalie and Briquelet, Kate, "Call Him 'Double-Duty' Buscemi", Courier Life, June 3-9, 2011, p.4.
  48. ^ "A Good Job: Stories of the FDNY". HBO. New York City: Home Box Office, Inc. (WarnerMedia). Retrieved 2014.
  49. ^ "FDNY - Honorary Battalion Chief Steve Buscemi". FDNY -
  50. ^ "FDNY Honor Legion - Honorary Battalion Chief Steve Buscemi". FDNY Honor Legion.
  51. ^ "The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Announces Nominations for the 46th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards" (PDF). Emmy Awards Official Site. The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. March 20, 2019. Retrieved 2019.

External links

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