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Vincent Gardenia

Vincent Gardenia and wife at 1988 Academy Awards
Born Vincenzo Scognamiglio
January 7, 1922(1922-01-07)[1]
Naples, Italy
Died December 9, 1992 (aged 70)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Vincent Gardenia (January 7, 1922 – December 9, 1992)[1] was an Italian American stage, film, and television actor.


Early life

Gardenia was born Vincenzio Scognamiglio in Naples, Italy,[2] the son of Elisa and Gennaro Gardenia Scognamiglio. After emigrating to the United States at the age of 2, he lived most of his life in Brooklyn, New York.[2] As a child, he performed in a family acting troupe in Italian-American neighborhoods in and around New York City.[2]


Gardenia began acting in the theater at age 28, and his off Broadway debut was in The Man with the Golden Arm in 1956.[2] He described his role in the film Little Murders as a "turning point".[2] He won Obie Awards in 1960 and 1969.[2]

In 1972, he won a Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play for his performance in The Prisoner of Second Avenue and in 1979 he was nominated for Best Actor in a Musical for his performance in Ballroom. In film, he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performances in Bang the Drum Slowly and Moonstruck.

In television, Gardenia won the 1990 Emmy Award for his performance in Age-Old Friends, with Hume Cronyn.[3] Among his best remembered TV roles is his portrayal of Frank Lorenzo, Archie Bunker's neighbor on All in the Family (1973-74).


Gardenia died of a heart attack in Philadelphia in 1992. He is interred in Saint Charles Cemetery in Farmingdale, Long Island, New York. A section of 16th Avenue in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York, where he lived until his death, bears the secondary name of Vincent Gardenia Boulevard in his honor.


Year Film Role Notes
1945 The House on 92nd Street police trainee
1962 A View From the Bridge Liperi
1960 Murder, Inc. Lawyer Laslo
1961 The Hustler Bartender
1967 The Rat Patrol Colonel Centis
1971 Little Murders Mr. Newquist
Cold Turkey Mayor Wappler
1973 Bang the Drum Slowly Dutch Schnell Nominated - Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
1973-74 All in the Family Frank Lorenzo
1974 Death Wish Det. Frank Ochoa
1974 The Front Page Sheriff Pete Hartmann
1977 Fire Sale Benny Fikus
1982 Death Wish II Det. Frank Ochoa
1986 Movers & Shakers
Little Shop of Horrors Mr. Mushnik
1987 Moonstruck Cosmo Castorini Nominated — Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
1989 Skin Deep Barny the Barkeeper
1991 The Super Big Lou Kritski


  1. ^ a b "Vincent Gardenia". All Movie Guide. Retrieved 2009-06-22.  
  2. ^ a b c d e f Murphy, Mary (1974-01-16). "Vince Gardenia and the Actor as Coach". Los Angeles Times. pp. E1.  
  3. ^ Miller, Ron (1992-06-19). "2 Movies Usher in New Deal Between Cable and Networks". The Charlotte Observer (Knight Ridder): pp. 3E.  

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