Handsome, rugged, and talented Italian-American actor Tony Musante was born on June 30, 1936 in Bridgeport, Connecticut to an accountant father and a school teacher mother. He attended both Northwestern University and Oberlin College. Tony worked as a school teacher prior to beginning his acting career in Off-Broadway theater in 1960. In 1962 Musante married his writer wife Jane Sparkes. He made his film debut in 1965 in “Once a Thief.” Musante gave a chillingly believable and electrifying portrayal of nasty punk hoodlum Joe Ferrone in the harsh and hard-hitting “The Incident,” a role which he had previously played in the hour long made-for-TV drama “Ride With Terror.” Tony won a best actor award at the Mar del Plata Film Festival for his outstanding performance in “The Incident.” Musante went on to act in a handful of features made in Italy; he was especially memorable as brash Mexican revolutionary Paco Roman in the superior spaghetti Western “The Mercenary” and as imperiled American writer Sam Dalmas in Dario Argento’s masterful giallo murder mystery thriller “The Bird With the Crystal Plumage.” In addition, Tony played more than his fair share of Mafiosa types: He was genuinely frightening as vicious hit man Paul Rickard in “The Last Run;” spot-on as smooth heel Eddie Hagan in Robert Aldrich’s supremely gritty “The Grissom Gang;” excellent as Eric Roberts’ mob-connected Uncle Pete in “The Pope of Greenwich Village;” and once again splendid as shrewd mob capo Nino Schibetta on the gritty cable TV prison drama “Oz.” Musante had a starring role as real life chameleon-like New Jersey cop Dave Toma on the short-lived TV series “Toma.” After Tony left the show due to creative differences with the producers, the program was changed to “Baretta” with Robert Blake in the lead. Among the TV shows Musante had guest spots on are “The Alfred Hitchcock Hour,” “The Fugitive,” “Marcus Welby, M.D.,” “The Rockford Files,” “Medical Story” (Tony was nominated for an Emmy award for his performance in the episode “The Quality of Mercy”), “Police Story,” “The Equalizer,” “Night Heat,” and “Nothing Sacred.” Moreover, Tony had a recurring part on the popular daytime soap opera “As The World Turns.” On stage Musante appeared in the Broadway productions of “P.S., Your Cat Is Dead!” (Tony was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for his acting in this particular play), “A Memory of Two Mondays/27 Wagons Full of Cotton,” and “The Lady from Dubuque.” Musante died at age 77 on November 26, 2013 in New York City.
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