Joe Mantegna’s greatest fame may come from his TV and film roles, including starring on the CBS crime drama “Criminal Minds” or voicing the gangster Fat Tony on “The Simpsons,” but he’s even more accomplished in the world of theater, where he won a Tony Award for starring in the original Broadway run of David Mamet’s play “Glengarry Glen Ross.”
Mantegna was born into an Italian American family in Chicago to a mother who worked as a shipping clerk and a father who sold insurance and died from tuberculosis when Mantegna was 22. The actor met his future wife, Arlene, while in high school in Cicero, Ill.
He went on to study acting at the Goodman School of Drama at DePaul University and made his professional acting debut while still enrolled there in a touring production of “Hair.” After graduation, Mantegna began performing with Chicago’s Organic Theater Company and eventually co-wrote the play “Bleacher Bums” in 1977 based on his and fellow actors’ experiences hanging out in the stands at Wrigley Field.
His Broadway debut came in a 1978 musical production of “Working,” based on the book by Studs Terkel. He began his long association with Mamet during the 1984 Broadway debut of “Glengarry Glen Ross,” and has gone on to star in six of the writer’s plays and films, including “House of Games,” “Speed-the-Plow,” “Things Change” and “Homicide.”
Mantegna and his wife have two daughters, Mia and Gia. Due to Mia’s autism, Mantegna has become an outspoken proponent of funding for autism research and awareness.