Tony Danza may be best known for his charismatic star turns in two of television’s most durable comedies, but he’s also distinguished himself in a varied career including Broadway, dramatic film roles and cabaret.
A former professional boxer, the Brooklyn native got his big show business break in TV’s “Taxi,” where he played a dimwitted former boxer turned cabbie. Danza joined an ensemble that featured several popular character actors, such as Andy Kaufman, Christopher Lloyd, Danny DeVito and Judd Hirsch. The show debuted in 1978 and ran for five seasons.
His first starring TV role came in 1984 with “Who’s the Boss,” as Tony Micelli, a single father who becomes a live-in housekeeper to driven career woman Angela Bower, played by Judith Light. Danza’s young daughter was played by Alyssa Milano, who would grow up to become a star in several series (“Charmed”) and shed her clothes in several B movies. Much of the humor on “Who’s the Boss” revolved around the romantic tension between Tony and Angela.
After “Who’s the Boss” ended in 1992, Danza starred in short-lived series including “Hudson Street” (1995) and “The Tony Danza Show” (1997) and appeared in several other series including “Family Law” and “The Practice.” In 2004, he also hosted his own self-titled talk show, which lasted for two years. His films include “Angels in the Outfield,” “The Hollywood Knights,” “Going Ape,” “She’s Out of Control” and “Crash.”
Danza also found success on stage both as an actor and an accomplished song-and-dance man. He won acclaim for his role in the 1999 Broadway revival of “The Iceman Cometh,” and starred in both the Broadway and Las Vegas versions of Mel Brooks’ “The Producers.” He developed a cabaret act in nightclubs all over the country. He recorded an album of standards in 2002, “The House I Live In.” In 2008, Danza and his son Marc wrote a cookbook, “Don’t Fill Up on the Antipasto: Tony Danza’s Father-Son Cookbook.”