Date of Birth: November 13, 1947
"I never lose sight of the fact that I'm in a line of work that is, essentially, other people's fantasies."
Born Joseph Anthony Mantegna Jr., Joe and his big brother Ronald were brought up in Chicago, Illinois. When he was eight, he contracted rheumatic fever, and was sent to a charity sanatorium for five months to recover. He attended Morton East High School in Cicero when he met his future wife, actress Arlene Vrhel.
After high school, Joe went to Morton Junior College and in two years, he won a scholarship to the Goodman Theater School in DePaul University. In 1969 he met up with Vrhel again. The two began dating when both were cast in a production of Hair, and married six years later in 1975. They presently have two daughters, Mia Marie, born 1987 and Gina born 1991.
Mantegna received a number of awards for his work on stage and in television and film. He won an award for his role in Bleacher Bums from the New York Dramatics Guild in 1979.
Unfortunately, it wasn't until 1984 that audiences began to notice him. He made his breakthrough with his stage role as Ricky Roma in Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross, for which he won a Tony for Best Featured Actor and the Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Supporting Actor, and shared the 1984 award for Outstanding Ensemble from the Special Drama Desk Awards.
From his success in theater, he transferred his energy to film. Although he began with smaller roles, his patience would pay off when in 1988, he won Best Actor from the Venice Film Festival for his portrayal of a two-bit gangster in Things Change.
Since then, he has been getting roles in largely mediocre films, but at times can also be found in big hits including Godfather III (1990), Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993) and Thinner (1996). He has starred in television series such as Joan of Arcadia from 2003 to 2005, and on Criminal Minds from 2007 to 2011. He also works on the big screen in films such as Witless Protection (2008) and Valentine's Day (2010).