About Enrico Colantoni
Born Feb. 14, 1963 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Enrico Colantoni was raised in a blue-collar family headed by Italian immigrants and grew up in a similarly ethic neighborhood, where, as a child, he began creating and starring in plays featuring all of his friends. Although his parents hoped he would become a priest, Colantoni enrolled at the University of Toronto to study law, but quickly found himself gravitating towards drama. Inspired by his professors to pursue the stage, Colantoni moved to New York City to study at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Working various menial jobs, Colantoni decided to stick out the difficult life of an aspiring actor even after his family proved less than supportive of his career choice and his parents moved back to Italy. He made his screen acting debut in 1987 with a pair of guest spots on "Night Heat" (CTV, 1985-89) and "Friday the 13th: The Series" (syndicated, 1987-1990) in which he was billed as "Rico Colantoni." Despite his professional success, the actor still felt unsure of his craft and abilities, so opted for additional training at the prestigious Yale School of Drama, which proved the turning point in his career. Not only did he win awards and star in the School's 1992 production of "Hamlet," Colantoni went on to study at Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis.
His confidence in his craft bolstered, the actor returned to New York City where he immersed himself in theater, treading the boards in everything from "The Merry Wives of Windsor," "Macbeth" and "Arabian Nights." He also began notching TV credits again, guesting in episodes of "Law & Order" (NBC, 1990-2010), "New York Undercover" (Fox, 1994-98) and, most notably, "NYPD Blue" (ABC, 1993-2005), where he made waves with a powerful recurring role as the schizophrenic, dangerous son of Dan Breen (Peter Boyle). Colantoni's success led him to relocate to Los Angeles, where he landed a series regular role as Jessica Lundy's lovable ex-husband Louis on the sitcom "Hope & Gloria" (NBC, 1995-96). As his professional momentum increased, Colantoni landed small roles in the Wesley Snipes/Woody Harrelson action thriller "Money Train" (1995), Kevin Spacey's "Albino Alligator" (1996), and the Dave Foley oddity "The Wrong Guy" (1997). He fared better with a well-honed character role in the TV adaptation of Carson McCullers's beloved "The Member of the Wedding" (USA Network, 1997), playing the father of the restless young Frankie (Anna Paquin).
After hovering on the cusp of stardom, he finally broke through with what was arguably his most famous role, the suave but secretly vulnerable ladies' man/photographer Elliot DiMauro on "Just Shoot Me!" (NBC, 1997-2003). Although the series was never a ratings or cultural powerhouse, "Just Shoot Me!" was a well-crafted workplace comedy that featured an extremely talented cast that included Laura San Giacomo, Wendie Malick, David Spade and George Segal, and became an enduring, low-key hit. Although he may have seemed like an unconventional romantic lead with his balding appearance, Colantoni proved attractive to female viewers on the series, and saw his professional profile boosted accordingly. He played a corrupt priest in the Patricia Arquette supernatural thriller "Stigmata" (1999), a goofy alien leader in the Tim Allen/Sigourney Weaver sci-fi comedy "Galaxy Quest" (1999), a murderer in the Steven Spielberg/Stanley Kubrick collaboration "A.I. Artificial Intelligence" (2001), and controversial director Elia Kazan opposite James Franco's "James Dean" (TNT, 2001).
After "Just Shoot Me!" had run its course, Colantoni booked a string of guest spots and animated voice roles before landing his second most famous role - that of the beleaguered but admirable private investigator Keith Mars, father of Kristen Bell's titular teen sleuth "Veronica Mars" (UPN, 2004-06; The CW, 2006-07). Although the hyper intelligent series immediately became a critical darling and cult favorite, it struggled in the ratings throughout its run, but Colantoni's turn as Bell's flawed, funny and ferociously loyal father resonated with viewers and critics alike. In the actor's hands, what could have been a minor role instead became one of the pillars of the series, and one of the show's many strengths, earning him a Teen Choice Award nomination. After his stellar work on "Veronica Mars," Colantoni again notched a slew of film and TV roles, including playing René Angélil, the husband/manager of superstar Céline Dion in "Céline" (CTV, 2008), FBI mastermind J. Edgar Hoover in the miniseries "The Kennedys" (ReelzChannel, 2011), and a small turn in the star-studded Steven Soderbergh thriller "Contagion" (2011). He earned another long-running TV gig as Sgt. Gregory Parker, leader of the Strategic Response Unit on the Canadian law enforcement drama "Flashpoint" (CTV, 2008- ), for which he earned a Best Actor Gemini nomination.
While his "Flashpoint" work was typically first-rate, Colantoni was seen by more American audiences for his work on "Person of Interest" (CBS, 2011- ). A fascinating and mysterious crime drama that revolved around the unlikely team of a CIA agent (Jim Caviezel) and a billionaire (Michael Emerson) whose software can pinpoint potential murderers, the show gave Colantoni a juicy recurring role as Carl Elias, an up-and-coming Mafioso with plans to seize control of the city's crime families. Again, the actor managed to portray a multifaceted character whose strength, darkness and complexity were fascinatingly flecked with an inescapable charm, leading many viewers and critics to single out his award-worthy contributions to the series.
By Jonathan Riggs
|Nancy Colantoni. born c. 1961; married in January 1997|
|Father Henry Carr High School, Toronto , Ontario|
|University of Toronto, Toronto , Ontario|
|University of Toronto, Toronto , Ontario|
|American Academy of Dramatic Arts, New York , New York|
|School of Drama, Yale University, New Haven , Connecticut|
|Had regular role of Louis Utz on the NBC sitcom "Hope and Gloria"|
|Made TV debut reenacting John Belushi's last days on the syndicated tabloid series "A Current Affair"|
|Had early TV role in an episode of the syndicated horror series "Friday the 13th"|
|Appeared in "Hamlet" at the Yale Rep|
|Featured in the New York Shakespeare presentation of "The Merry Wives of Windsor"|
|Guested on episodes of "Law & Order" (NBC), "New York Undercover" (Fox) and "NYPD Blue" (ABC)|
|Feature acting debut "Money Train"|
|Acted in the NBC TV-movie "Cloned"|
|Co-starred as fashion photographer Elliott DiMauro on the popular NBC sitcom "Just Shoot Me"|
|Featured in the USA Network TV-movie "The Member of the Wedding"|
|Had supporting roles in "Albino Alligator" and "The Wrong Guy"|
|Played a ethically-challenged priest in "Stigmata"|
|Had memorable featured role in the big screen comedy "Galaxy Quest"|
|Played "Macbeth" on stage in Los Angeles|
|Appeared in Steven Spielberg's "A.I. Artificial Intelligence"|
|Portrayed Elia Kazan in the TNT biopic "James Dean"|
|Co-starred in the comedy "Frank McKlusky, C.I."|
|Had a supporting role in the comedy "The First $20 Million Is Always the Hardest"|
|Was part of the all-star ensemble of Steven Soderburgh's "Full Frontal"|
|Cast a the Bookish Man in "Criminal" starring John C. Reilly and Maggie Gyllenhaal|
|Will play a private detective who gets regular help from his teenage daughter in the UPN series "Veronica Mars"|