About Mario Cantone
Born Dec. 9, 1959 in Stoneham, MA, Cantone was the son of restaurateurs Liz and Mario Cantone, Sr. Raised in a large - and by his own description, exceptionally boisterous - Italian-American family, Cantone's comically tumultuous upbringing sowed the seeds for much of the material he would mine later in his career. Having discovered a passion for theater while attending Stoneham High School, from which he graduated in 1978, Cantone enrolled at Emerson College as a drama student. There, he continued his stage work and began flirting with the idea of stand-up comedy. Turning to acting professionally in 1983, Cantone began performing stand-up in New York and had his big break through on VH1"'s "Stand-Up Spotlight" showcase (1988-1991) hosted by Rosie O'Donnell. This eventually led to Cantone being hired by O'Donnell as her opening act during the late 1980s.
Famed for his dead-on celebrity impressions and raunchy blue humor, Cantone would, ironically enough, get his start in television as the host of "Steampipe Alley" (syndicated, 1988-1993), a sort of "Saturday Night Live" (NBC, 1975- ) for kids that featured G-rated comedy routines and a cartoon showcase. Despite having to tone down his act for the young ones, Cantone found ways to inject his own rat-a-tat-tat personality into the proceedings. Notorious for his spontaneous rapid-fire riffs and pop culture references, Cantone often appeared to be performing as much for the adults as he did for the kids. Like the great Pee-wee Herman, Cantone's gags would often cross a strange, but tenuous line between taste and maturity. One of the more outrageous "games" Cantone would lead his young charges on was "Find My Eye," a scavenger hunt where kids would try to find an ersatz Sammy Davis, Jr.'s glass eye (played by Cantone). Other times, he would conduct a full-dress cocktail party as Truman Capote for an audience far too young to even know who Capote was. Regardless, the kids still found him hysterical.
Cantone's film and television career built slowly as he grew in stature in the New York theater and comedy world. His earliest credits were small roles in Robert Redford's "Quiz Show" (1994) and Gore Verbinski's slapstick comedy "Mousehunt" (1997), with a larger and somewhat prophetic role as an over-the-top event planner in a 2001 episode of "Ed" (NBC, 2000-04). That same year, Cantone made his first appearance as Anthony Marantino on "Sex and the City" (HBO, 1998-2004), a role which quickly became recurring in the wake of his scene-stealing mastery. As the pernickety Anthony, Cantone was well matched with co-star Kristen Davis's uptight character, Charlotte, often offering her unsolicited bedroom advice and gossip. Cantone's performance, combined with the growing buzz over his 2002 one-man Broadway show, "An Evening with Mario Cantone," gave his career a boost. He suddenly became a frequent guest on talk shows such as "The View" (ABC, 1997- ) and "The Rosie O'Donnell Show" (NBC, 1996-2002) as well as game shows like "Pyramid," (syndicated, 2002-04) and "Hollywood Squares" (syndicated, 1998-2004). Cantone also had a memorable bit on his friend Dave Chappelle's eponymous 2003 Comedy Central variety show, "Ask a Gay Dude."
In 2005, Cantone returned to Broadway with his second one-man show, "Laugh Whore." The production, which featured his explosive takes on his Italian-American childhood; spot-on imitations of Jim Morrison, Liza Minnelli and others; as well as his own original co-compositions, was recorded for broadcast on Showtime that same year. Cantone also contributed to the all-star comedian line-up in Penn Jillette and Paul Provenza's uproarious documentary, "The Aristocrats" that same year, and had a supporting role in the little-seen comedy "Searching for Bobby D" as a casting director. In 2007, Cantone lent his distinct fast-talking voice to the CGI-animated mockumentary, "Surf's Up" about champion penguin surfers.
Cantone's further television work included a recurring role as hairdresser Terri Romano on the romantic drama "Men in Trees" (ABC, 2006-08), starring Anne Heche as successful New York writer transplanted to a small Alaskan town. He rejoined the girls from Manhattan and reprised his role as Anthony for the eagerly-anticipated feature film adaptation of "Sex and the City" (2008), a box-office smash that proved the franchise still had legs. Cantone then made back-to-back TV appearances in the crime-comedies "Killer Hair" (Lifetime, 2009) and "Hostile Makeover" (Lifetime, 2009), based on the Crime of Fashion book series by Ellen Byerrum. He returned to theaters for the still in-demand but disappointing sequel, "Sex and the City 2" (2010), followed by a turn as the director of the titular "Dirty Movie" (2011), yet another scatological farce from National Lampoon, co-starring Christopher Meloni and Robert Klein.
|Jerry Dixon. Partnered for 20 years; Cantone announced they were married in October 2011; wedding was officiated by pastor Jay Bakker, the son of the late Tammy Faye Bakker Messner|
|Hosted the children's show, "Steampipe Alley"|
|Feature debut in Robert Redford's "Quiz Show"|
|Broadway debut in Terrence McNally's "Love! Valour! Compassion!"; replaced Nathan Lane in the role of Buzz|
|Headlined "Comedy Central Presents Mario Cantone"|
|Breakthrough role as Charlotte's gay friend Anthony on the HBO comedy "Sex and the City"|
|Earned praise for his work as a gay alcoholic in the stage play "The Crumple Zone"|
|Performed his first one-man show "An Evening with Mario Cantone"|
|Appeared on Broadway in Richard Greenberg's "The Violet Hour"|
|Had a memorable bit on "Chappelle's Show" (Comedy Central) in a segment entitled "Ask a Gay Dude"|
|Cast as would-be Nixon assassin Samuel Byck in the Tony award winning musical "Assassins," directed by Joe Mantello|
|Re-teamed with director Joe Mantello for his second one-man show "Laugh Whore"|
|Contributed to the all-star comedian line-up in Penn Jillette and Paul Provenza's documentary "The Aristocrats"|
|Voiced Sidney in the mockumentary "Farce of the Penguins"|
|Voiced surf nut Chicken Joe in the animated feature "Surf's Up"|
|Reprised role as Charlotte's gay friend Anthony for the feature film adaptation of "Sex and the City"|
|Reprised his role of Anthony Marantino for "Sex and the City 2"|