Chicago native Joe Mantegna has a strong background in both theater and film. After making his Broadway debut in Stephen Schwartz’s musical of Studs Terkel’s Working, Joe was awarded the Tony and Joseph Jefferson Award for his acclaimed performance as cynical real-estate agent Richard Roma in David Mamet’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play Glengarry Glen Ross.
Closely associated with Mamet’s work, Joe starred in the theatrical premiere of A Life in the Theater, The Disappearance of the Jews at the Goodman Theater, and in the Broadway production of Speed the Plow with Ron Silver and Madonna. In addition, Joe directed a critically acclaimed stage production of Mamet’s Lakeboat, starring Ed O’Neil and George Wendt, in a successful Los Angeles theatrical run.
Always the baseball fan, Joe conceived and co-wrote the Off-Broadway play Bleacher Bums, inspired by countless afternoons watching the Chicago Cubs play in Wrigley Field. Once the Chicago PBS affiliate picked it up for production, the play both earned Joe an Emmy Award and gave him the opportunity to direct an updated version in a successful run at Chicago’s Organic Theater.
Joe made his feature film debut in 1985 as the womanizing dentist in Frank Perry’s Compromising Positions, based on Susan Isaacs’ bestseller. His early films include co-starring roles in The Money Pit, Weeds and Suspect. He also starred in the critically acclaimed David Mamet films House of Games (now a cult classic) and Things Change, for which he and co-star Don Ameche both received the coveted Best Actor Award at the Venice Film Festival. In 1991, Joe starred in the highly praised police thriller, Homicide.
Joe has also starred in Woody Allen’s Alice and Celebrity, Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather Part III, Barry Levinson’s Liberty Heights and Bugsy, Steven Zaillian’s Searching for Bobby Fischer and Billy Crystal’s Forget Paris. Other standout roles include Up Close and Personal, Baby’s Day Out, Airheads, Queens Logic, Wait Until Spring Bandini, Eye for an Eye, The Runner, and Stephen King’s Thinner.
Joe had a starring role in the CBS miniseries of Mario Puzo’s best-selling novel The Last Don, which garnered him an Emmy Award nomination. He also enjoys appearing regularly as the voice of Fat Tony on The Simpsons. Joe’s original feature films for cable include starring roles in State of Emergency, A Call to Remember, My Little Assassin, The Water Engine, The Comrades of Summer, Persons Unknown, Boy Meets Girl, and The Rat Pack, for which he was nominated for both another Emmy and a Golden Globe Award. In later films like Hoods and Jerry and Tom, Joe both starred and served as Executive Producer.
During his career Joe has portrayed several real people, such as George Raft in Bugsy, Fidel Castro in My Little Assassin, and most notably, as Dean Martin in The Rat Pack. His role as Josh Waitzkin’s father in Searching for Bobby Fischer was based on Fred Waitzkin, who wrote the book upon which the film was based. In fact, Joe’s TV-movie debut was as Joe Esposito, Elvis’ road manager and close friend in the 1979 miniseries Elvis starring Kurt Russell.
In 2000, Joe completed production on his feature film directorial debut, Lakeboat, written for the screen by David Mamet from his original play. Starring Charles Durning, Peter Falk, Robert Forster, Andy Garcia, Denis Leary and George Wendt, the film opened the L.A. Film Festival to critical acclaim last fall and made its theatrical release in June 2001.
Joe headlined a series of original films for the A&E Network, based on Robert Parker’s popular Spenser detective novels. The first, Small Vices, premiered in summer of 1999 with the second, Thin Air, following in fall 2000. His last entry to the Spenser series, Walking Shadow, continues to play on A&E.
Spring of 2001 found Joe staring as Justice Joseph Novelli in the CBS Supreme Court drama, First Monday with James Garner and Charles Durning.
Summer 2002 found Joe in his hometown of Chicago filming the classic family friendly film Uncle Nino.
Joe stared for two seasons as police chief Will Girardi in Joan of Arcadia. Joan received several Emmy and Golden Globe nominations during its 2 season run. In 2005 Joe Co-stared in the Rodrigo Garcia film Nine Lives with Kathy Baker. The film was accepted in Sundance in 2005 and also stars Glenn Close, Amy Brenneman, Holly Hunter, Dakota Fanning and Sissy Spacek. In 2006 Joe was as busy as ever with roles in Elvis and Anabelle, West of Brooklyn and the USA Network Mini Series Starter Wife with Debra Messing, which Joe was again nominated for an Emmy. In 2010 Joe lent his voice to the Disney/PIXAR film, CARS2. and in April of 2011 Joe received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame next to his childhood idol Errol Flynn.
He currently stars as David Rossi in the 10th season of the hit CBS drama Criminal Minds as well as hosting and producing duties on “Gun Stories” for the Outdoor Channel.
Since 2002 Joe has participated in the National Memorial Day Concert in Washington DC, and has been the co-host with Gary Sinise for most of that time. With a rich family history in the military Joe has always been a supporter of our men and women who serve. In 2005 he was appointed the Honorary Chairman for The Salute to Hospitalized Veterans and has often lent his time to charities that benefit our military, their families and the USO.
In 2007 he was instrumental in raising thousands of dollars for Operation Iraqi Children. A charity formed by Gary Sinise to give school supplies to children in Iraq and Afghanistan delivered by US Military troops. When possible he visits wounded service men and women at the VA Hospital, taking the time to sit and talk with them and their families with hopes that he can briefly take their minds off the long road to recovery.
Over his career Joe has helped raise millions of dollars for charities all over the world, including Autism, The Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center, Pediatric Aids Research, The National Kidney Foundation, Easter Seals, Melanoma Research, The Tom Sullivan Blind Children’s Charity and Breast Cancer Awareness to name a few. It would be impossible to list them all, but it’s safe to say that Joe has had a very positive affect on the lives of thousands of people through his philanthropic endeavors.
May of 2012 Joe was appointed the National Spokesperson for The U.S. Army Museum, to lead the fundraising campaign to build the long-planned National Museum of the United States Army.
In March of 2013 Joe received the USO of Metropolitan Washington prestigious Merit award for his work in entertaining and supporting our troops and their families.
In 2014 Joe received the Lifetime Achievement award from the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce for his dedication to the community and craft of acting.