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You may have first recognized him in Reservoir Dogs as Mr. Pink or perhaps one of the three band members in the comedy Airheads or maybe his major role in the Oscar winning film Fargo brought him to your attention. With his defining smile, heavy eyelids, distinct voice and fearless acting, sometime in the mid-1990s Steve Buscemi became an actor that everyone began to recognize.
He started out playing bit parts as criminals and slowly worked his way to greater and bigger roles (some of them still as criminals). Buscemi has written, directed and produced various films since 1996 and currently stars in the HBO hit Boardwalk Empire in which he has won the Golden Globe for Best Actor.
Brief History of S. Buscemi
Born on Friday December 13, 1957, Steven Vincent Buscemi grew up in Brooklyn the son of a hostess at Howard Johnson's and a sanitation worker. He didn't have much interest in the theater until his senior year of high school. He wrestled on the varsity team in high school (his weight class was 105lbs) and didn't think much of acting and spent some time at Nassau Community College.
But his interest in the performing arts was too much to ignore and he headed to Manhattan to study at the Lee Strasburg Institute.
It took him a while to get acting roles and did a variety of jobs until his career took off. He was a bartender, ice cream truck driver, stand-up comedian (for about 5 minutes) and a volunteer firefighter.
Since his first feature film role in 1985 he has appeared in over 75 films and television shows.
Here's a look at some of his best work.
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Quentin Tarantino's writing and directorial debut co-stars Steve Buscemi as Mr. Pink - a man who just doesn't believe in tipping. The film centers around a diamond heist that doesn't go according to plan.
Buscemi won an Independent Spirit Award for his performance.
Three struggling rock musicians break into a radio station and the hold the place hostage until the deejay plays their demo on the air. The water pistol wielding trio is played by Brendan Fraser, Adam Sandler and Steve Buscemi.
Joel and Ethan Coen's crime drama about a kidnapping gone wrong. Too much blood gets spilled and a pregnant sheriff is called to the scene to solve the murders and track down the suspects. Those suspects on the run are played by Peter Stormare and Steve Buscemi.
In Steve Buscemi's directorial debut, he plays a man down-on-his-luck. His girlfriend left him, he lost his job and spends most of his time at a bar called Trees Lounge. Interacting with eccentric patrons, he searches for the meaning of life beyond the bar.
Steve Buscemi Trivia
- The day after 9/11, Buscemi showed up at the firehouse that he had been stationed at and worked 12-hour shifts sifting through the rubble of the World Trade Center in search of fellow firefighters
- Auditioned for the part of George Costanza on Seinfeld
- During the filmming of Domestic Disturbance with Vince Vaughn, Buscemi was stabbed in the head, throat and arm during a barroom brawl in North Carolina
Convicts overtake the plane transporting them to a new prison. If only a hero with long hair and a cheesy southern accent can save the day. Oh there is one and his name is Nicolas Cage. Now, Buscemi doesn't get anywhere near top billing but his role as Garland Greene, a psychotic murderer who is brought on board the plane strapped into a chair with a mask over his face. With some witty, monotonous lines, Buscemi steals the scenes.
The Big Lebowski
Another Joel and Ethan Coen flick about a case of mistaken identity. Buscemi plays Donny - a fellow bowler and clueless pal of Lebowski.
The world is about to be destroyed by an asteroid the size of Texas. If only there was a band of oil drillers that could fly up to it and destroy the asteroid. Oh wait, there is! In Michael Bay's disaster film, Buscemi plays Rockhound - a horny, super-intelligent driller who loses his mind on the killer asteroid.
Scarlett Johanson and Thora Birch star as two social outsiders who like to play pranks on the people they find creepy. When they start their cruel jokes on vinyl record collecter Seymour (Buscemi), Enid (Thora Birch) finds herself attracted to this fellow social outsider.
Buscemi was nominated in the best supporting actor category for a Golden Globe and won the best actor prize at the Independent Spirit Awards.
Children's screams help power the energy in the monster's world and Sully and Mike are the best at getting the children in the real world to scream. But when they find that a child has entered their world, believing that she could contaminate their world with diseases, the monsters' world turns into chaos. The child, though, is quite harmless.
Steve Buscemi lends his voice as the sinister Boggs.
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The classic children's book about a pig who wins the heart of the community thanks to the help of his barnyard pals and the web-spinning spider, Charlotte.
Buscemi lends his voice for Templeton the Rat.
Woody Harrelson and Ben Foster star in a film about officers in the Casualty Notification Team who must inform the relatives of their loved one's being killed in action.
Steven Buscemi has a small yet powerful performance as the father of a deceased soldier.
Co-starring in 16 episodes of the HBO Original Series The Sopranos and directing 4 episodes, Steve Buscemi plays the cousin of mob boss Tony Soprano.
The role of a lifetime, Steve Buscemi took ahold of the reigns and leads a stellar cast in the HBO Original Series Boardwalk Empire.
It's 1920, Prohibition has just taken effect and Nucky Thompson has his hands in the illegal liquor business. While maintaining his upstanding position as controller in New Jersey, he battles fellow politicians, gangsters and personal affairs in this role that earned him a Best Actor statue at the Emmy's.
Which Steve Buscemi film did you like the best?