Giancarlo Esposito Biography
Giancarlo Giuseppe Alessandro Esposito is an American film and television actor.
Esposito was born in Denmark to an Italian father who worked as a stagehand and carpenter, and an African-American mother who was an opera and nightclub singer. Esposito lived in Europe, New York, and Cleveland until the family settled in Manhattan when he was six. At the age of 10 he made his Broadway debut in the short-lived Maggie Flynn.
Throughout most of the 1980s, Esposito appeared in small roles in films such as Maximum Overdrive, King of New York, and Trading Places and TV shows such as Miami Vice and Spenser For Hire. In 1988, he landed his breakout role as a college student labeled as a "wannabe" by his peers in director Spike Lee's film School Daze. Over the next four years, Esposito and Lee collaborated on three other movies: Do the Right Thing, Mo' Better Blues, and Malcolm X. He also appeared in Reckless with Mia Farrow.
Esposito is probably best known for his portrayal of Agent Mike Giardello (one of his few roles taking into account both his black and Italian heritage) on the TV crime drama Homicide: Life on the Street, a role he played from 1998 until the series' cancellation in 1999. Ironically enough, the character's father Al is portrayed as subject to colorism, something that Esposito's character practiced in School Daze. Other TV credits include NYPD Blue, Law & Order, The Practice, and Fallen Angels: Fearless.
Esposito has portrayed drug dealers (Fresh), cops (The Usual Suspects), political radicals (Bob Roberts) and even a demonic version of the Greek God of Sleep from another dimension (Monkeybone.) His last notable roles were as Muhammed Ali's father in Ali and Nuyorican poet Miguel Piñero's friend and collaborator Miguel Algarín in Piñero, both released in 2001.
Esposito's most recent role was Robert Fuentes, a Miami businessman with shady connections, on the UPN television series South Beach. He recorded a public service announcement for Deejay Ra's Hip-Hop Literacy campaign, which encouraged reading about Muhammad Ali.
Esposito will make his directorial debut with the upcoming Gospel Hill, scheduled for release in 2008.
His New York theatre credits include The Me Nobody Knows, Lost in the Stars, Seesaw, and Merrily We Roll Along. In 2008 he appeared on Broadway as Gooper in an African American production of Tennessee Williams' Pulitzer Prize-winning drama Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, directed by Debbie Allen and starring James Earl Jones, Phylicia Rashad, Anika Noni Rose, and Terrence Howard. He is the father of three daughters.