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Creator / Joe Pantoliano

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Joseph Peter "Joe" Pantoliano (born September 12, 1951 in Hoboken, New Jersey), is an American character actor of Italian descent. He is sometimes referred to as "Joey Pants", due to the difficulty with pronouncing his last name.

He is best known for playing shady characters, usually criminals or corrupt police officers. Amongst his most prominent roles is probably Cypher from The Matrix, and Ralph "Ralphie" Cifaretto from The Sopranos (for which he won an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series).

Pantoliano is also known for being upfront about his struggle with clinical depression and substance abuse in relation to it throughout his life, believing that being open about it helps removing some of the stigmas commonly associated with mental illness.


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Film roles with TV Tropes Pages:

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Television roles with TV Tropes pages:

Voice acting roles with TV Tropes pages:


Tropes associated with this actor:

  • Ax-Crazy: Especially as Francis Fratelli in The Goonies and as Ralph Cifaretto in The Sopranos.
  • Bald of Evil: He's bald and plays a lot of untrustworthy characters.
  • Cheshire Cat Grin: Has a very wide and toothy smile, which enhances the shiftiness of his characters. Becomes a Slasher Smile if his character is especially Ax-Crazy.
  • Chronically Killed Actor: The number of times one of his characters survives to the end of the movie can be counted on one hand.
  • Creepy High-Pitched Voice: For his villainous roles, Joey Pants’ naturally reedy voice works perfectly.
  • Dodgy Toupee: Despite being bald, Joey Pants frequently wears wigs for his roles, which sometimes carries over into his roles as a character trait too.
  • Joisey: He was born and raised in Hoboken.
  • Large Ham: Let's give it to the man, when the script demands him to be loud, he can be loud.
  • Playing Against Type: He's played heroic types only three times. See his long list of credits above for comparison.
  • Smug Snake: Few actors can play obnoxious, overbearing characters who aren't anywhere near as cunning or clever as they think as well as Joey Pants.
  • Typecasting: If you need a smug slimeball of a villain, look no further.
    • Deliberately subverted for Memento. Knowing how audiences perceive him, Christopher Nolan cast him as Teddy to throw in doubt on his character's morality, which is constantly in question. It's never made clear if he was an actual villain or not.
    • Also subverted in the Bad Boys trilogy where he portrayed the titular boys' long-suffering Captain
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