Armand Assante - A Life
Actor | Writer | Director
Armand Anthony Assante (/ɑːˈsɑːnti/; born October 4, 1949) is an American actor. He is best known for his roles as mobster John Gotti in the 1996 HBO television film Gotti, Nietzsche in When Nietzsche Wept and Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer in 1982's I, the Jury. His performance in Gotti earned him a Primetime Emmy Award and nominations for the Golden Globe Award and the Screen Actors Guild Award.
A career that has already spanned over five decades internationally he is sought in the Film sector as much as he has been the guest of leading industrialists and leaders around the world.
Born on Manhattan’s upper west side in Washington Heights to a large and accomplished Italian/Irish Family he is the son of an Italian American Artist Armand Anthony Assante Sr. (August 5, 1922-August 25, 2017)
and Irish American Musician and Poet Katharine Theresa Healy (October 16, 1921-June 29, 2011)
He is still close to his Family relations in Naples and in Rome, Italy.
Assante entered the American Academy of Dramatic Arts at the age of seventeen where he won the Jehlinger Award for Best Actor in 1969, making his professional theatre debut that same year opposite Imogene Coca in ‘Why I Went Crazy’ under the direction of Joshua Logan.
He spent ten years in the theater before his film debut in 1977, remaining a devoted student of Mira Rostova in New York for twenty five years. He mentored with Cliff Osmond with whom he developed roles and scripts for twenty years subsequently. He played the main stage of almost every regional theatre on the East Coast since he was nineteen years of age for the first ten years of his career. He attributes his longevity as a performer only through commitment to a creative process.
During the 1970s, Assante was a regular on two NBC soap operas, How to Survive a Marriage as Johnny McGee and The Doctors as Dr. Mike Powers. His first film was The Lords of Flatbush (1974), although his work did not appear in the final cut of the film and the end credits misspelled his last name as Assanti. His first on-screen role was playing Sylvester Stallone's brother in Paradise Alley and a role that brought him greater attention came in 1980's Private Benjamin as a handsome Frenchman who becomes the love interest of a U.S. soldier played by Goldie Hawn.
Assante's somewhat sinister look has made him a popular choice for tough-guy heroes, as in his acclaimed starring role as private eye Mike Hammer in the film I, the Jury (1982) or as Mafia gangsters such as Michael Moretti in Sidney Sheldon's Rage of Angels. In 1990 his role as Roberto Texador in Sidney Lumet's film Q&A garnered him a Golden Globe nomination, and the following year he portrayed the notorious Bugsy Siegel in Neil Simon's The Marrying Man (1991). The following year he was seen as mafia boss Carol D'Allesandro in Hoffa (1992) starring Jack Nicholson, and crime kingpin John Gotti in the 1996 made-for-television biopic Gotti, for which he won his Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie.
In addition to mafia and "tough-guy" roles, Assante has distinguished himself in historical dramas, such as Napoleon Bonaparte in 1987's Napoleon and Josephine: A Love Story opposite Jacqueline Bisset, the heroic Odysseus in The Odyssey, Friedrich Nietzsche in the film adaptation of Irving Yalom's novel When Nietzsche Wept, and as Sanchez, Queen Isabella's Minister of State, in 1492: Conquest of Paradise.
Other notable film appearances include one as a Cuban bandleader in The Mambo Kings opposite Antonio Banderas and in the adaptation of the science-fiction story Judge Dredd with Sylvester Stallone, his co-star in Paradise Alley. In 2007 he appeared in American Gangster (2007) with Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe. He had a recurring guest star role in several episodes of NCIS, playing the international arms dealer René BenoitOutside of the U.S., he has participated in several film projects and humanitarian endeavors in Romania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan.
He is currently Filming in Europe tales of ‘Mister Mayfair.’ The Safe Cracker Extraordinaire who fled his past to helm the hottest Club in London finds himself surrounded by the elite, the beautiful, his favorite song and dance routines and a notorious past that crashes all fantasies of retirement.
His leading participation in the Film "The Wanderers, Quest of the Demon Hunter", with Romanian Comedy Director Dragos Buliga's first film has received "Best Dramatic Feature" at The Philip K. Dick Film Festival in New York.
It has earned him Best Actor as well as Best Film at the Unreal Festival in Memphis, Tennessee, The Dracula Festival In Brasov, Romania and opening the Garden State Film Festival in March of 2018, he was awarded Most Valuable Player and the film, Best Feature Film in the Horror Genre.
Most recently the Actor was honored by Moscow Roskino’s ‘Cinema Without Borders’ by Film Critic Katya Mtsituridze who invited him to helm a ‘MasterClass’ which drew accolades in Moscow in December of 2019.
Internationally he has been the recipient of no less than twelve Lifetime Achievement Awards in the past ten years.
The Four Time Golden Globe Nominee and 1997 Winner of the Emmy he has accelerated those with numerous Acting Awards Internationally.
Armand Assante has been a landmine removal activist which he has always credited to landmine survivors Jerry White and Ken Rutherford who founded Landmine Survivors Network. ( more below )
On his second trip to Croatia after before and post 9/11 Assante contributed personally and raised financing for Doking Engineering, a firm specializing in the removal and detonation of landmines. He has actually been on landmine sites in Croatia with Slavko Majetic, the head of Doking Engineering, twice in 2000 and 2001. His contribution created immediate international assistance that addressed the landmine sweep in Croatia dramatically. He has been a guest of Croatia no less than twenty times in the past twenty years.
He had also been an active member of Landmine Survivors Network, which is a data based communications group that specializes in the immediate rehabilitation and medical assistance for landmine victims globally. LSN is based in Washington, D.C. and was
Founded by landmine survivors Jerry White and Ken Rutherford. His website includes information on how contributions can be made to these two outstanding organizations.
During the production of ‘Blind Dragon’, a documentary he has written and directed on the global landmine crisis, Armand in the winter of 2003 in Africa, was forced to stop filming, before entering Angola, the budget threatened by embezzlement in that country.
The Actor in 1988 worked alongside legendary Homelessness Activist Mitch Snyder ( 1943 -1990 ) in both New York and Washington D.C..
The Actor has demonstrated that his personal strength regarding the few issues and institutions he has taken on either legally or publically was revealed only through direct action and never proselytizing, or even criticism.
Though he has traversed the globe many many times he still resides on a 223 Acre ranch one hour North of Manhattan for thirty six years where he has raised many animals including Horses, Dogs, Bulls, as well as Trees. He attributes his happiness to his Family and to a personal philosophy of silence within nature.
Received in April of 2018 from Michel Adams' Fashion TV Global, Career Achievement Award at House of Parliament Bucharest, Romania
Received May 2017 Hoboken International Film Festival Orange County N.Y.
Lifetime Achievement Award
Received June 2017 Ischia International Film Festival- Ischia, Italy
Lifetime Achievement Award
Best Performance Award for DocuDrama 'Ulu Begh' filmed in Uzbekistan 2015–2016
Received August 2017 Venice Film Festival Venice, Italy
Kineo Award-Career Achievement, Best Actor Best Documentary 'Ulu Begh'
Received October 2017 Dracula International Film Festival -Brasov Romania
Actor’s Achievement of Excellence Award
Grand Prize Award for 'The Wanderers Quest the Demon Hunter'
Starring in Kader Ayd’s ‘Day Like a Week’ the Film will premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May of 2018. In Mars Callahans ‘Four Kings’ he is Casino Mogul Jack Wolf. ‘Four Kings’ is a romp on Poker and the wild cards that game that game and Armand is amidst a gallery of great Actors including a fantastic turn by Mike Tyson.
In 2015 Armand received The Lifetime Achievement Award from the Garden State Film Festival at Atlantic City and followed it by joining Producer Jules Nasso and TaeKwonDo Legend Master Kim in an homage to Asian action cinema in the film "Darc'. He now joins a documentary in Europe helmed by Jakov Sedlar on global affairs both as himself and in a dramatic turn as "Machiavelli."
2014 marks the addition of Creative Achievement Awards presented to Armand in Italy at the Maratea Film Festival as well as Belarus where his Award Winning Short Documentary Film was presented for a Russian- Kazakh Audience at the Listapad Film Festival at Belarus, November 13, 2014, in Minsk. The film focuses on the crisis Kazakhstan endured at Semipalatinsk after the detonation of 469 Nuclear Weapons between 1949 and 1989 under the former Soviet Union.
In November of 2014 he received The Christopher Columbus Publishers Award from the Italian Tribune as well as being officially honored by Italy’s Carabanieri during the same tribute.
In Argentina in this year 2013, he is Co Producing and Acting in Diego Rafeca’s “Ley Primera” ( First Law ) due for release later this year, a film focusing on the disappearance of the Chaco Indians from Latin America.
2013 also marked his third Lifetime Achievement Award and this one from the Golden Door Film Festival in the State of New Jersey.
2013 celebrated The Birth of Assante's own brand of legacy product know as ‘Ora Vivo’ which released a critically acclaimed Cigar created by Assante and Tobacconist Victor Vitale. Having been sought by the International sector to represent companies for years he has finally created his own.
The Actor was awarded in 2012 Best Documentary Short at the Gasparilla International Film Festival, in Tampa, Florida for his film “Dialogue From the Steppes” written and directed by himself and is in his opinion is why Kazakhstan should be recognized as a nation who has been a significant leader in the Global Peace Initiative.
In Kazakhstan that same year 2012 Assante Co Produced and Starred in “Whole World at Our Feet” simultaneously. (YouTube - Trailer -“Whole World At Our Feet” HD Movie Trailer)
In Serbia in 2012 Armand joined the Dragan Bjelogrlic’s acclaimed Film “Montivideo Taste of a Dream” focusing on the historical birth of of the World Cup.
In 2010 he received both Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Long Island International Film Festival as well as the Italian Walk of Fame in Toronto, Canada.
In March of 2007 Armand received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Westchester Film Festival, in New York State, having spent the previous three years working almost entirely in Eastern Europe.
In Bulgaria in the Spring of 2006, Assante completed filming Irving Yalom’s critically acclaimed novel “When Nietzche Wept” in the role of the German philosopher Frederich Nietzche, helmed by producer/director Pinchas Perry which received Five Stars at the Jerusalem Film Festival 2006.
In Romania of June 2006, he starred in Christy Namescu’s black comedy, ‘California Dreamin’, based on an incident during the Bosnian Conflict, which won the The Cannes Film Festival 2007 in Au Certain Regard category as well as 21 International Film Festivals in a cache of categories.
The consummate actor, with an obsession for rhythm and music since boyhood, emerged as a professional drummer and singer in his teens and considers himself a journeyman who has spent his life on the road. Every object or piece of art in his home has been collected from native indigenous peoples from literally all over the planet.
In September of 1997, Armand Assante received the Emmy Award in the category of Outstanding Lead Actor in a Special for his portrayal of notorious crime boss, John Gotti, in HBO Pictures biographical drama Gotti. Assante had previously garnered nominations for both a Golden Globe and SAG Award, also receiving the Capri Hollywood Award in Capri, Italy in December 1997, for the same performance.
Also during September of 1997, the country of Greece, in their premier of The Odyssey, Assante was honored at the Acropolis for his starring role of Odysseus in this Hallmark Entertainment/NBC four-hour miniseries. At the time it aired in the USA, this was the highest watched miniseries on any network since 1994 (and NBC’s highest since 1991) attracting 50 million viewers. In January of 1998, Assante was nominated for a Golden Globe for this starring role.
Assante has earned consistent international recognition for work in many diverse feature films. His last completed film role in 2006 is in Ridley Scott’s “American Gangster” in New York, opposite Denzel Washington. He starred as musician Cesar Castillo in Arne Glimcher’s ‘The Mambo Kings’, was suspected in the death of Jimmy Hoffa in Danny DeVito’s ‘Hoffa’ and played the chief advisor to Queen Isabel in Ridley Scott’s epic ‘1492, Conquest of Paradise’. He received a Golden Globe nomination for his work in Sidney Lumet’s ‘Q & A’, in 1990 and in 1986 won a Special Jury Prize at the USA Film Festival for the title role in ‘Belizaire, The Cajun’. Additional feature film credits include, ‘Paradise Alley’, ‘Little Darlings’, ‘Private Benjamin’, ‘I, The Jury’, ‘Unfaithfully Yours, ‘The Penitent’, ‘Fatal Instinct’, ‘Trial By Jury’, ‘Judge Dredd’ and many independents.
Between 2000 and 2003 Armand completed six independent projects: ‘Last Run’ by Tony Hickox in Budapest, Hungary, Ernest Hemingway’s ‘After The Storm’ by A.E. Hotchner, director Guy Ferland, Bobby Moresco's Hell’s Kitchen thriller ‘One Eyed King’, ‘Federal Protection’ and ‘Consequence’ by Tony Hickox and ‘Tough Luck’ produced by Brian Etting.
In 2002 Armand Assante completed ‘Citizen Verdict’, a satire on the death penalty in which he co-starred with Jerry Springer, and in 2003, a film on the subject of computer terrorism entitled ‘Dotkill’ with director John Irvin which premiered at the Capri Hollywood Film Festival in Italy on the New Year of 2005.
‘Two for the Money’ with Al Pacino and the comedy ‘Funny Money’ based on Ray Cooney’s hit London stage play with comedian Chevy Chase won the Sarasota Film Festival and placed second at the Aspen Comedy Film Festival shot in Romania in the fall of 2004.
He filmed ‘Lost’ a psychological thriller set in Spain, produced by Drimtim Entertainment., Barcelona in 2004.
Armand has been nominated for an Annie Award for his voice performance in the animated feature ‘The Road to El Dorado’. He tries to do at least I project within each two-year period for children.
For his work in television, Assante was nominated for both an Emmy and a Golden Globe for Jack The Ripper. He has also starred in such notable telefilms as ‘Kidnapped’, ‘Blind Justice’, ‘Fever’, ‘Napoleon and Josephine’, ‘Hands Of A Stranger’, ‘Evergreen’, ‘Why Me?’ and ‘Rage of Angels’.
During 1998 Assante filmed two projects. The first, Looking for an Echo, examining the relationship between Assante as a musician father and his son; and in the Ted Turner film historical docudrama C.S.S. ‘Hunley’, Assante played the commander of the first submarine launched in the American Civil War by the Confederacy.
In January 2000 Assante returned from Australia where he completed Showtime’s remake of the1959 Stanley Kramer film, ‘On The Beach’, starring again as the commander of a submarine. ‘On The Beach’ received Golden Globe nomination for Best Mini Series 2000 and received the IFA Award in Australia for Best Mini Series 2000.
Hemingway’s ‘After The Storm’ directed by Guy Ferland, in which Assante also stars, has garnered Angel City Award and Best Picture Award at New York International Film Festival.
Playing the main stage of almost every regional theatre in the East since he was nineteen years old his additional stage credits include the Broadway productions of ‘Boccaccio’, ‘Comedians’, ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and ‘Kingdoms’, as Napoleon Bonaparte as well as ‘Yanks 3, Detroit 0, Rubbers’, ‘The Beauty Part’ and ‘Lake Of The Woods’.
His Daughter Anya 36 is Director of Marketing for ‘Theory” in Manhattan having previously worked for Louis Vuitton, Christies, and David Yurman.
Alesandra 31, his younger Daughter an Actress, Producer, Singer and Composer attended Hunter College in Manhattan. They reside there and on their farm in the Hudson Valley.
Armand’s outdoor passion has seen him raise Horses, champion bloodline German Shepherds, Bulls and Trees.
His home has been photographed and documented internationally.