Joe Mantegna

Joe Mantegna is an American actor known for voicing “Fat Tony” on ‘The Simpsons’ and playing David Rossi on ‘Criminal Minds.’


Actor Joe Mantegna was born on November 13, 1947 in Illinois and went on to attend DePaul University. His early roles were on stage and TV, and he segued into movies in the mid-1980s. In 1991, he landed one of the plumb roles of his career when he was chosen to voice "Fat Tony" on the hit series The Simpsons. With well over 100 roles to his credit across stage and screen, Mantegna scored big in 2006 with a lead role on TV Criminal Minds, where he found still more enduring success.

Early Years

Joe Mantegna was born on November 13, 1947, in Chicago, Illinois and went on to attend DePaul University, where he studied to be an actor. He made his stage debut in a 1969 production of the classic musical Hair and graduated a year later with an acting degree from DePaul’s Goodman School of Drama (now called the Theatre School). It would take nearly a decade of work for Mantegna to make it to Broadway, but he did so in 1978 in the play Working (a year after he made his film debut in a short film called Medusa Challenger). 

Mantegna would switch gears into TV shortly, landing a role on the hit sitcom Soap, which kept him busy for seven episodes as Juan One. He also landed guest roles on a string of well-known shows during this period, appearing on such series as Bosom Buddies, The Greatest American Hero, It’s a Living, Archie Bunker’s Place and Simon & Simon. But the stage was where Mantegna made his first big splash, as his work in the David Mamet play Glengarry Glen Ross earned him a Tony Award in 1984. Mantegna became linked to Mamet’s work over the years, starring in A Life in the Theater, The Disappearance of the Jews and Speed the Plow (which featured Madonna).

Film and TV Work

Stage success helped Mantegna make the leap to the big screen, and in 1985 his career shifted to feature films, including Compromising Positions, The Money Pit and Suspect (1986). 1988 brought more accolades for Mantegna, as he won the Best Actor award at the prestigious Venice Film Festival for his performance in Things Change.


In the 1990s, his stride continued in the form of roles in The Godfather III, acclaimed crime thriller Homicide (1991) and the comedy Baby’s Day Out (1994). Among other notable movies in which Mantegna appeared during this period were Woody Allen's Alice (1990) and Celebrity (1998), Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993), Forget Paris (1995) and Thinner (1996), based on the book by Stephen King.

Mantegna began voicing the character of Springfield mobster Fat Tony on The Simpsons in 1991, a gig that has continued through 2015. His enduring character has appeared in more than 25 episodes of the animated series and counting. 

He also starred in the miniseries The Last Don, written by Mario Puzo, of Godfather fame, in 1997. That role earned Mantegna an Emmy nomination, the first of three he would receive (The Rat Pack, 1999, and The Starter Wife, 2007).

Teaming up with David Mamet once again, Mantegna directed the Mamet-penned Lakeboat in 2000, his feature directorial debut, and also kept busy with a series of original A&E detective films based on Robert Parker's popular Spenser novels.

Criminal Minds and Recent Work

In 2007, Mantegna landed the juicy role of David Rossi on the popular TV series Criminal Minds. Rossi is a tough but caring agent working with the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit, and his character became a quick hit with the show’s loyal audience. Mantegna has now been on the show for 10 seasons, and it just might be the defining role of his career.

Mantegna’s recent film work includes roles in Nine Lives (2005) and David Mamet’s Redbelt (2008) and providing his voice to such projects as Justice League: The New Frontier (2008) and Cars 2 (2011). 

Personal Life

Joe Mantegna married Arlene Vrhel in 1975 and the couple have two children, Mia (b. 1987) and Gina "Gia" (b. 1990). Mia was born prematurely and was diagnosed with autism as a toddler.

In addition to bringing attention to autism, the actor lends support to organizations that help veterans. He also is the national spokesperson for the Army Historical Foundation and their goal to build The National Army Museum.

In 2011, Mantegna received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

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