Giancarlo Giuseppe Alessandro Esposito (Italian pronunciation: [dʒaŋˈkarlo dʒuˈzɛppe alesˈsandro eˈspɔːzito]; born April 26, 1958) is an actor and director that holds Italian and American citizenship. He has played Gustavo "Gus" Fring on the AMC shows Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, a role for which he won the Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Award at the 2012 Critics' Choice Television Awards and was nominated for an Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series at the 2012 Primetime Emmy Awards. He stars in the live-action Star Wars series The Mandalorian on Disney+ which premiered in 2019.
Esposito at the 2017 South by Southwest Festival
Giancarlo Giuseppe Alessandro Esposito
April 26, 1958
|Occupation||Actor and director|
(m. 1995; div. 2015)
He has appeared in Spike Lee films such as Do the Right Thing, School Daze, and Mo' Better Blues. His feature film appearances include Fresh, Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man, The Usual Suspects, and King of New York. He has played Tom Neville in the NBC series Revolution and Sidney Glass / Magic Mirror on ABC's Once Upon a Time. He has had roles in two Netflix original series: The Get Down, wherein he portrays Pastor Ramon Cruz, and Dear White People, which he narrates. He also voiced "The Dentist" in the video game Payday 2.
Giancarlo Giuseppe Alessandro Esposito was born in Copenhagen, the son of Giovanni Esposito, an Italian stagehand and carpenter from Naples, and Elizabeth Foster, an African-American opera and nightclub singer from Alabama.
Esposito was raised in Denmark until the age of six, when his family settled in Manhattan, New York. He attended Elizabeth Seton College in New York and earned a two-year degree in radio and television communications.
During the 1980s, Esposito appeared in films such as Taps, Maximum Overdrive, King of New York, and Trading Places. He also performed in TV shows such as Miami Vice and Spenser: For Hire. He played J. C. Pierce, a cadet in the 1981 movie Taps.
In 1988 he landed his breakout role as the leader ("Dean Big Brother Almighty") of the black fraternity "Gamma Phi Gamma" in director Spike Lee's film School Daze, exploring color relations at black colleges. Over the next four years, Esposito and Lee collaborated on three other movies: Do the Right Thing, Mo' Better Blues, and Malcolm X. During the 1990s Esposito appeared in the acclaimed indie films Night on Earth, Fresh and Smoke, as well as its sequel Blue in the Face. He also appeared in the mainstream film Reckless with Mia Farrow, and Waiting to Exhale starring Whitney Houston and Angela Bassett. In 1995 Esposito was featured in a music video "California" by French superstar Mylene Farmer, directed by Abel Ferrara.
Esposito played FBI agent Mike Giardello on the TV crime drama Homicide: Life on the Street. That role drew from both his African American and Italian ancestry. He played this character during the show's seventh and final season. Mike's estranged father, shift lieutenant Al Giardello, is portrayed as subject to racism, something Esposito's character practiced in School Daze. Another multiracial role was as Sergeant Paul Gigante in the television comedy, Bakersfield P.D..
In 1997 Esposito played the film roles of Darryl in Trouble on the Corner and Charlie Dunt in Nothing to Lose. Other TV credits include NYPD Blue, Law & Order, The Practice, New York Undercover, and Fallen Angels: Fearless.
Esposito has portrayed drug dealers (Fresh, Breaking Bad, King of New York, Better Call Saul), policemen (The Usual Suspects, Derailed), political radicals (Bob Roberts, Do the Right Thing), and a demonic version of the Greek God of Sleep Hypnos from another dimension (Monkeybone). In 2001, he played Cassius Marcellus Clay, Sr. in Ali, and Miguel Algarín, friend and collaborator of Nuyorican poet Miguel Piñero, in Piñero.
In 2006 Esposito starred in Last Holiday as Senator Dillings, alongside Queen Latifah and Timothy Hutton. Also in 2006, he played an unsympathetic detective named Esposito in the 2005 film Hate Crime. The film explores homophobia.
Esposito played Robert Fuentes, a Miami businessman with shady connections, on the UPN television series South Beach. He has appeared in New Amsterdam and CSI: Miami. In Feel the Noise (2007), he played ex-musician Roberto, the Puerto Rican father of Omarion Grandberry's character, aspiring rap star "Rob".
He made his directorial debut with Gospel Hill (2008); he also produced the film and starred in it.
New York theater credits for Esposito 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.
From 2009 to 2011, Esposito appeared in seasons 2 through 4 of the AMC drama Breaking Bad, as Gus Fring, the head of a New Mexico-based methamphetamine drug ring. In the fourth season, he was the show's primary antagonist. He received critical acclaim for this role. He won the Best Supporting Actor in a Drama award at the 2012 Critics' Choice Television Awards and was nominated for an Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series award at the 2012 Primetime Emmy Awards, but lost to co-star Aaron Paul.
He appeared in the film Rabbit Hole (2010).
Esposito appeared in the first season of the ABC program Once Upon a Time, which debuted in October 2011. He portrayed the split role of Sidney, a reporter for The Daily Mirror in the town of Storybrooke, Maine, who is the Magic Mirror, possessed by The Evil Queen in a parallel fairy tale world.
Esposito appeared in Revolution as Major Tom Neville, a central character who kills Ben Matheson in the pilot. He escorts a captured Danny to the capital Philadelphia of the Monroe Republic.
Esposito also appeared in Community as a guest star for the episode entitled "Digital Estate Planning". He performed again in the fourth season, in the episode titled "Paranormal Parentage". Esposito has additionally appeared in a video of the action role-playing sci-fi first-person shooter game Destiny, as well as plays The Dentist, a non-playable story character, in the game Payday 2.
He has joined the DC Universe Animated Original Movies series. He played Ra's al Ghul in Son of Batman and Black Spider in Batman: Assault on Arkham. He had a recurring role in the first season of The Get Down on Netflix. In 2017, Esposito reprised his role as Gus Fring in the Breaking Bad prequel series, Better Call Saul. In the show's second season, an anagram of the first letters of every episode name spelled out "FRING'S BACK", which was revealed to be intentional by showrunners Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould. Esposito appeared in a teaser for the third season portraying Gus as the Los Pollos Hermanos owner, officially confirming Esposito's involvement in the third season.
In 2016, Esposito voiced Akela in the film The Jungle Book, which was directed by Jon Favreau. Esposito and Favreau would work together once again in the web series The Mandalorian in which Esposito appears in a starring role, while Favreau acts as an executive producer for the series and as its writer. He plays the role of NY congressman Adam Clayton Powell Jr. in the 2019 Epix series Godfather of Harlem.
|1979||Running||Puerto Rican Teenager|
|1981||Taps||Cadet Captain JC Pierce|
|1983||Enormous Changes at the Last Minute||Julio|
|1984||Go Tell It on the Mountain||Elisha|
|1984||The Cotton Club||Bumpy Hood|
|1985||Desperately Seeking Susan||Street Vendor|
|1989||Do the Right Thing||Buggin' Out|
|1990||Mo' Better Blues||Left Hand Lacey|
|1990||King of New York||Lance|
|1991||Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man||Jimmy Jiles|
|1991||Night on Earth||YoYo|
|1992||Bob Roberts||John Alijah "Bugs" Raplin|
|1992||Malcolm X||Thomas Hagan|
|1995||The Usual Suspects||Jack Baer|
|1995||Blue in the Face||Tommy|
|1995||The Keeper||Paul Lamont||Also co-producer|
|1995||Waiting to Exhale||David Matthews||Uncredited|
|1997||Nothing to Lose||Charlie Dunt|
|1997||Big City Blues||Georgie|
|2001||Ali||Cassius Marcellus Clay Sr.|
|2003||Blind Horizon||JC Reynolds|
|2004||Doing Hard Time||Captain Pierce||Direct-to-DVD|
|2004||A Killer Within||Vargas|
|2005||Hate Crime||Det. Esposito|
|2005||Chupacabra: Dark Seas||Dr. Peña||Direct-to-DVD|
|2005||I Will Avenge You, Iago!||Director|
|2005||Back in the Day||Benson Copper|
|2005||Carlito's Way: Rise to Power||Little Jeff||Direct-to-DVD|
|2005||Derailed||Detective Franklin Church|
|2006||Last Holiday||Senator Dillings|
|2006||Sherrybaby||Parole Officer Hernandez|
|2007||Racing Daylight||Fred / Drifter|
|2007||The Box||Detective Dwayne Burkhalter|
|2007||Feel the Noise||Roberto|
|2008||Gospel Hill||Dr. Palmer||Also director and producer|
|2011||S.W.A.T.: Firefight||Inspector Hollander||Direct-to-DVD|
|2012||Alex Cross||Daramus Holiday|
|2012||Dreaming American||Daytona LeMans||Short film|
|2014||Requiem for the Big East||Narrator|
|2014||Son of Batman||Ra's al Ghul (voice)||Direct-to-DVD|
|2014||Batman: Assault on Arkham||Black Spider (voice)||Direct-to-DVD|
|2015||Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials||Jorge|
|2016||The Pills – Sempre meglio che lavorare (it)||Bangla Boss|
|2016||The Jungle Book||Akela (voice)|
|2016||Money Monster||Captain Marcus Powell|
|2016||Brother Nature||Congressman Frank McClaren|
|2017||The Show||Mason Washington||Also director and producer|
|2018||Maze Runner: The Death Cure||Jorge|
|2018||MFKZ||Mr. K (voice)||English dub|
|2020||The Long Home||William Tell Oliver||Post-production|
|TBA||Da 5 Bloods||Filming|
|1981||The Gentleman Bandit||Jamie||Television film|
|1982||Sesame Street||Mickey||5 episodes|
|1982||Another World||Willie Armstrong||Episode: "4498"|
|1982–1983||Guiding Light||Clay Tynan|
|1984–85||Miami Vice||Luther, Ricky, Adonis Jackson||3 episodes|
|1985||Finnegan Begin Again||Intruder||Television film|
|1985||CBS Schoolbreak Special||Kyle||Episode: "The Exchange Student"|
|1985–86||American Playhouse||Elisha, Simon Fernandes||2 episodes|
|1986||The Equalizer||Jumpin' Jack||Episode: "The Line"|
|1987||Spenser: For Hire||Ramos||Episode: "On the Night He Was Betrayed"|
|1987||Leg Work||Tyson||Episode: "Blind Trust"|
|1990||Lifestories||Julio||Episode: "Jerry Forchette"|
|1993||The American Experience||Dr. Kenneth Clark||Episode: "Simple Justice"|
|1993–94||Bakersfield P.D.||Detective Paul Gigante||17 episodes|
|1995||New York Undercover||Adolfo Guzman||3 episodes|
|1995||Fallen Angels||Paris Minton||Episode: "Fearless"|
|1996||Chicago Hope||Cherchez LaFemme||Episode: "Right to Life"|
|1996||Swift Justice||Andrew Coffin||3 episodes|
|1996, 1998||NYPD Blue||Ferdinand Hollie, Jamaal||2 episodes|
|1996||Living Single||Jackson Turner||Episode: "Kiss of the Spider Man"|
|1996||The Tomorrow Man||Jonathan Driscoll||Pilot|
|1996–2005||Law & Order||Mr. Baylor, Rodney Fallon||3 episodes|
|1998||The Hunger||Vampire||Episode: "Fly-By-Night"|
|1998||Stardust||Mr. Peavy||Television film|
|1998||Creature||Lt. Thomas Peniston||Television film|
|1998||Thirst||Dr. Lawrence Carver||Television film|
|1998||Naked City: Justice with a Bullet||Chaz Villanueva||Television film|
|1998–99||Homicide: Life on the Street||Federal Agent Mike Giardello||22 episodes|
|2000||Touched by an Angel||Antonio||Episode: "Here I Am"|
|2000||Homicide: The Movie||Officer Mike Giardello||Television film|
|2000–01||The $treet||Tom Divack||12 episodes|
|2001||Strong Medicine||James Bell||Episode: "Mortality"|
|2001||100 Centre Street||Jacob Lenz||Episode: "Andromeda and the Monster"|
|2002||A Nero Wolfe Mystery||Ambassador Theodore Kelefy||Episode: "Immune to Murder"|
|2002||The Practice||Ray McMurphy||Episode: "Pro Se"|
|2002||Third Watch||Father Romero||Episode: "The Unforgiven"|
|2002||Girls Club||Nicholas Hahn||9 episodes|
|2004||5ive Days to Midnight||Tim Sanders||4 episodes|
|2004||NYPD 2069||Lt. Garner||Pilot|
|2004||Soul Food||Jules||2 episodes|
|2005||Law & Order: Trial by Jury||Orlando Ramirez||Episode: "Boys Will Be Boys"|
|2006||South Beach||Robert Fuentes||5 episodes|
|2006||Ghost Whisperer||Ely Fisher||Episode: "Fury"|
|2006||Bones||Richard Benoit||Episode: "The Man in the Morgue"|
|2006||Las Vegas||Reggie Archibald||Episode: "White Christmas"|
|2006–08||CSI: Miami||Chief Braga||2 episodes|
|2008||New Amsterdam||Special Agent James Lawson||Episode: "Legacy"|
|2009–11||Breaking Bad||Gustavo "Gus" Fring||24 episodes|
|2010||Leverage||Alexander Moto||Episode: "The Scheherazade Job"|
|2010||Lie to Me||Beau Hackman||Episode: "Black and White"|
|2010||Detroit 1-8-7||Eddie Henderson||Episode: "Shelter"|
|2011||Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior||Gordon Ramirez||Episode: "The Time is Now"|
|2011–17||Once Upon a Time||Sidney Glass / Magic Mirror||14 episodes|
|2012–13||Community||Gilbert Lawson||2 episodes|
|2012||NYC 22||Harvey Williams||2 episodes|
|2012–14||Revolution||Tom Neville||41 episodes|
|2013||Timms Valley||Pruit Normings (voice)||Pilot|
|2013||Axe Cop||Army Chihuahua (voice)||2 episodes|
|2013||Over / Under||Oliver Ohrt||Television film|
|2015||Allegiance||Oscar Christoph||7 episodes|
|2015||Drunk History||Andrés Pico||Episode: "Los Angeles"|
|2016–17||The Get Down||Pastor Ramon Cruz||10 episodes|
|2017||Rebel||Charles Gold||4 episodes|
|2017–present||Better Call Saul||Gustavo "Gus" Fring||17 episodes|
|2017–present||Dear White People||Narrator (voice)||20 episodes|
|2018||Westworld||El Lazo / Robert Ford||Episode: "Reunion"|
|2018||Dallas & Robo||Victor Goldsmith (voice)||5 episodes|
|2019||Jett||Charlie Baudelaire||9 episodes|
|2019||The Boys||Stan Edgar||Episode: "You Found Me"|
|2019||Godfather of Harlem||Adam Clayton Powell Jr.||Series regular|
|2019||Harley Quinn||Lex Luthor (voice)|
|2019||The Mandalorian||Moff Gideon|
Awards and nominations
- Ferraro, Thomas J. (2005). Feeling Italian: The Art of Ethnicity in America.
- LeVasseur, Andrea (2003). "Giancarlo Esposito Pictures, Biography, Filmography, News, Videos". All Movie Guide. Starpulse. Retrieved April 10, 2009.
- "Giancarlo Esposito Biography (1958–)". Film Reference. NetIndustries, LLC. Retrieved April 10, 2009.
Giancarlo Giuseppi Alessandro Esposito; born April 26, 1958, in Copenhagen, Denmark; raised in New York, N.Y., father, a stagehand and carpenter; mother, an opera and nightclub singer; married Joy McManigal (a producer), June 1995; children: Shayne Lyra, Kale Lyn
- "Giancarlo Esposito and confrontation". Los Angeles Times.
- "Giancarlo Esposito heads to Reggae Film Festival". Jamaica Gleaner. March 26, 2012. Retrieved January 23, 2016.
- "Bio: Giancarlo Esposito", Starpulse.com; accessed June 14, 2017.
- Andreeva, Nellie (July 18, 2011). "TV BITS: Giancarlo Esposito To Join ABC Series, Howie Mandel To Produce Reality Format, Ben Silveran To Publish Comic". Deadline. Mail.com Media Corp. Retrieved July 18, 2011.
- "Major Tom Neville". IMDB. Retrieved April 9, 2013.
- Kronke, David (February 17, 2012). "Exclusive: Giancarlo Esposito Talks About His Community Guest Shot". TV Guide. Retrieved February 18, 2012.
- The Deadline Team (July 28, 2014). "Disney's 'Jungle Book' Adds Christopher Walken & Giancarlo Esposito". Deadline. Retrieved December 13, 2014.
- Boucher, Geoff (December 12, 2018). "'Star Wars: The Mandalorian' Casting: Giancarlo Esposito, Carl Weathers And Werner Herzog Join Disney+ Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 12, 2018.
- Heisler, Steve (October 7, 2011). "Giancarlo Esposito". AV Club. Retrieved October 8, 2011.
- Spender, Sheldon. "ICYMI: The week on Front Row PLUS Inside new #BigEast 30 for 30 film debuting Sunday". ESPN.
- "Disney's 'Jungle Book' Adds Christopher Walken & Giancarlo Esposito". deadline.com. July 28, 2014. Retrieved July 28, 2014.
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