Joe Mantegna, drawing on his Italian roots, lends his support for the Sicily Peace, Security & Prosperity Conference

Italian-American actor, movie star, director and philanthropist Joe Mantegna says his Sicilian roots and the experiences of his parents’ generation in the Second World War are behind his support for The Sicily Peace, Security & Prosperity Conference at Catania’s Le Ciminiere Festival Centre on 7-8 July.

“In my career I’ve portrayed many characters who dramatize the good and evil in people,” he says in a specially-recorded video message released this week. “In history we also encounter such people, perhaps witnessed no more starkly than in World War II, a dark yet ultimately triumphant period that we’re here to remember and commemorate today.”

Born in Chicago, Mantegna’s career began after he graduated from Goodman School of Drama at the Art Institute of Chicago (now at DePaul University) as bass player in a band named The Apocryphals. It later played with The Missing Links, another Chicago group that formed the band Chicago.

Mantegna made his acting debut in the Chicago production of the stage musical Hair in 1969 and debuted on Broadway in Working. He co-wrote Bleacher Bums, an award-winning play, which was first performed at Chicago’s Organic Theater Company, and was a member of its original cast.

Mantegna won a Tony award for his portrayal of Richard Roma in David Mamet‘s play Glengarry Glen Ross. He has had a long and successful association with Mamet.

Mantegna made his feature film debut in Medusa Challenger. His other early film roles included supporting performances in The Money Pit (1986), Weeds (1987) and Suspect (1987).

Mantegna starred in the critically-acclaimed movies House of Games (1987) and Things Change (1988), both written by Mamet. He and Things Change co-star Don Ameche received the Best Actor Award at the Venice Film Festival. In 1991, Mantegna starred in the highly-praised police thriller Homicide, another Mamet story.

Joe Mantegna with Francis Ford Coppola during filming of Godfather III

Mantegna has played a wide range of roles including as Joey Zasa in The Godfather Part III (1990) and in an Emmy-nominated performance as singer Dean Martin in HBO’s film The Rat Pack (1998). He has a recurring role in the animated series The Simpsons as the voice of mob boss Anthony “Fat Tony” D’Amico.

Mantegna’s accolades include a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Los Angeles Italian Film Festival in 2004. On April 29, 2011, Mantegna received the 2,438th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles. Later that year, Mantegna’s hometown of Cicero, Illinois celebrated his body of work with an honorary street sign—Joe Mantegna Boulevard—on the northeast corner of Austin Boulevard and 25th Street, the location of his high school. In 2014, Mantegna received a star on the Italian Walk of Fame in Toronto. On May 3, 2017, the city of Chicago dedicated Joe Mantegna Way, a section of Armitage Avenue where Mantegna lived during his early acting days.

Hollywood Walk of Fame and the Joe Mantegna Boulevard in Cicero, Illinois

In 2015, Mantegna received a Lifetime Achievement Award for Film and Television from The Riverside International Film Festival. The same year, Mantegna received the Saint Pio Award from the Saint Pio Foundation in recognition of his contribution to those in need.


Recognition from the St Pio Foundation of Tuckahoe, New York

Mantegna’s commitment to the Italian-American community reflects his close ties with the mother country.

“All of my grandparents emigrated to the United States from Italy. My father’s parents from Calascibetta, Sicily,” he says. “I’m proud of my Italian heritage and thankful that I have the opportunity to express my appreciation to my fellow Sicilians in their determination to cast off the bonds of tyranny and join the efforts of the freedom-loving nations that were united in World War II.”

“The Peace, Security and Prosperity theme of this conference is a worthy goal,” Mantegna says. “And we know it’s taken time and sacrifice to reach that goal.”

“The military forces of the United States, Italy and other nations have been keys to this progress toward lasting peace,” Mantegna says. “When I’m able, I lend time to groups devoted to preserving the great tradition of our American military and veterans such as the National Army Museum, the Gary Sinise Foundation, Operation Gratitude and the National Memorial Day Concert.”

“All five of my uncles fought in World War II,” Mantegna says. “And I have a special place in my heart for memorializing their sacrifice and for all those who served in that war in the name of liberty.”

You can see the video here.

The Sicily Peace, Security & Prosperity Conference has been organised in partnership with Museo Storico dello Sbarco in Sicilia 1943. It is supported by the International Forum for Peace, Security & Prosperity, a Canadian non-profit which is organising the third, 325km Walk for Remembrance & Peace which starts in Pachino at 0800 on Monday 10 July.

Admission to the conference is free of charge for registered delegates. You can register here.


Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments