Actor Dominic Chianese

Dominic Chianese (Italian pronunciation: [kjaˈneːze; -eːse]; born February 24, 1931) is an American actor, singer, and musician. He is best known for his roles as Corrado “Junior” Soprano on the HBO series The Sopranos (1999–2007), Johnny Ola in The Godfather Part II (1974), and Leander in Boardwalk Empire (2011–2013).

Early life

Chianese was born in the Bronx, New York. His father was a bricklayer. His paternal grandfather immigrated to the United States from Naples in 1904, and settled in the Bronx. He graduated from the Bronx High School of Science in 1948.


After a decade of attending college and appearing in off-Broadway theatre, Chianese attended his first professional acting class at HB Studio in Manhattan, with renowned teacher Walt Witcover. Drama and musical theater became Chianese’s passion. His first Broadway show was Oliver! in 1965. He has continued to perform in Broadway theatre, Off Broadway, and regional theatre. To supplement income in the dry periods, he played rhythm guitar and sang in taverns and restaurants, and also served as the master of ceremonies at the open microphone night at Gerdes Folk City in Greenwich Village. Chianese’s first television credit occurred when George C. Scott recommended him for a role in the acclaimed series East Side/West Side. In 1974, Francis Ford Coppola cast Chianese as Johnny Ola in The Godfather Part II, which sparked a film career, culminating in several films (and plays) with Al Pacino.

Before being cast in The Godfather Part II, Chianese worked for the Drug Commission of New York State as a recreational worker in a rehabilitation center. He taught guitar to women who were serving time for drug-related crimes.

In 2010, Chianese received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor in recognition of his humanitarian efforts.

Chianese has appeared in four movies with Al Pacino:

  • The Godfather Part II (1974) – as Johnny Ola
  • Dog Day Afternoon (1975) – as Sonny’s Father
  • …And Justice For All (1979) – as Carl Travers
  • Looking for Richard (1996) – as Himself
  • Chianese is an accomplished tenor and musician, having released a CD titled Hits in 2000, on which he sings American and Italian songs. He performed Salvatore Cardillo’s sentimental classic “Core ‘ngrato” (“Ungrateful Heart”), on the third-season finale of The Sopranos (episode 3.13, “Army of One”). In 2003, Chianese, along with AOL Music, released a second CD titled Ungrateful Heart, which features 16 classic Neapolitan songs. In the 2000s he played in a mandolin quartet weekly at the Hotel Edison, New York City.

    Chianese appeared as a guest actor on the HBO series Boardwalk Empire for three seasons as Leander Whitlock, a retired lawyer and power broker.

    In December 2018, Chianese and co-author Matthew Sargent published a biography of Chianese, titled Twelve Angels: The Women Who Taught Me How to Act, Live, and Love.



    Year Title Role Notes
    1972 Fuzz Panhandler
    1974 The Godfather Part II Johnny Ola
    1975 Dog Day Afternoon Mr. Wortzik
    1976 All the President’s Men Eugenio R. Martínez
    1978 Fingers Arthur Fox
    1978 On the Yard Mendoza Uncredited
    1979 Firepower Orlov
    1979 …And Justice for All Carl Travers
    1981 Fort Apache, the Bronx Mr. Corelli
    1989 Second Sight Father Dominic
    1990 Q&A Larry Pesch / Vito / Lorenzo Franconi
    1991 Out for Justice Mr. Madano
    1992 The Public Eye Spoleto
    1993 Rivalen des Glücks – The Contenders Father of the bride
    1993 The Night We Never Met Nosy Neighbor
    1996 If Lucy Fell Al
    1996 Love Is All There Is Italian Consul
    1996 The Mouse Al the Trainer
    1996 Looking for Richard Himself Documentary
    1997 Night Falls on Manhattan Judge Impelliteri
    1998 Went to Coney Island on a Mission from God… Be Back by Five Mickey
    1999 Cradle Will Rock Silvano
    2002 Unfaithful Frank Wilson
    2004 When Will I Be Loved Count Tommaso Lupo
    2004 King of the Corner Stan Marshak
    2007 The Last New Yorker Lenny Sugarman
    2007 Adrift in Manhattan Tommaso Pensara
    2011 Mr. Popper’s Penguins Reader
    2013 The Family Vinnie Caprese
    2017 Active Adults Bart


    Year Title Role Notes
    1964 East Side/West Side Charley Episode: “The Street”
    1976 Kojak George Mallick Episode: “A Hair-Trigger Away”
    1980 A Time for Miracles Promoter Television movie
    1981 Ryan’s Hope Alexei Vartova 40 episodes
    1986 Tales from the Darkside Correlli’s father Episode: “A Choice of Dreams”
    1989 L.A. Law Dr. Peter Lacker (uncredited) Episode: “I’m in the Nude for Love”
    1990 The Lost Capone Gabriel Capone Television movie
    1991 Law & Order Dan Rubell Episode: “Sonata for Solo Organ”
    1995–1997 Law & Order Judge Paul Kaylin 2 episodes
    1996 Gotti Joe Armone Television movie
    1997 Cosby N/A Episode: “Lucas Raymondicus”
    The Sopranos Corrado ‘Junior’ Soprano 55 episodes
    Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (2000)
    Nominated—Golden Nymph Award for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series
    Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (2000–01)
    Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (2001–03, 2005, 2007)
    2004 Hope & Faith Irv Miller Episode: “Trade Show”
    2004 Crimes of Fashion George Television movie
    2010 Damages Stuart Zedeck 7 episodes
    2010 Blue Bloods Jack ‘Happy Jack’ Vintano Episode: “Officer Down”
    2011 The Secret Life of the American Teenager Vic 2 episodes
    2011–2013 Boardwalk Empire Leander Cephas Whitlock 12 episodes
    Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (2012)
    2012–2015 The Good Wife Judge Michael Marx 5 episodes
    2019 The Village Enzo Main cast
    2019 Inspector Montalbano John Zuck Episode: “Un diario del ’43”
    Chianese’s voice is dubbed by Gianni Giuliano

    External Links

    Actor Dominic Chianese – Wikipedia

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