The king of character actors, Steve Buscemi has made us laugh through his decades in Hollywood. From big budget flicks to independent projects he has appeared in well over 100 movies over the past 30 years.
With an impressive list of movie titles under his belt including Fargo, Reservoir Dogs, Monsters, Inc. and The Big Lebowski, he continues to add to his filmography every year.
Well, we always know that he will have us laughing when he comes on screen, there are many things we didn’t know about this iconic actor of our time.
1. He was born on Friday the 13th.
With more movie deaths than we can count, it only seems appropriate that he was born on such a foreboding date. Growing up in Brooklyn New York, he experienced his fair share of misfortune. As a kid, he was hit by a bus and a car in separate instances. On the plus side, he used the settlement money from the bus accident to attend the Lee Strasberg Theater & Film Institute in New York City. I guess everything happens for a reason.
2. He was a New York City firefighter.
As a teen, Buscemi worked several odd jobs including ice cream truck driver, mover and gas station attendant. When he turned 22 he became a member of Engine Co. 55, located in New York City’s Little Italy district. While he was answering emergency calls during the day, he was on stage at improv clubs and auditioning for acting roles at night.
3. He refuses to fix his teeth
Buscemi’s signature crooked grin has helped him play lowlifes and losers throughout his long career. Many dentists have approached him and offered to fix the actor’s teeth, but he has always turned them down.
He knows the values of his chompers to his brand. During a guest starring role on The Simpsons, he poked fun at the fact that dentists have offered to straighten out his teeth.
“You’re going to kill my livelihood if you do that!”
4. We’ve been pronouncing his name wrong all along
Many people pronounce his last name as “Boo-shemmy,” it turns out that is not actually how the actor refers to his name. Buscemi himself pronounces it “Boo-semmy.” He says that he is following his father’s prounciation, but doesn’t hold a grudge to anyone who says it differently.
As it turns out, fans have it right. At least, mostly. On a trip to Sicily to visit family, the actor noticed everyone saying “Boo-SHAY-me.”
5. His favorite on screen death is not Fargo
Avid watchers of his movies often agree that Buscemi’s demise in Fargo is the best of the best. His character Carol Showalter dies by way of axe followed by a date with the wood chipper. That is, however, not Buscemi’s favorite on screen death. It’s actually The Big Lebowski. A surprise to most views, his character Donny Kerabatsos succumbs to a heart attack. He enjoyed the randomness of the character’s death.
“They thought, ‘Well, Buscemi’s in it, so we’ve gotta kill him,’” the actor said in an appearance on The Daily Show.
6. His character in Con Air was written specifically for him
The movie filled with muscled-up prisoners planning to take over their transport plane had Buscemi playing the most dangerous con of them all. Garland Greene was a serial killer that people describe “make the Manson family look like the Partridge family.” He was found on screen strapped to a chair with a Hannibal Lecter masked affixed to his face.
Screenwriter Scott Rosenberg, who was a friend of Buscemi’s, describes writing the part with him in mind and was excited when he accepted the role.
To this day fans still serenade the actor with “He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands.”
7. He got stabbed in a bar fight
On April 12, 2001, while filming Domestic Disturbance in North Carolina, Buscemi, his co-star Vince Vaugh, and screenwriter Scott Rosenberg went out for drinks at the Firebelly Lounge.
After Vaughn exchanged a few insults with another man at the bar after his girlfriend was flirting with the actor, the two stepped outside. After a brief scuffle, Buscemi was confronted by a man with a pocketknife. The funnyman suffered stab wounds to his face, throat and hands. His attacker, Timothy Fogerty was charged with assault with a deadly weapon. Instead of pressing additional charges, Buscemi insisted Fogerty to enter a substance abuse program.
8. He rejoined his fireman crew after 9/11
After the attack on New York City’s Twin Towers on September 11, the actor was desperate to help. Even though it had been nearly 20 years since he had put on his fireman gear, the actor reunited with his Engine 55 team and together they searched the towers’ debris for survivors. He did not want his actions publicized and it took nearly 10 years before word got out.
“Brother Steve worked 12-hour shifts alongside other firefighters digging and sifting through the rubble,” a Facebook post from Engine 55 read. “This guy is a badass!”
Source: Mental Floss