In 1966, Michael Imperioli was created in Mount Vernon, New York. Both his mother Claire and his father Dan worked as part-time actors and bus drivers. He is of Italian ancestry because his ancestors originated in the Lazio and Calabria regions of that country.
Imperioli made his film debut in 1989 with the Morgan Freeman-starring films “Alexa” and “Lean on Me.” But the following year, he received his big break when Martin Scorsese’s critically acclaimed film “Goodfellas” cast him as Spider.
Imperioli played his first of many mobster roles in this movie. After that, he appeared in the Spike Lee-directed romantic drama “Jungle Fever,” which also starred Wesley Snipes; the crime drama “Fathers & Sons,” which starred Jeff Goldblum and Rosanna Arquette; and the Spike Lee-produced drama “Malcolm X,” which starred Denzel Washington as the titular civil rights leader.
Imperioli continued to land supporting parts in films like “Household Saints,” which was an adaptation of a book starring Tracey Ullman and Vincent D’Onofrio, during the 1990s. In the middle of the 1990s, Imperioli was quite active. He appeared in 19 films from 1994 to 1996, playing modest to major roles. He appeared in five films in 1995 alone: the criminal thriller “Dead Presidents,” the action-comedy.
“Bad Boys,” the Hal Hartley drama “Flirt,” and the biographical crime drama “The Basketball Diaries,” which was one of Leonardo DiCaprio’s first significant appearances. Another Spike Lee film, “Clockers,” featured Imperioli as a detective.
Victoria Chlebowski and Imperioli have been wed since 1995. They reside in Santa Barbara, California, with their three kids. In 2008, Imperioli converted to Buddhism. He enjoys practicing Tae Kwon Do with his entire family.
He received praise early in his career for his portrayal of Spider in Martin Scorsese’s 1990 gangster film “Goodfellas.” One of the most famous scenes in the film has Joe Pesci’s character talking back to Spider, who is subsequently fatally shot.
In the films “Lean on Me,” “Jungle Fever,” and “Malcolm X,” he also had small roles. Later projects by Imperioli include the films “The Basketball Diaries,” “Summer of Sam,” “Shark Tale,” and “The Lovely Bones,” as well as the TV shows “Law & Order,” “Life on Mars,” and “Detroit 1-8-7.”