Joe Dallesandro

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Joe Dallesandro
Joe Dallesandro 01.jpg
Dallesandro at the 2009 Seattle International Film Festival.
Joseph Angelo D'Allesandro III

(1948-12-31) December 31, 1948 (age 70)
Other names
  • Joe Catano
  • Little Joe
  • Actor
  • model
Years active1967–present
  • Leslie
    (m. 1967;div. 1969)
  • Theresa
    (m. 1970;div. 1978)
  • Kim Dallesandro(m. 1987)

Joseph Angelo D'Allesandro III (born December 31, 1948) is an American actor and Warhol superstar. Having also crossed over into mainstream roles like mobster Lucky Luciano in The Cotton Club , Dallesandro is generally considered to be the most famous male sex symbol of American underground films of the 20th century, as well as a sex symbol of gay subculture. [1]

Actor person who acts in a dramatic or comic production and works in film, television, theatre, or radio

An actor is a person who portrays a character in a performance. The actor performs "in the flesh" in the traditional medium of the theatre or in modern media such as film, radio, and television. The analogous Greek term is ὑποκριτής (hupokritḗs), literally "one who answers". The actor's interpretation of their role—the art of acting—pertains to the role played, whether based on a real person or fictional character. Interpretation occurs even when the actor is "playing themselves", as in some forms of experimental performance art.

Lucky Luciano Italian-American mobster

Charles "Lucky" Luciano was an influential Italian-born mobster, criminal mastermind, and crime lord who operated mainly in the United States. Luciano is considered the father of modern organized crime in the United States for the establishment of the first Commission. He was also the first official boss of the modern Genovese crime family. He was, along with his associates, instrumental in the development of the National Crime Syndicate.

<i>The Cotton Club</i> (film) 1984 film by Francis Ford Coppola

The Cotton Club is a 1984 American crime-drama film centered on a Harlem jazz club of the 1930s, the Cotton Club. The film was co-written and directed by Francis Ford Coppola, choreographed by Henry LeTang, and starred Richard Gere, Gregory Hines, Diane Lane, and Lonette McKee. The supporting cast included Bob Hoskins, James Remar, Nicolas Cage, Allen Garfield, Laurence Fishburne, Gwen Verdon and Fred Gwynne.


Dallesandro starred in the 1968 film produced by Andy Warhol, Flesh , as a teenage street hustler. Rolling Stone magazine in 1970 declared his second starring vehicle, Trash , the "Best Film of the Year", making him a star of the youth culture, sexual revolution and subcultural New York City art collective of the 1970s. Dallesandro also starred in 1972's Heat , another Warhol film that was conceived as a parody of Sunset Boulevard .

Andy Warhol American artist

Andy Warhol was an American artist, director and producer who was a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art. His works explore the relationship between artistic expression, advertising, and celebrity culture that flourished by the 1960s, and span a variety of media, including painting, silkscreening, photography, film, and sculpture. Some of his best known works include the silkscreen paintings Campbell's Soup Cans (1962) and Marilyn Diptych (1962), the experimental film Chelsea Girls (1966), and the multimedia events known as the Exploding Plastic Inevitable (1966–67).

<i>Flesh</i> (1968 film) 1968 film by Paul Morrissey

Flesh is a 1968 film directed by Paul Morrissey and starring Joe Dallesandro as a hustler working on the streets of New York City. It highlights various Warhol superstars, in addition to being the film debuts of both Jackie Curtis and Candy Darling. Also appearing are Geraldine Smith as Joe's wife and Patti D'Arbanville as her lover. Flesh was first shown at the New Andy Warhol Garrick Theatre at 152 Bleecker Street, Manhattan, New York City on September 26, 1968.

<i>Trash</i> (1970 film) 1970 film by Paul Morrissey

Trash is a 1970 American drama film directed and written by Paul Morrissey and starring Joe Dallesandro, Holly Woodlawn and Jane Forth. Dallesandro had previously starred in several other Andy Warhol/Paul Morrissey films such as The Loves of Ondine, Lonesome Cowboys, San Diego Surf, and Flesh. Dallesandro was Morrissey's preferred leading man.

Early life

He was born in Pensacola, Florida to Joseph Angelo D'Allesandro II, who was in the U.S. Navy. His mother, Thelma Testman, was 16 years old. By the time he was five years old, she was serving five years in a Federal Penitentiary for interstate auto theft. Dallesandro and his brother Bobby were taken to New York by their father, who worked as an electrical engineer. Both boys were eventually placed into the Angel Guardian Home in Harlem, prior to being fostered by a couple in Brooklyn. The family later moved to North Babylon, Long Island. The senior D'Allesandro would visit them about once a month at their foster parents' home. Dallesandro was initially content living with his foster parents, but later reportedly began to resent them, thinking that they were preventing him from living with his father. [2]

Pensacola, Florida City in Florida, United States

Pensacola is the westernmost city in the Florida Panhandle, approximately 13 miles (21 km) from the border with Alabama, and the county seat of Escambia County, in the U.S. state of Florida. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 51,923, down from 56,255 at the 2000 census. Pensacola is the principal city of the Pensacola metropolitan area, which had an estimated 494,883 residents in 2018.

Harlem Neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City

Harlem is a neighborhood in the northern section of the New York City borough of Manhattan. It is bounded roughly by Frederick Douglass Boulevard, St. Nicholas Avenue, and Morningside Park on the west; the Harlem River and 155th Street on the north; Fifth Avenue on the east; and Central Park North on the south. It is part of greater Harlem, an area that encompasses several other neighborhoods and extends west to the Hudson River, north to 155th Street, east to the East River, and south to 96th Street.

Brooklyn Borough in New York City and county in New York state, United States

Brooklyn is the most populous borough of New York City, with an estimated 2,648,771 residents in 2017. Named after the Dutch village of Breukelen, it borders the borough of Queens at the western end of Long Island. Brooklyn has several bridge and tunnel connections to the borough of Manhattan across the East River, and the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge connects it with Staten Island. Since 1896, Brooklyn has been coterminous with Kings County, the most populous county in the U.S. state of New York and the second-most densely populated county in the United States, after New York County.

Dallesandro began acting out, and became aggressive. He repeatedly ran away from his foster home until his birth father finally relented and allowed him to live with him. [2] At age 14, Dallesandro and his brother moved to Queens to live with their paternal grandparents and their father. [3]

At age 15, he was expelled from school for punching the school principal, who had reportedly insulted his father. After this, he began hanging out with gangs and stealing cars. In one such instance, Dallesandro panicked and smashed the stolen car he was driving through the gate of the Holland Tunnel. He was stopped by a police roadblock and was shot once in the leg by police who mistakenly thought he was armed. Dallesandro managed to escape being caught by police, but was later arrested when his father took him to the hospital for his gunshot wound. He was sentenced to Camp Cass Rehabilitation Center for Boys in the Catskills in 1964. [4] In 1965, he ran away from the camp, and supported himself by nude modeling, appearing most notably in short films and magazine photos for Bob Mizer's Athletic Model Guild. [5]

Holland Tunnel Tunnel under the Hudson River between Jersey City, New Jersey and Manhattan, New York

The Holland Tunnel is a vehicular tunnel under the Hudson River. It connects Manhattan in New York City, New York, to the east, and Jersey City, New Jersey, to the west. An integral conduit within the New York metropolitan area, the Holland Tunnel is operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ). The tunnel carries Interstate 78; the New Jersey side is also designated the eastern terminus of New Jersey Route 139.

Model (person) person employed to display, advertise and promote products, or to serve as a visual aid

A model is a person with a role either to promote, display or advertise commercial products, or to serve as a visual aid for people who are creating works of art or to pose for photography.

Bob Mizer American photographer and filmmaker

Robert Henry Mizer, known as Bob Mizer, was an American photographer and filmmaker, known for pushing boundaries of depicting male homoerotic content with his work in the mid 20th century.


Underground film career

Dallesandro met Andy Warhol and Paul Morrissey in 1967 while they were shooting Four Stars , and they cast him in the film on the spot. [6] Warhol would later comment "In my movies, everyone's in love with Joe Dallesandro." [7]

Paul Morrissey American film director

Paul Morrissey is an American film director, best known for his association with Andy Warhol.

Four Stars is a 1967 avant-garde film by Andy Warhol, actually consisting of 25 hours of film. In typical Warhol fashion of the period, each reel of the film is 35 minutes long, or 1200 ft. in length, and is shot in sync-sound.

Dallesandro played a hustler in his third Warhol film, Flesh (1968), where he had several nude scenes. Flesh became a crossover hit with mainstream audiences, and Dallesandro became the most popular of the Warhol stars. New York Times film critic Vincent Canby wrote of him: "His physique is so magnificently shaped that men as well as women become disconnected at the sight of him." [8]

As Dallesandro's underground fame began to cross over into the popular culture, he appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone in April 1971. He was also photographed by some of the top celebrity photographers of the time: Francesco Scavullo, Annie Leibovitz, Richard Avedon. [9]

Dallesandro appeared in Lonesome Cowboys (1968), Trash (1970), Heat (1972), Andy Warhol's Frankenstein , and Andy Warhol's Dracula (both 1974), also directed by Morrissey. These last two films were shot in Europe. After filming was complete, he chose not to return to the U.S. [10] He appeared in Serge Gainsbourg's Je t'aime moi non plus (France, 1976), which starred Gainsbourg's wife, British actress Jane Birkin.

Mainstream career

Dallesandro continued to star in films made mainly in France and Italy for the rest of the decade, returning to the U.S. in the 1980s. He made several mainstream films during the 1980s and 1990s. One of his first notable roles was that of 1920s gangster Lucky Luciano in Francis Coppola's The Cotton Club (1984). Working with manager/attorney Stann Findelle, his career enjoyed a resurgence.

He had roles in Critical Condition (1987) opposite Richard Pryor, Sunset (1988) with Bruce Willis and James Garner, Cry-Baby (1990) with Johnny Depp, Guncrazy (1992) with Drew Barrymore, and Steven Soderbergh's 1999 film The Limey . He has also worked in television. In 1986, he co-starred in the ABC drama series Fortune Dane . The series lasted only five episodes. Dallesandro has also made guest appearances on Wiseguy , Miami Vice , and Matlock . [11]

The Teddy Award, an honor recognizing those filmmakers and artists who have contributed to the further acceptance of LGBT people, culture and artistic vision, was awarded to Joe in February 2009. A biography, Little Joe: Superstar by Michael Ferguson was released earlier in 2001, and a filmed documentary, Little Joe (2009), was released with Dallesandro serving as writer and producer. His adopted daughter, Vedra Mehagian, also served as a producer of the film.[ citation needed ]

Personal life

Dallesandro is openly bisexual, [12] has married three times, and has three children. [13]

He married his first wife, Leslie, the daughter of his father's girlfriend, in 1967. Their son, Michael, was born December 19, 1968. The marriage was dissolved in 1969. Dallesandro has a grandson and a granddaughter by his son Michael, as well as a grandson by his son Joseph. [14] His second marriage was to Theresa ("Terry") in 1970. Their son, Joseph A. Dallesandro, Jr., was born November 14, 1970. The couple divorced in early 1978. In 1987, Dallesandro was married a third time, to Kimberly ("Kim").[ citation needed ]

Semi-retired from acting, as of 2009 Dallesandro managed an apartment building in Los Angeles. [15]

Selected filmography

1967 Four Stars College WrestlerAlternative title: The 24 Hour Movie
1968 San Diego Surf Joe
1968The Loves of OndineCollege Wrestler
1968 Flesh Joe, the hustlerAlternative title: Andy Warhol's Flesh
1968 Lonesome Cowboys Little JoeAlternative title: Ramona and Julian
1970 Trash Joe SmithAlternative title: Andy Warhol's Trash
1972 Heat Joey Davis
1973 Andy Warhol's Frankenstein Nicholas, the stableboyAlternative title: Flesh for Frankenstein
1974 Blood for Dracula Mario Balato, the ServantAlternative title: Andy Warhol's Dracula
1974 The Gardener Carl, the GardenerAlternative titles: Garden of Death, Seeds of Evil
1975 The Climber Aldo, the ClimberAlternative title: L'ambizioso
1975 Black Moon Brother Lily
1975 Savage Three Ovidio MainardiAlternative title: Fango bollente
1975 Season for Assassins Pierro GiaranaldiAlternative title: Il tempo degli assassini
1976 Je t'aime moi non plus KrasskyAlternative title: I Love You, I Don't or I Love You ... Neither Do I
1976 La Marge SigismondAlternative title: The Streetwalker
1978 Safari Rally Joe MassiAlternative title: 6000 km di paura
1978 Killer Nun Dr. Patrick RolandAlternative titles: Suor Omicidi
Deadly Habits
1980 Madness Joe BrezziAlternative title: Vacanze per un massacro
1982Queen LearJoseph Kunz, the father
1984 The Cotton Club Charles "Lucky" Luciano
1986 Fortune Dane 'Perfect' Tommy Nicautri5 episodes
1987 Critical Condition Stucky
1987 Miami Vice Alfredo GiulinniEpisode: "Down for the Count: Part 2"
1987 Wiseguy Paul 'Pat the Cat' Patrice5 episodes
1988 Sunset Dutch Schultz
1988 The Hitchhiker GerardEpisode: "Fashion Exchange"
1988Double RevengeJoe Halsey
1989The Hollywood DetectiveEddie NorthcottTelevision movie
1990 Matlock Bobby Boyd2 episodes
1990 Almost an Angel Bank Hood Leader
1990 Cry-Baby Mr. Hackett
1991Inside OutRichardSegment: "The Diaries"
1991Wild Orchid II: Two Shades of BlueJules
1992 Guncrazy Rooney
1992Love Is Like ThatBoss
1994 Sugar Hill Tony Adamo
1995 Theodore Rex RoganDirect-to-video release
1998 L.A. Without a Map Michael
1999 The Limey Uncle JohnCredited as Joe Dallessandro
2000BeefcakeCameos, old footage
2002Pacino Is MissingSal Colletti
2008 3 Stories About Evil Jean MariesShort film

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  1. Morris, Gary (March 31, 2010). "Bright Lights Film Journal: Books: Little Joe, Superstar: The Films of Joe Dallesandro". Retrieved October 7, 2010.
  2. 1 2 Watson 2003 , p. 22
  3. Watson 2003 , p. 23
  4. Watson 2003 , p. 1962
  5. Watson 2003 , pp. 237–238
  6. "Interview with Joe Dallesandro". Manner of Man Magazine.
  7. Greenberg, Jan; Jordan, Sandra (2009). Andy Warhol, Prince of Pop. Random House Digital, Inc. p. 120. ISBN   978-0-307-51306-9.
  8. Hawkins, Joan (2000). Cutting Edge: Art-Horror and the Horrific Avant-garde. University of Minnesota Press. p. 197. ISBN   0-8166-3413-0.
  9. Man to Man: A History of Gay Photography. Vendome Press. 2007. p. 78.
  10. Ferguson, Dr. Michael (2004). Idol Worship: A Shamless Celebration of Male Beauty in the Cinema (2 ed.). STARbooks Press. p. 162. ISBN   1-891855-48-4.
  11. Joe Dallesandro on IMDb
  12. Ferguson & Dallesandro 1998 , p. 82
  13. Lyons, Tina (1998). "Joe Dallesandro,1998". Retrieved November 18, 2012.
  14. Ferguson & Dallesandro 1998 , pp. 19–20
  15. O'Brien, Glenn (July 6, 2009). "Joe Dallesandro". Retrieved November 18, 2012.
  16. Roberts, Chris (2004). A Walk On The Wild Side: The Stories Behind the Songs: Lou Reed. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 44. ISBN   0-634-08032-6.
  17. "Album Cover Joe". Archived from the original on July 13, 2011. Retrieved October 7, 2010.
  18. Grønstad, Asbjørn; Vagnes, Oyvind (2010). Cover Scaping: Discovering Album Aesthetics. Museum Tusculanum Press. p. 104. ISBN   978-87-635-0774-5.