Vincent Spano is an American actor of italian descent born in Brooklynn, NY, on October 18th, 1962. Catherine H. le 11-11-2000 translation : 06-27-2001
It is while he was a student at Stuyvesant High School that he was discovered by the mother of one of his friends and selected to act in the Broadway play "The Shadow Box" under the stage name of Vincent Stewart in the role of Steve, "a boy with a loud mouth and a soft guitar." He was then fourteen.
"The Double Mc Guffin" and "Over The Edge" were his first full length motion pictures, when the wider audiences got their first look at this rangy lad with a lot of hair who was not quite finished growing into his fabulous profile.
"Over The Edge" had a special quality, (every parent should be made to watch this one.) An unpretentious movie, it has, since, become something of a cult classic. It is an account of teenagers bored into delinquency in a new community, where the planners failted to plan on one quarter of the population being under eighteen. This apparently "nice" neigborhood is actually a powder keg of hidden violence and rage. While the parents are busy enhancing their property value the kids do sex, drugs, booze and get into all kinds of mischief. When a boy is shot and killed by the police, violence ignites, threatening the entire community. Vincent was Mark, a razor sharp teen who really and truly wants to stir up trouble. O.T. E also marked the movie debuts for Matt Dillon with whom Vincent forged a lasting friendship.
He, then spent a few years finishing his schooling and getting small roles in films : "A Stranger is watching" "Senior Trip" and "The Gentleman Bandit"
In 1983, "Rumble Fish" came out, directed by The Master, Francis Coppola. We see him, hair dyed blonde, in the role of Steve Hays, Rusty James' smart and nerdy best friend The film features a galaxie of future stars : Beside Matt Dillon and Vincent, there was also , Nicolas Cage, Mickey Rourke, Dennis Hopper, Tom Waits, Lawrence Fishburn, Chris Penn, Diane Lane. It was a splendid accomplishment if perhaps a little dark for American audiences, far better (opinion mine) to "The Outsiders" another based on a novel by S,E Hinton, which became a much bigger commercial succes
"Rumble fish" is followed by a hilarious and sad little gem named "Baby Its You" about a class doomed relationship in the difficult, transitionnal period of the early sixties. Vincent played the Italian catholic bad boy "Sheik" in love with a nice middle-class jewish girl played by Rosanna Arquette.
After this he seems very much in demand. He does "Alphabet City" the story of Johnny, a hoodlum who finds himself a conscience. The film is dark and stylish, unhappily, a little thin in the substance department, but Vincent; does a great job of it... and, he looks gorgeous. Those who remember the skinny kid of "Over The Edge" find out that he's filled-out very nicely, indeed.
"Creator" follows shortly. He is Boris, his character opposite to that of a Johnny or a "Sheik" mentionned higher; Boris is a free spirited grad student , sweet ,horny, vulnerable but strong in his unshakable love for Barbara (Virginia Madsen.) He Holds his own very well opposite the marvelous Peter O'Toole. With its wacky storyline and great characters "creator "was highly watchable and re-watchable..again and again. What else can you ask from a film, mmmh ??
Just as he seems to be at the top of his career, he fades from the public eye. It appears that he decided to take a step back from fame and moved to Italy. For several years, he lived there and continued to make films , good ones, even.
In "Blood Ties" (II Cugino Americano) he was superb as young drug lord Marc Ciuni, a role for which he received a Cable Ace Awardfor best actor. Then, the monumental epic story of "Good Morning Babylon" directed by the Taviani brothers. He was charming as well as heavily bearded in the fam-flick "High Frequency" where he fights off cabin fever by playing his drums in the snow and long distance solving of international intrigue.
After he returned to the US and moved to the west coast, he was seen on "City Of Hope" directed by John Sayles ( also director of "Baby It's You") a breathtaking, albeit depressing tale of urban decay.
He was the captain of the rugby team marooned in the Andes mountains in "Alive" a true story of survival, with Ethan Hawke, among others.
In "Afterburn" he played an ace air force pilot in love with Laura Dern, but he died way too early for our taste
He had plenty of attitude, and a fine climbing style in "the Ascent"where Rachel Ward had her eye on him.
In "The Ties That Binds" he tackled a pair of white trash psychopaths played by Darryll Hannah and Keith Carradine
In "Prophecy III" he was Zophael, a cantankerous angel on a mission.
Recently he was seen in "The Unkonwn Cyclist" as a macho police detective who must face up to his homophobic feelings.
One of his recent projects, with James Van der Beek, Ashton Kutcher and Dylan Mc Dermott is called "Texas Rangers" and is expected to come out in the first quarter of 2002.
It also came to our attention that he was in a "Fox Films" horror movie named "The Colony" though, we haven't heard of a release date , yet.
Today, Mr Spano is married (sorry, girls !!) to a Miss Gina and when he is not working on location, he shares his life between his homes in Los Angeles and Lake Arrowhead. California.
He is a confessed romantic, who loves photography and every aspect of film making, and wants one day to make his films from behind the camera. He's a sport buff, very athletic, a hockey fan (New York Rangers?) and admits to enjoying the rough and tumble parts of making films , like fight scenes (The Tie That Binds) racing horses (The Black Stallion Returns), bike riding (Unknown Cyclist) mountain climbing (The Ascent) getting nailed to a wall with a iron bar through his chest (Prophecy III) etc...
Vincent Spano is a big guy, with a truly kickass physical presence, striking, though not so much in a classical way. He always lends an intensity to his characters , as well as humor. No matter how dramatic the moment, there's always a feeling that his big sunny grin is not so far away.
We like watching him, he's got grace and grit, and deserves heaps more attention than he has received so far. We wish him the best of good luck to find solid roles in films that count.
Update : A friend inforrmed me that Vincent had been divorced, a couple of years, now Thank You Moy, hugs and kisses to ya (12/18/2002)
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Catherine H. le 11-11-2000
translation : 06-27-2001