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With a career that spans over 30 years, and a resume that reads like a book, chances are you have grown up with Ray Iannicelli in your household, and not even known it. His versatility in film, television, and on stage have left audiences alike captivated, but also wondering where else do I recognize him from?
He is best known for his memorable roles in such films as the cult classic Rounders, The Marconi Bros, Robots and Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. His television credits include a six season run as Officer Roger Brese on the critically acclaimed HBO series “Oz;” and a recurring role as Jennifer Esposito’s Mafia Don Father, Papa Fattore, on the NBC medical drama “Mercy.” He has also had roles on “The Good Wife,” “Law & Order: CRIMINAL INTENT,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “Person of Interest,” and “Royal Pains.”
Ray’s diverse life is perhaps one of the qualities that has lent to his career’s longevity. Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Ray’s introduction to the arts didn’t come until later in life.
Growing up, his interests revolved around his Catholic upbringing, where he played baseball for two local churches, St Bernadette’s and St Patrick’s, while attending St. Francis Preparatory School. He went on to further his Catholic education by attending Fordham University. In his early 20’s, Ray served his country twice in the Army, as a Fuel & Electrical Systems Repairman on tank diesel engines. He achieved the rank of Private First Class and upon completion of his duties abroad, he returned to New York, and worked as a piano salesman. Ray’s dynamic personality struck a chord with many, including one of his English Professors from college who suggested he try acting. She introduced Ray to acting coach Julie Bovasso, and the rest was history. Ray quickly fell in love with theatre, (his first play was The Rat Patrol at La Mama Theatre), and then transitioned over to film and television. His big break came when he was cast alongside Jack Nicholson and Kathleen Turner in the John Huston directed film Prizzi’s Honor. He has since gone on to have over 100 film, television, and theatre credits under his belt.
2014 will be a busy year for this chameleon. First up, Ray can be seen showing off his comedic chops in St. Vincent de Van Nuys, as Roger, St. Vincent’s (Bill Murray) confidant and confessor. The comedy, which hits theaters April 11th, is about a young boy who finds an unlikely friend and mentor in the misanthropic, bawdy, hedonistic, war veteran who lives next door. The film also stars Melissa McCarthy & Naomi Watts. He will also share the big screen with Quvenzhané Wallis, Cameron Diaz and Jamie Foxx in the highly anticipated remake of the classic, ANNIE coming to theatres December 19th. On the dramatic side, Ray will star alongside the late Michael Clark Duncan and S. Epatha Merkerson in The Challenger, which is about a Bronx boxer who fights his way to a better life.
When this screen veteran isn’t in front of the camera, he devotes a great deal of time behind the scenes, teaching actor’s technique at the New York Conservatory for the Dramatic Arts, as well as at his company, Professional Actors Training and Helping. In addition, he is working on his own projects including a short he produced and directed called “Somebody’s Gotta do it.” Ray is also a big supporter of his alma mater St. Francis Prep, Doctors Without Borders, and enjoys cooking, fishing, drinking wine, traveling, watching movies, and going to the Theatre in his leisure time.