Every episode of Criminal Minds leaves us wanting more. Each character brings something extraordinary to the table, especially David Rossi. Rossi, played by Joe Mantegna, has seen a lot in his time with the FBI, but he's not about to slow down any time soon.
We know a lot about Rossi, but how much do you know about the man behind the character?
1. Home, Sweet Home
Mantegna was born and raised in Chicago to Italian parents. He still loves the city, and even had a street named after him! Joe Mantegna Boulevard is located right near his old high school.
2. All About That Bass
When he was still living in Chicago, Mantegna was in a band called "The Apocryphals." He played the bass, and eventually his group teamed up with another group called "The Missing Links" to form the band Chicago. Mantegna is still close friends with all the members of the band, who even opened for Neil Diamond!
3. Joey and the Jets
Mantegna had never really thought about acting as a future. Then in high school, he signed up to audition for the musical West Side Story.
“I knew nothing about theater. On a dare, me and this other guy went in to the auditions. […] So I was young and had this high tenor voice. And I sang the song and, out of the blackness of the empty auditorium, there came this applause. Maybe nobody had ever applauded for me before, but this thing just washed over me. It was like a lightening bolt hit me in the chest. At that moment, I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life,” he said.
4. Broadway, Baby!
Though many people will know Mantegna for his film and television work, the actor began his career on stage. In 1969, he appeared in the musical Hair, and later earned a Tony Award for his role in Glengarry Glen Ross on Broadway.
5. Fat Tony
Here's something you probably don't know: Mantegna has been a recurring character on The Simpsons for 25 years. He's voiced the character of Fat Tony since the 1991 episode, "Bart The Murderer."
“He’s my longest-running character! I’ve never done anything else for 20 years. When I was asked to do that role, I thought it was a one-shot deal. It seemed to resonate with the producers, and I was asked to come back — and then again. It got to the point where they felt that he was an important character for the series. I take that very seriously,” Mantegna said.
6. Family Man
On-screen he may be a perpetual bachelor, but off-screen Mantegna is all about his family. He's been married to his wife, Arlene Vrhel, for 42 years and together they have two daughters. His youngest daughter, Gia , is also an actress and even appeared on a episode of Criminal Minds. His oldest daughter, Mia, was diagnosed with autism when she was only 3 years old.
7. 3 Days Younger
Not many people can say they don't know their birthday, but until he was 16, Mantegna was one of them! He was always under the impression that his birthday was November 10th, but when he needed his birth certificate to get his driver's license, Mantegna found out he was actually born on November 13th. It turns out, the cut-off for school registration was November 10th and the actor's mom wanted to get back to work as soon as possible, so she lied to the school and her son.
8. Gun Lover
Mantegna has been extremely open about his support for the second amendment, despite a lot of backlash from his peers in Hollywood.
“If America is going to stay America, the First Amendment — freedom of speech — has to be supported, but so does the Second Amendment. There is a reason the Founding Fathers put it way up there at the top,” said Mantegna.
Other than acting, Mantegna has another love: food. He and his wife opened a restaurant in Burbank, California, called Taste Chicago. He wanted to bring a slice of his hometown to his new town.
“It was an idea my wife had over 10 years ago so what we tried to do was duplicate the kind of restaurants and the hangouts that we would go to when we were teenagers…At any given time you’ll catch me in there, hanging out when I have the time,” he said.
What is your favorite episode of Criminal Minds?