Nick MancusoNick Mancuso, born Nicodemo Antonio Massimo Mancuso, actor, screenwriter, playwright, director (b at Mammola, Italy 29 May 1948). Nick Mancuso immigrated to Canada with his mother and sister when he was 6 years old and grew up in Toronto, where he began acting at Bloor Collegiate as a teenager. Although he attended the University of Toronto and Guelph University and received a BA in behavioural psychology in 1968, he soon found himself immersed in Toronto's burgeoning indigenous theatre.
Working across the country in the early 1970s, Mancuso performed at VANCOUVER PLAYHOUSE THEATRE, NEPTUNE THEATRE, CENTAUR THEATRE and Halifax's Pier One experimental theatre, where he was an associate artistic director for a season. In 1971 he left this position to work with Martin Kinch and playwright Michael HOLLINGSWORTH at Toronto Free Theatre, starring in plays such as Michael ONDAATJE's The Collected Works of Billy the Kid, Carol BOLT's Red Emma and Des McAnuff's Underground. He was part of a group of young actors, writers and directors - among them Saul RUBINEK, Kate NELLIGAN, R.H. THOMPSON and Maury CHAYKIN - who established their own theatres such as THEATRE PASSE MURAILLE, FACTORY THEATRE and the Toronto Free Theatre (now CANADIAN STAGE).
With his intensity and brooding good looks Mancuso gained a reputation for playing powerful, provocative parts. In television he had a role in Red Emma (1974), directed by Martin Kinch and Allan KING, and appeared with Quebec actress Carole LAURE in Gilles CARLE's Thousand Moons (1976), made for the CBC series For the Record. In 1976, director George Bloomfield cast him in the CBC-TV production of Clifford Odets' Paradise Lost, a performance that was hailed by critics. That year he joined the STRATFORD FESTIVAL and under the artistic direction of Robin PHILLIPS he appeared in A Midsummer Night's Dream with Jessica TANDY and in Anthony and Cleopatra opposite Maggie Smith. Under the direction of Bill GLASSCO he starred as Bassanio in The Merchant of Venice with Hume CRONYN and Jackie BURROUGHS.
A year later Mancuso was working in American playwright Tennessee Williams' play Tiger Tail in Atlanta, Georgia, when Columbia Pictures offered him a starring role in the thriller Nightwing, directed by fellow Canadian Arthur HILLER. Though not a box office success, it established Mancuso in Hollywood and since then his career has spanned television, film and stage in more than a dozen countries.
He won a GENIE Award for best actor for his performance as a victim of cult brainwashing in Ticket to Heaven (1981), following this film with the Quebec epic Maria Chapdelaine (1983), for which he received a second Genie nomination. He played a Lothario in Heartbreakers (1984), and after Night Magic (1985), a film based on a story by Leonard COHEN, he had the lead roles in the series Stingray (1986-87) and Matrix (1992-93). He also had supporting roles in Steven Seagal's action films Under Siege (1992) and Under Siege 2: Dark Territory (1995). Nick Mancuso has appeared in more than 120 movies, in television series such as Call of the Wild and in miniseries including Wild Palms (1993) and the Canadian production of Lives of the Saints (2004), starring Sophia Loren. He remains active onscreen, seen in numerous films and episodes of series such as G-Spot (2005) and ZOS: Zone of Separation (2009).
He maintains his love of theatre with self-penned plays and one-man shows including Hotel Praha, staged at Theatre Passe Muraille, The Death of Socrates, broadcast across the country on CBC Radio, and Moscow Dog. He co-wrote and directed Duse, a play about the famous Italian actress Eleonora Duse, in a production at the TARRAGON THEATRE starring Jennifer DALE.
He is one of the organizers of the Pirandello Theatre Society and the Toronto Italian Film Festival, winning the latter's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005. He was also involved in the creation of the Italian Walk of Fame in Toronto, the Italo-Canadian Heritage Foundation, and the Working Actors Group (W.A.G.), which addresses health and safety issues and residual rights for Canadian actors. A painter and poet, he has published the books Mediterranean Men, Oracle and A Gathering of Shades and his paintings have been exhibited in Los Angeles and New York.