The one and only Joe Pantoliano has just turned 70 years old. In honor of the veteran actor’s birthday, Pantoliano is getting a lot of well wishes online along with praise from fans for some of his many, many performances over the years. There’s never really a bad day to enjoy a movie with Pantoliano as a part of the cast, but in honor of his 70th birthday, it also seems to be a great time to revisit one or more of those classics.
Naming some favorite roles, one fan tweeted, “Happy 70th Birthday to American actor JOE PANTOLIANO! Roles include Cypher in The Matrix, Teddy in Memento, Captain Conrad Howard in the Bad Boys franchise, and Ralph Cifaretto during seasons 3-4 of The Sopranos. He also starred in two episodes of Tales from the Crypt.”
The Sopranos Club on Twitter said, “Happy 70th Birthday to Ralph actor, Joe Pantoliano Veteran big screen actor Joe has appeared in movies such as Memento & The Matrix. However, to me, he will always be the sick, twisted, weird sex loving, Ralph Cifaretto from The Sopranos.”
A fan account for The Goonies on Instagram adds: “HAPPY 70th BIRTHDAY TO JOE PANTOLIANO!! Joey Pants is the man! Of course we all know him as Francis Fratelli, but he has appeared and starred in numerous films over the years from Risky Business, Eddie and the Cruisers, La Bamba, Empire of the Sun, The Fugitive, U.S. Marshalls, Congo, The Matrix, Memento, Daredevil, Racing Stripes, Percy Jackson, and of course all 3 Bad Boys films, just to name a few. A very Happy 70th Birthday.”
Given how many memorable roles Pantoliano has had over the years, there’s any number of places fans might recognize him from best. He won an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor for his role as Ralph Cifaretto on The Sopranos, and that stands tall as one of his most acclaimed roles. Just last year, he reprised his role as Captain Howard in the sequel Bad Boys for Life, another fan favorite character of his. He can next be seen in Joel David Moore’s upcoming thriller Hide and Seek.
One of Pantoliano’s most famous roles is that of Cypher in The Matrix, a character revealed to be an antagonist in the first movie, though Pantoliano says he made the right decision. Last year, when it was known that The Matrix Resurrections was in development, Pantoliano was hoping to reprise the role for the upcoming sequel. Even if the first two sequels seem to be no longer considered canon, at least as far as The Matrix 4 is concerned, bringing back Cypher might be difficult considering the character’s death. That didn’t stop Pantoliano from trying to make it happen.
“Yeah I’d be interested [in reprising the role of Cypher],” the actor told CinemaBlend. “I doubt they’re going to be bringing me back. I’ve lobbied for it, believe me. I’ve sent little notes to Lana [Wachowski] and asked her, to no response.”
After previously appearing in The Fugitive and U.S. Marhsals, Pantoliano also said he wants to reprise his role in a sequel. Hey, listen, if any role came up, I’d like to get back into it. I’m looking down the barrel of 70 years old and I just celebrated 50 years in show business. So any time that anybody’s able to get me off the couch and in front of the camera, I’m all for it…tell [Marvel Studios producer] Louis D’Esposito. He runs the show and we worked together when he was the second AD on Eddie and the Cruisers. Tell Louis I’m waiting for the phone to ring.”
In any case, it’s a good day to watch The Matrix or any other Pantoliano movie. However Pantoliano is celebrating the day, let’s hope it’s a special one for the accomplished actor. Happy 70th birthday to Joe Pantoliano! You can see some more of the tribute posts for him from Twitter and Instagram below.