Mr. Cortese, a Jersey boy, received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theater/ Communications from Midwestern College in Denison, Iowa, where he studied theatre, under the guidance of his acting teacher Alfred Rusico. While attending school on a drama scholarship, Joe did lead roles in many plays, many with seasoned New York and Hollywood actors. Some of his theatre credits include Lenny in “Of Mice and Men”, Pozzo in “Waiting for Godot”, and Patsy in “Three Men on a Horse”, to mention a few. After graduation he headed to New York and at 22 years of age he started his career in Journalism on Madison Ave. where he became the associate fashion editor for Gentlemen’s Quarterly at Esquire. After a very creative working relationship with Esquire, he left in pursuit of a career in acting and writing. This pursuit eventually led him to the New York Theatre. Some of his New York and regional credits include “Waiting for Lefty” and “Momma’s little Angels” both at ETC. Mr. Cortese spent two summers at The Eugene O’Neil playwright’s foundation in Waterford Connecticut. Joe also starred in the original play “Golden Girl” portraying Clifford Odets, at Theatre for New City. His early stage work eventually led to his first leading film role in the highly acclaimed cult classic, “The Death Collector” with Joe Pesci which eventually lead him to Hollywood where over the last 30 years he has established himself as an actor/writer. Some of his Screenplays include, “Charlie Lucky”, “The Bridge”, “The Bible Teacher,” “Genghis Khan: Lord of the Kings” and High Caliber. In Television he has recently created Escort Inc. a 1 hour television pilot. He is currently in development on San Pedro Waterfront.. . As an actor Joe Cortese has achieved success in film, television and theatre. He just finished starring in the Independent film, “Doobious Sources” as Magnus Martindale, for writer/director Clif Lord. He also recently shot, “The Bronx Bull”, with William Forsythe portraying the legendary fighter Jake LaMotta for director Martin Guigui, as Vito Latzzio, a character described as the Italian Johnny Carson. Some other film credits are: Abel Ferrara’s “Go Go Tales” with Willem De Foe and Bob Hoskins, which had its World Premiere at The Cannes Film Festival’ and later that year it had its American Premiere at the New York Film Festival at Lincoln Center. Joe won the Best Actor award for 2006 at The New York Hip Hop film festival for his starring role in the comedy, “Shut Up and Shoot”. In 2005 Joe starred in Paramount’s “Against the Ropes” with Meg Ryan, Tony Shalhoub and Charles Dutton, as well as the independent festival film “You Got Nothin'”, for director Phillip Angelotti. Some of his films include starring roles in “Windows” with Talia Shire for UA, “Monsignor” which he starred in with Christopher Reeve for director Frank Perry and 20TH Century Fox, and “American History X” with Edward Norton for Warner Bros. Joe has received major accolades for his numerous top rated television projects including “The C.A.T. Squad”, a trilogy of two-hour movies for NBC and producer/director William Friedkin. The highly rated mini-series “Something’s Out There” for NBC, “Exclusive” with Suzanne Somers (ABC), “Assault and Matrimony” (NBC), “Just Life” (ABC), “Letting’ GO” (ABC), “Born to Run” (FOX), Sidney Sheldon’s mini-series “If Tomorrow Comes” (CBS) and Jackie Collins’ “Lady Boss” (NBC). Cortese also starred in the PBS special “He Wants Her Back”, written and directed by Stanton Kaye. His other recent T.V appearances were with Danny Devito in “Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia”. Joe Cortese has also been honored by his Television peers and fans by receiving the1989 Saturn Award for best actor in a miniseries for “Something’s Out There”. Other outstanding performances include starring roles in “Lucky Town” with James Caan and Kirsten Dunst, “The Shipment” with Matthew Modine and Elizabeth Berkley, and” Ruby” with Danny Aiello. Joe received rave reviews in Paramount’s “Malevolence” where he played “Billy Bob Jones”: a character loosely based on James Earl Ray. He also received kudos for his role as Johnny Roselli in HBO’s critically acclaimed movie, “The Rat Pack”. Mr. Cortese never strayed far from the theatre once he moved to Los Angeles. He was one of the founding members of the MET Theatre in Los Angeles, where he produced the original play “Cody Angelino Is Coming”, which he also starred in. Some of his other L.A. theatre credits include “True West” at the Zephyr theatre, and “Waking Jimmy Rizzo” at the White Fire theatre. He is also a lifetime member of The Actors Studio where he continues his support of actors and the craft of acting. Mr. Cortese is a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.
Biography, Comedy, Drama