Chicago native Joe Mantegna has a strong background in both theater and film. After making his Broadway debut in Stephen Schwartz's musical of Studs Terkel's Working, Joe was awarded the Tony and Joseph Jefferson Award for his acclaimed performance as cynical real-estate agent Richard Roma in David Mamet's Pulitzer Prize-winning play Glengarry Glen Ross.
Closely associated with Mamet’s work, Joe starred in the theatrical premiere of A Life in the Theater, The Disappearance of the Jews at the Goodman Theater, and in the Broadway production of Speed the Plow with Ron Silver and Madonna. In addition, Joe directed a critically acclaimed stage production of Mamet's Lakeboat, starring Ed O’Neil and George Wendt, in a successful Los Angeles theatrical run.
Always the baseball fan, Joe conceived and co-wrote the Off-Broadway play Bleacher Bums, inspired by countless afternoons watching the Chicago Cubs play in Wrigley Field. Once the Chicago PBS affiliate picked it up for production, the play both earned Joe an Emmy Award and gave him the opportunity to direct an updated version in a successful run at Chicago's Organic Theater. Joe also appeared in The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit and Cops, along with taking two European tours with the Organic Theater Company. SHOWTIME has produced yet another version of Bleacher Bums that premiered in 2002.
Joe made his feature film debut in 1985 as the womanizing dentist in Frank Perry's Compromising Positions, based on Susan Isaacs’ best-seller. His early films include co-starring roles in The Money Pit, Weeds and Suspect. He also starred in the critically acclaimed David Mamet films House of Games (now a cult classic) and Things Change, for which he and co-star Don Ameche both received the coveted Best Actor Award at the Venice Film Festival. In 1991, Joe starred in the highly praised police thriller, Homicide.
Joe has also starred in Woody Allen's Alice and Celebrity, Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather III, Barry Levinson's Liberty Heights and Bugsy, Steven Zaillian's Searching for Bobby Fischer and Billy Crystal's Forget Paris.
Other stand-out roles include Up Close and Personal, Baby's Day Out, Airheads, Queens Logic, Wait Until Spring Bandini, Eye for an Eye, The Runner, and Stephen King's Thinner. In addition to being the featured reader for numerous books-on-tape, Joe has narrated the Oscar-nominated documentary films Crack U.S.A.: Country Under Siege and Death on the Job.
Joe had a starring role in the CBS miniseries of Mario Puzo's best-selling novel The Last Don, which garnered him an Emmy Award nomination. He also enjoys appearing regularly as the voice of Fat Tony on The Simpsons. As rich and varied as Joe’s career is, “Nothing,” says he, “interferes with my doing The Simpsons!” Joe's original feature films for cable include starring roles in State of Emergency, A Call to Remember, My Little Assassin, The Water Engine, The Comrades of Summer, Persons Unknown, Boy Meets Girl, and The Rat Pack, for which he was nominated for both another Emmy and a Golden Globe Award. In later films like Hoods and Jerry and Tom, Joe both starred and served as Executive Producer.
During his career Joe has portrayed several real people, such as George Raft in Bugsy, Fidel Castro in My Little Assassin, and most notably, as Dean Martin in The Rat Pack. His role as Josh Waitzkin’s father in Searching for Bobby Fischer was based on Fred Waitzkin, who wrote the book upon which the film was based. Joe’s TV-movie debut was as Joe Esposito, Elvis’ road manager and close friend in the 1979 miniseries Elvis starring Kurt Russell.
In 2000, Joe completed production on his feature film directorial debut, Lakeboat, written for the screen by David Mamet from his original play. Starring Charles Durning, Peter Falk, Robert Forster, Andy Garcia, Denis Leary and George Wendt. The film opened the L.A. Film Festival to critical acclaim last fall and made its theatrical release in June 2001.
Joe spent the summer of 2000 in Spain and France filming the feature Off Key with Danny Aiello and George Hamilton. The comedy is about a trio of famed opera singers who unwittingly find themselves reunited at a wedding ten years after their tempestuous breakup. Joe headlined a series of original films for the A&E Network, based on Robert Parker's popular Spenser detective novels. The first, Small Vices, premiered in summer of 1999 with the second, Thin Air, following in fall 2000. His last entry to the Spenser series, Walking Shadow, continues to play on A&E. Due to budget cuts A&E has no future plans for more in this series.
Spring of 2001 found Joe in Venice, Italy for several weeks filming the feature, LAGOON. 2001 was a busy year for Joe. He finished production on the SHOWTIME film, Men Vs. Women! that co-starred Paul Reiser, Christine Lahti and Glenn Headly, directed by Chazz Palmenteri.
He also starred as Justice Joseph Novelli in the CBS series First Monday.The series co-starred James Garner and Charles Durning.
Summer 2002 found Joe and his daughter Gia in his home town of Chicago, filming the wonderful slice of life film, Uncle Nino with Anne Archer. Released in 2003, this gem played at selected theaters, including a record breaking run of 43 weeks in Grand Rapids Michigan.
In 2002, Joe starred in the Italian film Pontormo, playing the role of Jacopo Pontormo, an Italian Renaissance painter (b. 1494, d. 1557, Firenze). Joe also co-starred in Stateside, a drama based on a true story starring Johnathan Tucker and co-starring Val Kilmer, Carrie Fisher, Penny Marshall and Diane Venora.
Joe starred as police chief Will Girardi in the popular and critically acclaimed CBS series, Joan of Arcadia. Joan received several Emmy and Golden Globe nominations during its two season run from 2003-2005.
In 2005 Joe co-starred in Nine Lives, a film by Rodrigo Garcia that made both Ebert’s and Roeper’s Top 10 List for that year. Captives of the very relationships that define and sustain them, nine women resiliently meet the travails and disappointments of life. Accepted at Sundance, the film also stars Glenn Close, Amy Brenneman, Holly Hunter, Dakota Fanning, Sissy Spacek and Kathy Baker.
In 2006 Joe was involved in several independent film projects including Elvis and Annabelle, West of Brooklyn and Lonely Street. He also costarred with Debora Messing in The Starter Wife by Gigi Levangie Grazer for the USA network. For this, Joe was nominated for an Emmy in the category of Best Supporting Actor. Since 2007 Joe has been back on CBS as the star of Criminal Minds. On April the 29th 2011 Joe received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, next to his boyhood hero Errol Flynn. Also in 2011 Joe lent his voice to the character of GREM in DisneyPixar's CARS2. Joe is also a part of the cast of Kill Me Deadly, a spoof on film noir produced by his cast-mate from Criminal Minds Kirsten Vangsness.
He currently stars as David Rossi in the 12th season of Criminal Minds as well as hosting and producing duties on 7the season of “Gun Stories” for the Outdoor Channel.