Giancarlo Esposito as Gustavo Fring

Giancarlo Esposito

Born on April 26, 1958, in Copenhagen, Denmark, the son of an Italian father, a stagehand and carpenter from Naples, and an American mother, who was an opera and nightclub singer from Alabama, Giancarlo Giuseppe Alessandro Esposito settled with his family in Manhattan when he was six.

He is an actor, director and producer, who plays the role of Gustavo Fring on Breaking Bad, for which he won the Best Supporting Actor in a Drama award at the 2012 Critics’ Choice Television Awards and was nominated for an Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series award at the 2012 Primetime Emmy Awards.  Initially Giancarlo Esposito was offered to play a character that was described to him as «very admirable, very polite»,  and he decided to play that character as if he had «some kind of a secret». Without knowing what that secret was, Esposito understood the potential Gus had as a growing character, therefore rejecting offers for guest appearances and insisting on becoming a series regular. In order to achieve Fring’s trademark calmness, Esposito utilized yoga classes he had been taking regardless of the series, which allowed him to convey the character by «being a good listener».

Esposito is also well known for his roles in films such as Do the Right Thing, The Usual Suspects and King of New York. He has also portrayed Sidney Glass on ABC’s Once Upon a Time and is Major Tom Neville in the NBC series Revolution. He made his Broadway debut in 1966, at age eight, playing a slave child opposite Shirley Jones in the short-lived Maggie Flynn. He has portrayed drug dealers (Fresh, Breaking Bad, King of New York), cops (The Usual Suspects, Derailed), political radicals (Bob Roberts, Do the Right Thing) and even a demonic version of the Greek God of Sleep Hypnos from another dimension (Monkeybone). He played Cassius Clay, Sr. in Ali and Nuyorican poet Miguel Piñero’s friend and collaborator Miguel Algarín in Piñero, both released in 2001.

Esposito is also known for his portrayal of FBI agent Mike Giardello on the TV crime drama Homicide: Life on the Street, during the show’s seventh and final season. That role reflected both his black and Italian heritage. Mike’s estranged father, shift lieutenant Al Giardello, is portrayed as subject to racism, something Esposito’s character practiced in School Daze. Another biracial role was Sergeant Paul Gigante in the television comedy series, Bakersfield P.D. (1993–1994). In 1997 Esposito played the role of Darryl in Trouble on the Corner and Charlie Dunt in Nothing to Lose. Other TV credits include NYPD Blue, Law & Order, The Practice, New York Undercover and Fallen Angels: Fearless.


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