"Bobby" Cannavale was born on May 3, 1970 (year unconfirmed) in Union City,
New Jersey to a Cuban mother and an Italian father. When
Bobby was growing up, his mother made sure that he wasn't going to get
into trouble in the streets so she enrolled him into Catholic school, where
he started performing in the church theater company. When he was eight,
he was the lisping kid in "The Music Man".
lived in New Jersey
until he was thirteen. After his parents divorced,
Bobby and his mother moved for two years to Puerto Rico. Later
on he moved to Coconut Creek, Florida,
where he graduated from high school before returning to New Jersey to live
with his grandmother.
Bobby admits, he always knew he wanted to be an actor and in his early
twenties he became part of Circle Repertory in Manhattan, a now defunct
prestigious off-off-Broadway company. He never formally studied acting
-- he acts on instinct.
began his acting career on stage, his numerous credits include Paul Rudnick's
"The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told"; Lanford Wilson’s "Virgil Is
Still the Frog Boy", "Noel Coward's In Two Keys", "The Young Man and the
World" and his favorite Georges Feydeau’s farce "A Flea in Her Ear". He
is a member of the Circle Repertory Theatre and the Lab Theatre Company,
both based in New York City.
big-screen break came when he starred in two Sidney Lumet's features: "Gloria"
with Sharon Stone and "Night Falls On the Manhattan" with Andy Garcia.It
was the role of the paramedic Bobby Caffey on the NBC's drama "Third Watch",
however, that made him a true celebrity.
is married to writer and former actress Jenny Lumet, daughter of Sidney
Lumet and granddaughter of Lena Horne. He met Jenny when he was acting
on stage: "I was doing a theater show and
when I bowed for the curtain call, I spotted [her] in the audience. I was
playing a character who had AIDS, and when the play was over, I ran out
to find her but I forgot to take the lesions off my face,"
he remembers. He introduced himself to her and recommended that she "stick
around. There's a party afterwards and ... I want to talk to you.' We got
married six months later."
Jenny and their six-year-old son, Jacob, live in New York City.
is part of Bobby's life, now more than ever, since his wife is half-Jewish,
half-Black, and doesn't speak Spanish. Bobby has to make a conscious effort
to teach his son the language he had grown up with, as well as aspects
of his Cuban background he is so proud of.
is proud of being Latino, but when he chooses a part, ethnicity
as the only criteria just isn't enough for him. He simply looks for the
best parts and sees how he can infuse them with integrity as he does with
Bobby Caffey on "Third Watch." His job is to work and his Latino pride
comes through. He
simply tries to add color to his character by including his Latino culture."There
was this one scene where my co-star said she was going to a concert with
her ex-husband. I had to say something like, 'I like Cassandra Wilson but
I wouldn't go [to a concert] with a complete asshole.' I just changed Cassandra
Wilson to Ibrahim Ferrer. Simple stuff, but that does so much."
Latino, what Bobby was taught by his mother and grandmother, affects his
actions and reactions to life's adversities. As a Latino actor, he sees
his work as an extension of who he is and not his culture. The Latino community
is very proud of Bobby -- twice so far he co-hosted the Annual Hispanic
I grew up in Union City, NJ, there weren't many role models around,"
Bobby said. "I guess the biggest influences
in my life were my parents who kept me off the streets and out of trouble.
Now, we're celebrating Latin role models on national television."