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August 13, 2012

Leonardo Cimino, Prolific Character Actor in Film and Television

In addition to roles in numerous feature films, Cimino made several television appearances, including episodes of Naked City, The Defenders, For the People, Kojak, The Equalizer, M.A.N.T.I.S.

Julia Waldow

Leonardo Cimino, a film and TV character actor, died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease on March 3, 2012 in Woodstock, New York. He was 94.

Cimino made his Broadway debut in the ensemble of Cyrano de Bergerac in 1946. Among other shows on Broadway, Cimino appeared in a 1962 adaptation of E.M. Forster’s Passage to India and a 1985 production of Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh. He was nominated for a 1976 Drama Desk award for his work as the lead role in Arthur Miller’s play A Memory of Two Mondays.

Off Broadway, Cimino starred in the original, Orson Welles-directed 1937 play of Marc Blitzstein’s musical The Cradle Will Rock. He won an Obie for his performance in a 1958 production of The Brothers Karamazov and received praise for his portrayal of Vincent Van Gogh in Vincent (1959).

Additionally, Cimino played Egeon in The Comedy of Errors (1975) with a Public Theater company that included Ted Danson and Danny DeVito.

Cimino acted in movies including the crime drama Mad Dog Coll (1961) and the 1964 comedy The Confession, alongside Ginger Rogers and Ray Milland.

On television, Cimino played a Holocaust survivor in the 1985 miniseries V and acted in the 1987 horror comedy The Monster Squad. Other credits included episodes of Naked City, The Defenders, For the People, Kojak, The Equalizer, M.A.N.T.I.S.

He also appeared in A Time for Miracles, Hudson Hawk, The Seventh Sign and Monsignor. Additionally, he starred in Woody Allen’s Stardust Memories and Jon Favreau’s crime drama Made.

From 1981-1982, Cimino had a recurring role as Alexei Vartova on the ABC soap Ryan’s Hope. He also appeared on One Life to Live and Law & Order.

Cimino was born in Manhattan in 1917. He studied the violin at Juilliard and acting, directing and modern dance at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theater. During WWII, he fought in the Normandy invasion.

Cimino’s final role was in the film Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (2007), alongside Ethan Hawke, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Albert Finney.

Cimino is survived by his wife, Sharon Powers.

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