May 31, 1908, Kenosha, Wisconsin, USA - December 6, 1993, Scottsdale, Arizona, USA.
Like many other brilliant actors, Don Amici was long underappreciated. He performed in vaudeville for the singer and actress Texas Guinan, until she kicked him out of the troupe, calling him "too clumsy."
Having played two sons at once in Sins of Man (1936), Amici then starred in Romulus (1936) at Twentieth Century Fox. An actor in musicals like Alexander Ragtime Band (1938), he also shone in musical biographical films, as Stephen Foster in Swaney's River (1939). After appearing on the big screen as an inventor in "The Story of Alexander Graham Bell" (1939), the word "Amici" began to mean on the slang for the day appointed to call. The actor's trademark was his thin mustache and radiant smile.
The star work of Amici was the role of Henry von Cleave, a nice, but melancholic scoundrel, walking on the road to hell, in the film Ernst Lubitsch "Heaven Will Wait" (1943). The actor also demonstrated his multi-faceted talent, playing a villain in the film "Sleep, My Love" (1948) Douglas Sirk.
Having made a successful radio appearance with Francis Langford in The Bickersons, the actor moved to television in the 1950s and then returned to the movies, starring in the sophomore feature The Painted Mummy is Dead (1966) and the more successful The Bootnicks (1970). With his small role as an old millionaire in Trading Places (1983), Amici again reminded Hollywood of himself.
He spent the last decade starring in such hits as Cocoon (1985), followed by David Mamet's striking film, All Things Change (1988), whose plot is built entirely around Amici's character.
PRIZES AND AWARDS
Academy Award (1985):
Best Supporting Actor ("Cocoon")
The Venice Film Festival (1988):
Volpi Cup for Best Actor ("Everything Changes")