Tony Danza (born Antonio Salvatore Iadanza, April 21, 1951) is an American actor best known for starring on the TV series Taxi and Who's the Boss?, for which he was nominated for an Emmy Award and four Golden Globe Awards. In 1998, Danza won the People's Choice Award for Favorite Male Performer in a New Television Series for his work on the 1997 sitcom The Tony Danza Show.
Danza was born in Brooklyn, New York, to parents Anne Cammisa Iadanza (1925–1993) and Matty Iadanza (1920–1983), both of whom died from cancer. Matty Iadanza worked as a garbage man in Brooklyn. Danza's family was of Italian ancestry. He has a younger brother, Matty Jr. (born 1954), a Los Angeles restaurant owner. When Danza was 14, he and his family relocated to Malverne, New York on Long Island. Danza attended Malverne High School, graduating in 1968. In the first episode of his show "Teach: Tony Danza", Danza describes himself as a "bad student" in high school. Danza earned a bachelor's degree in history in 1972 from the University of Dubuque, which he attended on a wrestling scholarship. It was during his first year of college that he got the Robert Crumb Keep on Truckin' tattoo on his upper right arm. In a 1985 interview in Us Weekly magazine, Danza remarked, "I was playing pool with a guy who had all these tattoos, and I wanted to be friends." Danza sports a "Keep Punching" boxing gloves tattoo on his right shoulder. In college, Danza met and married his first wife. Danza was a professional boxer with a 9-3 record, with all of his fights, wins and losses, ending by knockout.
Shortly after his college graduation, Danza was discovered by a producer at a boxing gymnasium in New York. He then earned a spot on the television show Taxi. In 1986, Danza married for the second time, to Tracy Robinson. The couple separated in 2006 and filed for divorce on March 10, 2011. They have two daughters, Katherine (born 1987) and Emily (born 1993). In 2005, Tony Danza became a grandfather when his son Marc and his son's wife, Julie, had a son, Nicholas. In 2008, Danza and his son Marc published a cookbook, Don't Fill Up on the Antipasto: Tony Danza's Father-Son Cookbook.
Acting, show business, and teaching
Danza is better known for his characters named 'Tony' in Taxi (1978–1983), in which he played cab driver and part-time boxer, "Tony Banta". On Who's the Boss? (1984–1992), Danza portrayed a retired baseball player working as a housekeeper and single father, "Tony Micelli."
Danza also starred in the short-lived sitcoms Hudson Street (1995) and The Tony Danza Show (1997), not to be confused with his talk show of the same name. He had a role in the TV drama Family Law from 2000 until 2002. He took his first role, a nonspeaking part as a poker player in National Lampoon's Animal House.
He was nominated for an Emmy Award for a guest-starring 1998 role in the TV series The Practice. His movie debut was in the comedy The Hollywood Knights (1980), which was followed by Going Ape! (1981). He received critical acclaim for his performance in the 1999 Broadway revival of the Eugene O'Neill play The Iceman Cometh. In 2002, Danza released his debut album The House I Live In as a 1950s-style crooner.
Danza hosted his own TV talk show, The Tony Danza Show, that was produced each weekday morning in his hometown of New York and was syndicated across the US. On May 9, 2005, during a go-kart race with NASCAR star Rusty Wallace, who was a guest on the show, Danza's kart flipped after Wallace accidentally bumped him. Neither he nor Wallace was wearing a helmet at the time. Danza returned to go-kart racing on October 20, 2005, to challenge IndyCar driver Danica Patrick, but his brakes malfunctioned and he skidded into a wall, unharmed. His daytime talk show ended in May 2006; the last live episode aired on May 26, 2006.
He starred on Broadway as "Max Bialystock" in The Producers, from December 19, 2006, to March 11, 2007 and reprised his role at the Paris Las Vegas from August 13, 2007, to February 9, 2008.
In September 2008, it was reported that Danza would host the 4th season of The Contender, which was filmed in Singapore and began airing in December 2008 on the Versus TV sports channel. In August 2009, it was reported that Danza would appear in a new A&E reality show Teach: Tony Danza, in which he would co-instruct a 10th Grade English class at Northeast High School in Philadelphia. The series was filmed during the 2009-2010 school year and premiered on October 1, 2010.