Got his start in musical comedy, and still often appears as a cabaret singer performing standards, ballads and Italian folk songs.
Graduated from the prestigious Bronx High School of Science.
Last name (Chianese) is pronounced Kee-en-ay-zay.
Once sang "A Fool Such as I" at the Grand Ole Opry.
He has the distinction of being the only actor to appear in the greatest mobster movie series (as Johnny Ola in The Godfather Part II (1974)) and the greatest mobster TV series as a series regular (as Uncle Junior on The Sopranos (1999)). Richard Bright and Vittorio Duse also appeared in both the Godfather series and "The Sopranos", although they aren't regular cast members of "The Sopranos".
As of 2012, Chianese still regularly performs music in New York City area venues, one of a declining group of nationally recognizable celebrities to do so. Woody Allen is the most notable of these celebrity performers, which, until recently also included Conrad Janis and Les Paul (d.2009). Chianese's typical sets have included mostly Italian favorites, complementary to his great tenor voice, songs similar to what might have been heard on The Sopranos (1999). While The Sopranos was still in production, Dominic was able to help one of his band mates get a guest spot, as a well-wisher to an ailing Tony Soprano. For many years, Chianese's most regular performing venue was restaurant/theater The West Bank, but over the last several years he's been been caught performing at other hot spots.
Before being cast in The Godfather Part II (1974), Chianese worked for the New York State Drug Abuse Control Commission as a recreational worker in a rehabilitation center. He taught guitar to women who were serving time for drug-related crimes.
Has appeared in four movies with his friend Al Pacino: The Godfather Part II (1974), Dog Day Afternoon (1975), And Justice for All (1979) and Looking for Richard (1996).
Son of a bricklayer/mason. After graduating from high school, Dominic worked with his father on construction jobs while attending night school, ultimately graduating from Brooklyn College in 1961 with a B.A. in Speech and Theater Studies.
2010 recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor in recognition of his humanitarian efforts.
Dominic has released two CD music albums. The first, entitled "Hits," in 2000, singing American and Italian standards. The second CD, released in 2003 by AOL Music, entitled "Ungrateful Heart," features 16 classic Neapolitan songs, including the title song, Salvatore Cardillo's sentimental classic "Core 'ngrato" ("Ungrateful Heart"), which Dominic performed on the third-season finale of The Sopranos.
His son, Dominic Chianese Jr., also an actor, appeared in three installments of the final season of The Sopranos (1999), as a member of the competing Lupertazzi crime family.
As of 2016, has appeared in three films that were nominated for the Best Picture Oscar: The Godfather Part II (1974), Dog Day Afternoon (1975) and All the President's Men (1976). Of those, The Godfather Part II (1974) is a winner in the category.
A multi-talented performer--as well as being an actor, he is an accomplished singer. He released a new music CD in late 2000 on which he sings American and Italian standards.