Tony Danza turns 70 – Taxi star's life and career in pictures
Tony Danza — who was born Anthony Salvatore Iadanza — turns 70 on April 21, 2021. To mark the occasion, Wonderwall.com is taking a look back at the iconic actor’s biggest moments captured on camera. Keep reading to relive the highlights from his career of more than four decades…
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Tony Danza made his acting debut on “Taxi,” which premiere on ABC in 1978 and ran for five seasons until 1983.
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During the late ’70s, Tony Danza had great success as a professional boxer with an impressive record of 9–3 (seven of his nine knockouts went down in the first round) between 1976 and 1979. His acting career only took off after he was discovered by a producer in a New York City boxing gym. No surprise his very first acting role — Tony Banta on “Taxi” — was also a boxer.
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Tony Danza’s parents, Matty and Ann, beamed following his victory in his final match as a professional boxer on April 27, 1979.
Tony Danza is also super-close with his brother, Matty Jr. The two posed together in an undated photo from early in Tony’s career.
Tony Danza’s son, Marc, appeared on two episodes of “Taxi” in 1979 and 1980. On the first episode, Tony’s on-screen alter ego has second thoughts about a big boxing match when he learns his opponent is dedicating the fight to a wheelchair-bound kid played by Marc. On the second episode, Tony’s character attempts to adopt the boy, who decides he’d rather live with a wealthy couple. (Marc’s mother is Tony’s first wife, Rhonda Yeoman. They met while he was studying at the University of Dubuque in Iowa, married in 1970, welcomed Marc in 1971 and divorced in 1974. The duo reportedly reconciled, remarried and welcomed daughter Gina in 1983, but it wasn’t meant to be: They called it quits again in 1985.)
Tony Danza made his feature film debut in 1980’s “The Hollywood Knights.” The teen comedy also marked Michelle Pfeiffer’s movie debut. He starred as a mechanic in a Beverly Hills-based car club while she played his girlfriend — a waitress and aspiring actress.
“Taxi” was a huge hit with critics and audiences alike. The sitcom racked up countless Golden Globes and Emmys over the years. In 1981 — the third consecutive year “Taxi” won the Emmy for best comedy series — Tony Danza attended the award show with two of his co-stars: Danny DeVito and Marilu Henner, whom he dated during his time on the show. The previous year, Tony scored his first Golden Globe nomination for his work on the series.
Tony Danza and Danny DeVito were clearly a match made in heaven. Amid their time on “Taxi,” the duo teamed up for another project: the 1981 comedy “Going Ape!” — which also starred three orangutans.
In 1984 — a year after “Taxi” came to an end — Tony Danza made his debut on “Who’s the Boss?” For eight seasons until 1992, he starred as former MLB player Tony Micelli, who moves with his daughter — Alyssa Milano’s Samantha Micelli — to work as a live-in housekeeper for a divorced advertising exec (Judith Light) in Connecticut. In August 2020, Tony and Alyssa announced that they’re working on a sequel centered around their on-screen alter egos.
Tony Danza brought Tracy Robinson as his date to the Los Angeles premiere of “The Color of Money” on Oct. 14, 1986. He and the beautiful blonde tied the knot earlier that year.
Tony Danza and his second wife, Tracy Robinson, introduced their first daughter, Katherine, in a photo from May 22, 1987. Their second daughter, Emily, reportedly arrived in 1993.
In 1988, Tony Danza received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame recognizing his contributions to television.
Tony Danza starred alongside Danny Glover in 1994’s “Angels in the Outfield,” which performed well at the box office in spite of mostly negative reviews. The baseball dramedy, which was a huge hit with ’90s kids, has earned cult status over the years.
It was a family affair for Tony Danza during the 1995 Hollywood Stars Night at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. The actor was joined by wife Tracy Robinson and their two daughters, Emily and Katie, as well as his older son from his first marriage, Marc, and Marc’s wife.
In 1998, Tony Danza won the People’s Choice Award for favorite male performer in a new television series for his work on “The Tony Danza Show.” He starred as a sportswriter and single father of two daughters on the incredibly short-lived sitcom, which debuted in 1997 and aired just five episodes before NBC kicked it to the curb. The following year, Tony scored his first Emmy nomination — outstanding guest actor in a drama series — for his work on “The Practice.”
In 2000, Tony Danza joined “Family Law” in its second season as attorney Joe Celano. The CBS legal drama came to an end after three seasons in 2002.
In 2004, Tony Danza launched an eponymous talk show, “The Tony Danza Show,” which lasted just two seasons until 2006. In 2005, the actor scored his second People’s Choice Award nomination — favorite daytime talk show host — for his work on the program.
Tony Danza had a small but memorable role as a racist TV exec — he insults Terrence Howard’s character, a television director, by asking if a young Black actor has “been talking a lot less ‘Black’ lately” — in the 2005 drama “Crash,” which won Oscars for best picture, best original screenplay and best film editing during the 2006 Academy Awards.
Tony Danza and second wife Tracy Robinson made their final public appearance as a couple at the opening night of “Wicked” in Los Angeles on June 22, 2005. (They were joined by their older daughter, Katherine.) The couple separated the following year, though the actor didn’t officially file to legally end their marriage until 2011. They finalized their divorce in 2013.
In late 2006 — nearly a decade after he made his Broadway debut in the 1997 revival of “A View From the Bridge” — Tony Danza took over the role of Max Bialystock in the Broadway production of “The Producers.” The following year, he headlined a production of the hit musical in Las Vegas.
Tony Danza reunited with his “Taxi” family when the show was honored with the Medallion Award during the 2007 TV Land Awards. He shared a group hug with co-stars Judd Hirsch, Jeff Conaway, Danny DeVito, Carol Kane and Randall Carver (who only starred on the first season), along with series creator James L. Brooks.
In 2010, Tony Danza starred on the A&E docuseries “Teach: Tony Danza.” The reality series centered around the actor — who earned a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Dubuque in Iowa during his pre-fame days — as he spent a year co-instructing a 10th grade English class at a Philadelphia high school as a Teach for America volunteer. The experience inspired Tony’s 2012 memoir “I’d Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had: My Year as a Rookie Teacher at Northeast High,” which premiered on the New York Times Best Sellers list. (It wasn’t his first book: Tony also teamed up with his son, Marc, for the 2008 cookbook “Don’t Fill Up on the Antipasto: Tony Danza’s Father-Son Cookbook.”)
Tony Danza shared a warm embrace with “Taxi” co-star Judd Hirsch at a special screening of “Anonymous” in New York City on Oct. 20, 2011. (They both attended the event as guests.)
Tony Danza reunited with “Angels in the Outfield” co-star Joseph Gordon-Levitt for the younger actor’s feature film directorial debut, “Don Jon.” Tony portrayed the father of JGL’s character in the 2013 romantic dramedy, which performed well at the box office and with critics.
In late 2014, Tony Danza hit the studio for the original Broadway cast recording of “Honeymoon in Vegas,” which workshopped in 2011, premiered in New Jersey in 2013 and opened on Broadway in 2015. He originated the role of gambler Tommy Korman in the musical, which is based on the 1992 movie of the same name. Since 2002, Tony, who’s appeared in several other Broadway productions over the years, has also released a handful of albums of his own.
Tony Danza posed cheek-to-cheek with former “Who’s the Boss?” co-star Judith Light during Kids’ Night on Broadway in New York City on Nov. 4, 2014. The pair have reunited at events several times over the years.
When “Honeymoon in Vegas” opened on Broadway in early 2015, several of Tony Danza’s former “Taxi” co-stars were on hand for the occasion. Among them was Marilu Henner, who dated both Tony and Judd Hirsch during their time on the show … and gave Tony a celebratory smooch in honor of his big night. (In addition to Marilu, Tony has also remained extremely close with Carol Kane over the years.)
In late 2015, Tony Danza reunited with “Who’s the Boss?” co-star Danny Pintauro at the Aid for AIDS Gala in New York City. Less than two months earlier, the former child star had revealed he’s HIV-positive.
There was another epic “Taxi” cast reunion in 2016 for NBC’s “Must See TV: An All-Star Tribute to James Burrows” special. This time, Tony Danza reunited with co-stars Christopher Lloyd, Marilu Henner, Danny DeVito, Carol Kane and Judd Hirsch.
Tony Danza starred as a former cop and ex-con — the father of a strait-laced NYPD lieutenant played by Josh Groban — on the 2018 dramedy “The Good Cop.” Sadly, Netflix canceled the murder-mystery — which marked Tony’s last starring role — after just one season.
In 2019, Tony Danza brought his live show, “Tony Danza: Standards & Stories,” to San Francisco’s Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival. The actor, who currently performs with a four-piece band, has been putting on concerts that combine music (he also tap dances and plays the piano, trumpet and ukulele) and storytelling since early in his career.
All grown up! In January 2020, Tony Danza’s two daughters from his second marriage — Katherine and Emily — joined him at AARP’s 19th Annual Movies for Grownups Awards in Beverly Hills, where they posed with their dad and another iconic actor: Alan Alda.
Most recently, Tony Danza starred on an early 2020 episode of the FOX sitcom “Outmatched.” He portrayed Jay Bennett, the father of Jason Biggs’ lead character, Mike. Although the one-off likely would’ve paved the way for more work on the series, the show came to an end after just 10 episodes in March 2020. Up next, Tony will voice a role in the cartoon “Rumble,” which is due in 2022. He and Alyssa Milano have also been working on a reboot of “Who’s the Boss?” centered around their characters from the hit ’80s sitcom.
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