Julie Bovasso

Julie Bovasso
Julie bovasso cropped retouched 2.jpg
Bovasso in 1956
Julia Anne Bovasso[1]

August 1, 1930
Died September 14, 1991(1991-09-14) (aged 61)
Occupation Actress
Years active 1958–1991
Spouse(s) George Earl Ortman

Julia Anne Bovasso (August 1, 1930 – September 14, 1991) was an American actress of stage, screen, and television.

Life and career

Bovasso was born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in the Bensonhurst neighborhood of that borough, the daughter of Angela Mary (née Padovani) and Bernard Michael Bovasso, a teamster.[1][2] She was of Italian descent.[3]

She attended The High School of Music & Art in Manhattan.[4]

Bovasso appeared in numerous films, including Saturday Night Fever (1977) as Florence Manero, the mother of John Travolta's character, Tony Manero. She reprised the role in the film's 1983 sequel, Staying Alive. Prior to Saturday Night Fever, she appeared in the 1970 Otto Preminger film, Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon.[5]

In addition to Staying Alive, she was in a number of films in the 1980s, including Willie & Phil (1980), The Verdict (1982), Daniel (1983), Off Beat (1986), Wise Guys (1986), Moonstruck (1987). In the 1990s, Bovasso was seen in Betsy's Wedding (1990) and My Blue Heaven (1990).[5]

On-stage, Bavasso wrote and appeared in avant-garde productions off-Broadway such as Jean Genet's The Maids. For the latter, she won the first Best Actress Obie (Off-Broadway) Award in 1956, presented to her by Shelley Winters.[6][4]

Prior to her film work, Bovasso established the experimental Tempo Playhouse at 4 St. Marks Place in Manhattan during the 1950s. There, she introduced works of the Theater of the Absurd, including those of the playwrights Jean Genet, Eugene Ionesco and Michel de Ghelderode, to the professional theater in the United States.[6][4]

Bovasso also performed with The Living Theater and had a longstanding relationship with La Mama Experimental Theatre Club.[6][7] Between 1968 and 1975, she directed many of her own original works at La MaMa, including Gloria and Esperanza, Schubert's Last Serenade, The Moondreamers, Standard Safety, and The Nothing Kid.[4]

In addition to her work as a director and actor, her playwriting credits include the four-hour play Gloria and Esperanza, which Village Voice theatre critic Jerry Tallmer described as "a miracle, a mythopoetic fireworks display."[8] A sought-after acting coach, Bovasso was known as an exacting instructor and her private New York workshops regularly included prominent performers. As per the DVD commentary, Bovasso coached both Cher and Olympia Dukakis on their Brooklyn accents in the film Moonstruck.[citation needed]

In her earlier acting days, she played Rose Corelli Fraser in the short-lived soap opera From These Roots. She was subsequently fired from that show, due to a disagreement with producers.[citation needed]


Bovasso was married to painter George Earl Ortman for 30 years until her death in 1991.[9]


In September 1991, Bovasso died in New York City of cancer at the age of 61.[4]


Year Title Role Notes
1970 Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon Ramona
1977 Saturday Night Fever Flo
1980 Willie & Phil Mrs. D'Amico
1982 The Verdict Maureen Rooney
1983 Staying Alive Mrs. Manero
1983 Daniel Frieda Stein
1986 Off Beat Mrs. Wareham
1986 Wise Guys Lil Dickstein
1987 Moonstruck Rita Cappomaggi
1990 Betsy's Wedding Grandma
1990 My Blue Heaven Vinnie's Mother
1992 Article 99 Amelia Sturdeyvant (final film role)

Selected theatrical credits

  • Moon Dreamers[10]
  • Schubert's Last Serenade[11]
  • Gloria and Esperanza[12]
  • Monday on the Way to Mercury Island[13]


  1. ^ a b "Julie Bovasso". Filmreference.com.
  2. ^ Profile, Doollee.com; accessed August 4, 2017.[dead link]
  3. ^ LaGumina, Salvatore; Frank J. Cavaioli; Salvatore Primeggia; Joseph A. Varacalli, eds. (September 3, 2003). The Italian-American Experience: An Encyclopedia. Routledge. p. 470. ISBN 978-1135583330.
  4. ^ a b c d e Rothstein, Mervyn (September 17, 1991). "Julie Bovasso, a Dramatist, 61; Active in Avant-Garde Theater", The New York Times.
  5. ^ a b Julie Bovasso at IMDb
  6. ^ a b c "Julie Bovasso". Internet Off-Broadway Database. Retrieved August 4, 2017.
  7. ^ Bottoms, Stephen J. (November 20, 2006). Playing Underground: A Critical History of the 1960s Off-off-Broadway Movement. Univ of Michigan Press. p. 26-28, 335. ISBN 978-0472031948.
  8. ^ Tallmer, Jerry (May 3, 2005). "Watering the Off-Broadway Garden". The Village Voice. Archived from the original on March 7, 2014.
  9. ^ Interview with George Ortman, August 2010; Geoform.net; accessed August 4, 2017.
  10. ^ La MaMa's Digital Collections, Documentation related to "Moondreamers" at La MaMa (1968 and 1969). Retrieved June 27, 2017.[dead link]
  11. ^ La MaMa's Digital Collections, Documentation related to "Schubert's Last Serenade" at La MaMa (1971 and 1975); retrieved June 27, 2017.[dead link]
  12. ^ "Gloria and Esperanza". Playbill.
  13. ^ La MaMa's Digital Collections, Documentation related to "Monday on the Way to Mercury Island" at La MaMa (1971); retrieved June 27, 2017.[dead link]

External links