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(1934-11-05)November 5, 1934
|Died||April 7, 2004(2004-04-07) (aged 69)
Victor Argo (November 5, 1934 – April 7, 2004) was an American actor of Puerto Rican descent who usually played the part of a tough bad guy in his movies. He had a career span of forty years. He is best known for Mean Streets (1973), Taxi Driver (1976), Hot Tomorrows (1977), The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), King of New York (1990), and McBain (1991).
Argo began his career as a stage actor. While performing in an Off-Broadway play during the 1960s, Argo met Yoko Ono, with whom he participated in the so-called "Happening" movement. He also became friends with the then fledgling actor Harvey Keitel, with whom he remained close for nearly forty years. In 1977, Argo became a founding member of the Riverside Shakespeare Company on New York City's Upper West Side. As a member, he toured the parks of Manhattan playing Lord Montague.
In the 1970s, Argo made his film debut with a small part in Unholy Rollers and his television debut in a made-for-TV film Smile Jenny, You're Dead. He became a durable movie tough guy and a favorite of such directors as Martin Scorsese, Abel Ferrara and Woody Allen. His film credits include Taxi Driver, King of New York, The Rose, New York Stories, The Last Temptation of Christ, Bad Lieutenant, True Romance and Coyote Ugly. In 2001, he played Jennifer Lopez's father in the romantic drama Angel Eyes. His television guest appearances include The Rockford Files, Wonder Woman, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Spenser: For Hire, Law & Order and Miami Vice. Argo lent his talents to seventy-five films and twenty-one television guest roles in total.
Among the films in which Argo had a role were the following:
- Dealing (1972) - 2nd Cuban
- Boxcar Bertha (1972) - McIver #1
- Unholy Rollers (1972) - Vinnie the Trainer
- Mean Streets (1973) - Mario
- The Don Is Dead (1973) - 'Augie The Horse'
- The Terminal Man (1974) - Orderly
- Taxi Driver (1976) - Melio
- Hot Tomorrows (1977) - Tony
- Which Way Is Up? (1977) - Angel
- The Rose (1979) - Lockerman
- Hanky Panky (1982) - Pallbearer
- Romando (1982) - Don Piri
- Falling in Love (1984) - Victor Rawlins
- The Electric Chair (1985) - Comic
- Desperately Seeking Susan (1985) - Sergeant Taskal
- After Hours (1985) - Diner Cashier
- Off Beat (1986) - Leon
- Raw Deal (1986) - Dangerous Man
- Florida Straits (1986) - Pablo Cheruka
- The Pick-up Artist (1987) - Harris
- The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) - Peter, Apostle
- Her Alibi (1989) - Avram
- New York Stories (1989) - Cop (segment "Life Lessons")
- Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989) - Detective
- King of New York (1990) - Roy Bishop
- Quick Change (1990) - Mike Skelton
- McBain (1991) - El Presidente
- Shadows and Fog (1991) - Vigilante
- Bad Lieutenant (1992) - Beat Cop
- True Romance (1993) - Lenny
- Dangerous Game (1993) - Director of Photography
- Household Saints (1993) - Lino Falconetti
- Men Lie (1994) - Scott's Dad
- Monkey Trouble (1994) - Charlie
- Somebody to Love (1994) - Santa Claus
- Smoke (1995) - Vinnie
- Blue in the Face (1995) - Vinnie
- Condition Red (1995) - Victor Klein
- The Funeral (1996) - Julius
- Next Stop Wonderland (1998) - Frank
- Going Nomad (1998) - Spiro
- Lulu on the Bridge (1998) - Pierre
- Side Streets (1998) - Albani Krug
- New Rose Hotel (1998) - Portuguese Business Man
- Fast Horses (1998) - Zack
- On the Run (1999) - Man Shaving
- Coming Soon (1999) - Mr. Neipris
- Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999) - Vinny
- Blue Moon (2000) - Tony
- The Yards (2000) - Paul Lazarides
- Fast Food Fast Women (2000) - Seymour
- Love = (Me)^3 (2000) - Mr. Carrera
- Coyote Ugly (2000) - Pete
- Double Whammy (2001) - Lt. Spigot
- 'R Xmas (2001) - Louie
- Angel Eyes (2001) - Carl Pogue
- Queenie in Love (2001) - Horace
- The Man Who Knew Belle Starr (2001) - Diner Owner
- Don't Say a Word (2001) - Sydney Simon
- Bridget (2002) - Grant
- Anything But Love (2002) - Sal
- Dirt (2003) - El Gringo Nestor
- Personal Sergeant (filmed in 2003; released in 2004) - Chuck Manetta
- Lustre (filmed in 2003; released in 2005) - Hugo (final film role)
Shortly before his death, Argo realized a lifelong dream of performing on Broadway when he was cast as Santiago, the owner of a cigar factory, in the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama Anna in the Tropics. In his last on-screen role, in the independent film Lustre by director Art Jones, Argo portrayed a New York City loan shark who retreats from his everyday, hard-nosed rants to a deeply spiritual disconnect with the world. The film was released in 2005. Argo died in New York City at Saint Vincent's Catholic Medical Center on April 7, 2004 from complications of lung cancer at age 69. His body was donated to Manhattan College for medical science. In 2005, Electronic music group Bodega System releases a 12" vinyl LP which includes the track "Victor Argo".
- McKinley, Jesse (April 9, 2004). "Victor Argo, 69; Played Heavies In Scorsese Films" – via NYTimes.com.
- Rotten Tomatoes
- "Shakespeare on the Drive," The New York Times, August 19, 1977.
- "San Diego Tribune".
- Home DVD, Monarch. "Personal Sergeant (2006)". Amazon. Retrieved 2006-06-27.
- "Victor Argo (1934-2004) - Find A Grave-gedenkplek".
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