The Untold Truth Of Bobby Cannavale
There are a few things about Broadway and silver screen star Bobby Cannavale that may seem obvious. For instance, he has a great last name (just say it a couple of times out loud and enjoy). There’s also the fact that he clearly has camera-worthy good looks and screen-worthy skills. Granted, there’s much more to him than just that.
Hardcore fans might have also noticed something interesting about Cannavale’s former characters. IMDb points out that the actor “[h]as played roles covering each of the New York City’s three major emergency response agencies.” Indeed, he showed up as a police officer on Will & Grace, played a paramedic on Third Watch, and appeared as a firefighter in The Guru. Granted, that doesn’t mean that he’s eager to be typecast, instead explaining to InStyle, “I want to play everything.” However, despite wanting to be all in when it comes to potential roles, he also keeps a distance. “The big business, Hollywood? I don’t really work in that business,” he said while talking to The New York Times. “I peripherally work in it, but I’m not involved in it the way some people are.”
If you find that little tidbit of trivia interesting, then you might want to be filled in on some lesser-known information about him, like the fact that he told Complex that he “can pee every hour easily.” Okay, so that might have been something that you could have left unknown, but you will definitely want to read on to find out even more intriguing untold truths about Bobby Cannavale.
Bobby Cannavale used to live in Puerto Rico
Bobby Cannavale may have been destined to make it big in the Hollywood scene, however, his story started on the other side of the country. His parents first met in Union City, New Jersey after his mother, Isabel, moved from Cuba in 1960. She lived right across from Sal Cannavale, according to The New York Times Magazine. “They were married when she was 16,” Bobby said in an interview with the publication. He added, “[S]he had me at 18.”
Indeed, the man who would grow up to be a star was born on May 3, 1970, in Union City. However, when he was five years old, his parents divorced, and he had to split his time between the two households. Per The New York Times Magazine, when his mom remarried, they moved to Puerto Rico, where Bobby stayed with his mom and step-father for about two years.
But since Bobby missed his father, he explained, “I moved back here before I turned 6 to live with my dad, my grandparents, and my uncle. On the pullout.” Granted, that didn’t mean that he was away from his mother for long. She ended up moving back to Union City before relocating to Coconut Creek, Florida when her son was starting high school. He told NPR that he moved to Florida his “freshman year of high school.” He continued, “And then I came back to New Jersey my senior year of high school and moved into the city a couple years later.”
Bobby Cannavale went to school with another star
In high school, Bobby Cannavale indulged in his love of performing and he wasn’t alone. He just so happened to go to school with another future star who has likely made you laugh with his comedic onscreen detective work. “I went to high school with and acted in every play with Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s Joe Lo Truglio,” he told Us Weekly while opening up about his life in 2018. He also admitted that apart from taking the stage together for school performances, the two friends also got caught up in their fair share of mischief. “I got singled out by Jay Leno on his show in 1987 when Joe and I heckled him from our front-row seats,” he confessed. Does that seem a little unexpected from someone like Cannavale? Well, he added another tidbit about the incident, saying, “Pretty sure it was the first time we smoked pot.”
Despite — or perhaps because of — their penchant for teenage shenanigans, the two have remained friends throughout their adulthood as well. Cannavale attended Lo Truglio’s San Luis Obispo wedding to actor Beth Dover in 2014, with other celebrity pals Paul Rudd, Andy Samberg, Chelsea Perretti, and Jordan Peele, according to Us Weekly.
Their bond may be sweet, but it turns out that it’s not as uncommon as you might think. In fact, they join other celebrities like Liv Tyler and Kate Hudson as well as B.J. Novak and John Krasinski who were also high school classmates and remained tight (famous) friends over the years.
The unusual reason why Bobby Cannavale left theater school
The Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute has helped to mold the careers of impressive alumni like Uma Thurman, Chris Evans, Angelina Jolie, and Rosario Dawson. However, one name you won’t be seeing on that list is Bobby Cannavale. He told Us Weekly, “I attended the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute for three months, but I left after discovering my teacher, who constantly gave me a hard time, was trying to steal my girlfriend.” Yeesh, that’s definitely one situation that could deter you from grabbing your diploma. But that wasn’t the first time Cannavale had clashed with his teachers.
In an interview with The New York Times Magazine, he said that he was expelled in seventh grade “[f]or finally losing my temper with the principal who’s been on me since I was 5 years old.” Things didn’t get easier when he attended a Florida high school. “I was disruptive in class,” he said. “I got suspended all the time. They would give you the option of getting suspended for five days or getting corporal punishment.”
After a rocky time during school, Cannavale seemed to make peace with the educational system and even visited the Bronx Theatre School in 2013 to offer pupils advice on the acting industry. “This is a business where you have your ups and downs,” he told the students, according to the New York Daily News. He also passed on some wise words he was given: “Say yes to everything,’ because you learn by doing.”
Before finding fame, Bobby Cannavale worked odd jobs
When it comes to following your dreams while also keeping a roof over your head and food in the fridge, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do in order to pay the bills. For instance, Brad Pitt drove exotic dancers around town to bring in a few bucks, while Channing Tatum was actually a (sexy) male dancer before he got his big money-making break in the film industry.
Before Bobby Cannavale was a successful actor, he apparently “worked as an audition reader.” It not only helped with his financial situation, but he revealed to Us Weekly, “I got three parts that way.” On top of that, he “hosted an overnight shift on an all-motivational radio station in 1990” and “worked at a nightclub in the early ’90s with shoe designer Brian Atwood.”
At the same time, Cannavale never gave up on his acting dream and had the drive to follow his passion, which meant always trying to be in the right place at the right time. “I just started showing up everywhere,” he told The New York Times Magazine, “This was when Eric Bogosian’s shows were at their height at P.S. 122, so I would go there and say, ‘Can I just do anything to get in?’ And they would let me clean the bathrooms. Then I started getting plays that didn’t pay, showcases.”
There’s no doubt that Cannavale paid his dues early in his career and is now at the point where he’ll likely never have to clean another bathroom to get a gig.
Bobby Cannavale was invited to the Academy during a historical year
As movie-lovers are surely aware, the Academy Awards sees Oscars handed out to actors, directors, and others in disciplines that are involved in making the best films of the year. But who exactly are the Academy’s members and what do they do? According to NBC News, the “voting members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences wield the power to bestow the most prestigious and coveted awards in Hollywood,” so being a member gives you a voice in deciding what’s tops for that year.
Despite Cannavale being primarily known for his television and theater work, the actor has also appeared in films, which is surely why the Academy invited him to become a member in 2020. That happened to be a notable year due to the fact that it was “the third-largest class of new members in Academy history,” according to Entertainment Weekly. Apparently, a whopping 819 people were invited that year, a roster that includes Cannavale along with other famous faces like Awkwafina, Zendaya, Eva Longoria, and Constance Wu.
The Academy has long been under scrutiny for its lack of diversity when it comes to both its members as well as who wins the much sought-after awards. The Academy seemed to be taking steps to atone for this by making more diverse selections when it came to its members. According to the Oscars website, “The 2020 class [was] 45% women, 36% underrepresented ethnic/racial communities, and 49% international from 68 countries.”
Melissa McCarthy and Bobby Cannavale go way back
Bobby Cannavale and Melissa McCarthy may both be stars these days, but they have a connection that goes back to the ’90s. When McCarthy first moved to New York, she shared an apartment with her friend, shoe designer Brian Atwood, according to Rolling Stone. And as Cannavale told Us Weekly, he just so happened to work with Atwood at a nightclub at the time.
More recently, Cannavale and McCarthy have appeared together on screen more than once. Just watch 2015’s Spy and you’ll see Cannavale playing the villain and McCarthy as the agent who tries to thwart him. The two teamed up again for 2020’s Superintelligence, which had them playing love interests, as well as 2021’s Thunder Force, which involved the (real-life) friends once again pitted against each other, this time in a world of superheroes vs. supervillains.
While they seem to like working together, McCarthy actually “declared her love for” Cannavale while on set, as Entertainment Tonight put it. When she was supposed to tell his Superintelligence character, George, that she loved him, she accidentally said Bobby’s name instead … multiple times. That was surely awkward, especially considering the fact that her husband, Ben Falcone, was the director. So how did Falcone feel about the slip of the tongue? “It’s totally fine. You know, Melissa’s made out with lots of guys,” he jokingly told ET. “It’s part of the job, so I don’t think it’s something any of us thought about it as much as people think we think about it.”
Bobby Cannavale is in a relationship with another star
If you have a crush on Bobby Cannavale, then you might want to choose to believe that he’s single. However, the truth is that the popular performer is in a relationship with fellow actor Rose Byrne. Although the handsome power couple is not technically married, they still “refer to each other as husband and wife,” as noted by Oprah Daily. The pair met while working on 2014’s Annie, and soon Cannavale and Byrne welcomed two children. Cannavale also shares a son with his ex-wife, writer/producer Jenny Lumet.
Cannavale and Byrne have appeared together on screen multiple times. You can catch them both in films like Adult Beginners, Spy, Martha the Monster, and on shows like Angie Tribeca. “They do projects together again and again and again, though they don’t do press as a couple. They don’t do much press at all,” Vanity Fair noted while also calling the duo “rare” and “enigmatic.” Byrne herself explained, “I mean, it’s not something we do all the time, but we’re trying to go with the flow … We’re generally pretty private.”
They’re also opposites in a way. Cannavale’s friend, actor Joe Lo Truglio, “describes him as the high-strung rainstorm to Byrne’s relaxed cumulus cloud,” according to Vanity Fair. While that sounds a little blustery, it apparently works for them.
Bobby Cannavale's son appeared on screen with him
It must be an amazing experience to share the spotlight with your child. Billy Ray Cyrus knows what that’s like as he and his daughter Miley Cyrus were together for the full 100 episodes of the popular television series Hannah Montana, and the late Carrie Fisher was able to share the Star Wars universe (and the signature hair buns) with daughter Billie Lourd. Bobby Cannavale also knows what it’s like. His oldest son, Jake Cannavale, is an actor just like his father. You can spot a 10-year-old Jake in the film Romance & Cigarettes and he even played the son of his dad’s character on Nurse Jackie.
Bobby talked to Vulture about the experience, saying, “You never actually expect to ever work with your kid, and I love being around him, so it was just another facet of our relationship. We got to experience another great bonding moment.” He added that, in his opinion, “Edie [Falco] is one of the best actresses we have, period, and she fell in love with him” while the two were working together, which must reflect well on him. “So for his first time out, he — as my family would say — really stepped in s**t.” In a good way, we assume.
Beyond that, Jake’s acting career is really moving ahead, which is why you can catch him in an episode of The Mandalorian, as the hopeful bounty hunter, as well as in the film Murderville.
Lively mornings are typical for Bobby Cannavale
Are you an early bird or a night owl? Do you wake up before the sun in order to get the most out of the day or do you find that your best work happens when the stars are out? According to Time, Apple CEO Tim Cook “wakes up at 3:45 every morning… does e-mail for an hour… then goes to the gym,” and actor Mark Wahlberg who has an intense “daily routine, which apparently starts at 2:30 a.m,” according to Insider. As for Bobby Cannavale, he’s definitely the kind of person who likes to get up bright and early.
While most of us are still cozy in our beds or at least still slamming the snooze button, the star is likely already “up and at’em.” He told Us Weekly in November 2018, “I’m a morning person. I love a 6:30 a.m. wake-up.” That’s a good thing because his kids sound like they’re pretty lively in the morning. “They share a room. Six o’clock in the morning, one of them starts singing, the other ones starts screaming, but it’s to each other,” he said in Us Weekly earlier that same year. He added, “I’ve got a good 45 minutes to get breakfast ready, read one section of the newspaper and have a coffee. It’s a good little routine. I dig it. It’s really nice.” Beyond that quiet time, he admitted that “it’s pretty nonstop.”
Bobby Cannavale calls a pink Brooklyn brownstone home
Bobby Cannavale could live in a mansion in the suburbs or snap up a historic abode in Los Angeles, but neither is the case for this famous figure. The star and his partner, fellow actor Rose Byrne, as well as their children, live in a “classic Brooklyn brownstone,” according to Vogue. While that certainly sounds snazzy, Architectural Digest noted that it was “once dark and cramped.” That’s why the couple had to have the 2,700-square-foot home that was originally built in 1899 freshened up with what Vogue called a “gut restoration” that “required historic preservation and modernization to coexist in a perfect balance.” That included fixing up the arched windows and painting the exterior with Benjamin Moore’s Heather Pink.
Why pink? Well, along with the fact that a pink house simply sounds (and surely looks) cool, AD points out that they also live on “a one-block-long street in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, known for having row houses each painted a different color.” Indeed, their home has been fully dubbed “The Pink House,” according to Vogue.
Other appealing factors include the fact that the pink brownstone is located near Governors Island and the Brooklyn Bridge and boasts big, beautiful windows, with a lovely open concept. According to Frederick Tang of Frederick Tang Architecture, according to AD, ‘[w]hen they purchased the house, it was configured as two apartments, each divided into a series of smaller rooms,” and the couple “were an integral part of collaborating in the design process.”
Bobby Cannavale has quite the fortune
Bobby Cannavale has been a busy guy working in film, television, and theatre since 1996. During that time, he has scored some major television gigs, like working on Third Watch, Cold Case, and Nurse Jackie. And who could forget his time spent as Will’s police officer boyfriend on the wildly popular show Will & Grace, which earned him a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series in 2005? In 2013, he won another Emmy, this time for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, for his work on Boardwalk Empire.
Although Cannavale has clearly landed some impressive (and likely lucrative) roles, he’s also willing to gamble with his money. He told Us Weekly, “I’ve played in a weekly poker game with the same group of guys in Hell’s Kitchen [NYC] for 20 years.” Whether his extracurricular gaming adds to his overall fortune or takes away from it isn’t something that he was as upfront about.
Either way, Cannavale still has a pretty decent fortune with $10 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. While that may be impressive, he says that his partner, Rose Byrne, makes even more than him and not just a little more. “I make half as much as she does,” he told Vanity Fair in a 2019 interview. “Down the middle. Half. I work too much in the theater, perhaps.” That’s probably why her fortune is bigger than his, sitting at $16 million.
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