(written from a Production point of view)
Robert Costanzo is a veteran character actor who appeared as Slade Bender in the Star Trek: The Next Generation second season episode "Manhunt". Hailing from Brooklyn, Costanzo has amassed a career spanning three decades and over two hundred film and television credits.
Costanzo has dozens of feature films to his credit. Small roles in films such as Dog Day Afternoon (1975, featuring Chris Sarandon), Neil Simon's The Goodbye Girl (1977), and Saturday Night Fever (1977) gave way to larger supporting roles in films like Fatso (1980), Two of a Kind (1983), and The Lightship (1986). He found his greatest success in features during the 1990s, beginning with a key supporting role in the 1990 science fiction action/adventure Total Recall. Also featured in this film were Marc Alaimo, Roy Brocksmith, Ronny Cox, Mel Johnson, Jr., Frank Kopyc, Lycia Naff, and the voice of Robert Picardo. In addition, Jon Povill was credited with the film's story.
Also in 1990, Costanzo appeared in two blockbuster films with TNG co-star (and later DS9 regular) Colm Meaney: Dick Tracy and Die Hard 2. Fellow Star Trek alumni Hamilton Camp, Seymour Cassel, Tony Epper, Ed McCready, Michael J. Pollard, Bert Remsen, John Schuck, Paul Sorvino, and Ian Wolfe appeared in the former film, as well, while William Sadler co-starred in the latter.
Costanzo's subsequent films include City Slickers (1991, with Tracey Walter and Noble Willingham), Honeymoon in Vegas (1992, with Seymour Cassel and Keone Young), North (1994, with Jason Alexander, Rosalind Chao, and Keone Young), and For Better or Worse (1996, starring and directed by Jason Alexander). He was the second male lead in the 1993 horror film Man's Best Friend and also co-starred with TOS actor James Doohan in 1995's Storybook.
More recently, Costanzo had small roles in such films as Alex & Emma (with Jordan Lund) and Searching for Bobby D (with Michael Nouri) and supporting roles in films like In the Mix and The Flyboys. In addition, he starred in the 2007 independent film Banished, which he also associate produced. Some of his upcoming films include Dark Room Theater and A Wild Ride.
Besides TNG, Costanzo has made guest appearances on numerous television series, including The Bob Newhart Show, Barney Miller, Charlie's Angels, Who's the Boss?, Family Ties, Murder, She Wrote, The Fall Guy, Night Court (starring John Larroquette), Beverly Hills, 90210, Ally McBeal, ER, Will & Grace, and CSI: NY, just to name a few. He also had recurring roles on St. Elsewhere and three series from creator Steven Bochco: Hill Street Blues (starring Barbara Babcock, Barbara Bosson and James B. Sikking), L.A. Law (starring Corbin Bernsen), and NYPD Blue (starring Gordon Clapp and Sharon Lawrence).
He was a regular on several short-lived programs, including The Last Resort (1979-80) and Checking In (1981) for CBS. He is known for playing Joey Tribbiani Sr., the father of Matt LeBlanc's character, on an episode of Friends and an episode of that show's spin-off series, Joey. Perhaps his best-known television role, however, is the voice of Detective Harvey Bullock on the various Batman animated series and movies of the 1990s.
Costanzo's other TV credits include a number of shows co-starring actors who had been or would become regulars on a Star Trek series. In 1985, he appeared in an episode of The Twilight Zone which also featured Star Trek: Voyager's Tim Russ (albeit, in a separate segment). In 1989, Costanzo appeared on Quantum Leap, the popular time travel series which starred Star Trek: Enterprise's Scott Bakula (as well as Dean Stockwell, who also appeared on Enterprise). In a 1998 episode of Early Edition, Costanzo worked alongside George Takei, famous for playing Sulu on Star Trek: The Original Series.
Costanzo is one of the many Star Trek actors who appeared in HBO's 61*. His co-stars included Seymour Cassel, J.D. Cullum, Charles Esten, Bob Gunton, Robert Joy, Christopher McDonald, Bruce McGill, Michael Nouri, Dell Yount, and Connor Trinneer.
Costanzo voiced in an episode of The Zeta Project with Worf actor Michael Dorn (as well as Voyager guest star Michael McKean). He also supplied the voice of Philoctetes on Disney's Hercules animated series, the direct-to-video movie Hercules: Zero to Hero, the series House of Mouse, and the video games Arcade Frenzy, Kingdom Hearts, and Kingdom Hearts II. In addition, he lent his voice to a 2006 episode of Seth MacFarlane's animated series Family Guy
In 2007, Costanzo appeared in an episode of the FX series Dirt, along with Jeffrey Nordling, Mariette Hartley, and Randy Oglesby. He then appeared on Boston Legal, starring TOS actor William Shatner and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's Rene Auberjonois.
Other Trek connections
Additional projects in which Costanzo worked with other Star Trek alumni include:
- Between the Lines (1977, with Stephen Collins and Michael J. Pollard)
- Bloodbrothers (1978, with Bruce French and Paul Sorvino)
- Shoot the Moon (1982, with George Murdock and Peter Weller)
- The Star Chamber (1983, with Michael Ensign, Larry Hankin and James B. Sikking)
- Up the Creek (1984, with James B. Sikking)
- The Boss' Wife (1986, with Christopher Plummer)
- Underworld (1996, with Jimmie F. Skaggs)
- With Friends Like These... (1998, with Michael McKean)
- The Last Producer (2000, with Marnie McPhail)
- A Question of Guilt (1978, directed by Robert Butler)
- The Ratings Game (1984, with Michael Ensign, Gerrit Graham and Vincent Schiavelli)
- Call Me Clause (2001, with Whoopi Goldberg)
- Lou Grant episode "Romance" (1979, with Craig Wasson)
- Gimme a Break! episode "Greenlawn Street Blues" (1983, with Miriam Flynn and John Hoyt)
- Hill Street Blues episodes:
- Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman episodes:
- Caroline in the City episode "Caroline and the Ombudsman" (1997, with Alan Oppenheimer)
- NCIS episode "The Boneyard" (2004, directed by Terrence O'Hara)