Education: B.A. in Acting
Fun Fact: He's ambidextrous
Eric Close: "I agree with Michael on that."
Tony got his acting start on the CBS TV movie First Steps, which aired in 1985. Shortly thereafter, he starred in his first feature film, Nothing In Common, alongside Tom Hanks in 1986. Since his debut in 1985, Tony has had a successful stream of work, starring in either a TV production or movie every year since. Notable roles include his portrayal of Chad Finletter in 1988's Return of the Killer Tomatoes and the naive priest Father Brophy in 1990's Repossessed, where he starred alongside Leslie Nielsen.
In 1995, Tony had a guest spot on the TV series Seinfeld, which became one of his most well known roles. His character Jimmy constantly referred to himself in third person and the shtick is still discussed fondly by Tony fans and Seinfeld fans alike. Tony also played the part of Jack Donahue, the often bumbling but big-hearted bartender on 1994's The George Carlin Show.
It was in 1998 that Tony landed one of his most famous (and fan favorite) roles as the gambler Ezra P. Standish on the TV show The Magnificent Seven. While the show only lasted for two years and ran 22 episodes, its fan base continues to grow to this day. Tony's depiction of the conflicted and tormented Ezra garnered the character a love or hate relationship with the viewing audience.
Tony has continued to surprise and delight fans with numerous TV show appearances, such as his role of Sebastian Balfour in the majorly popular Prison Break and an incredibly moving and emotional performance as Jay Dratton in the series Cold Case.
For a complete list of works, please refer to the Acting Profile.
Tony is known for jumping into his characters both feet first. His research and the thought he puts into a role have been common discussion points among his cast mates. His depictions often create a real heart-felt sympathy, even if the audience is supposed to dislike the character he is playing. His impressive history in not only television and film, but theater as well, create a well rounded and versatile acting style that is uniquely his own.
Specifically, on the set of the television show The Magnificent Seven, the entire cast had the rare opportunity to voice their own opinions and ideas of their characters and the show. Tony's input on the creation of his character Ezra was something he enjoyed and put a lot of thought into. Not wanting the character to be so cut and dry, he and the writer's developed Ezra as a sort of 'bad guy trying to be good', a conflicted character that you couldn't really be sure of. Not only did Tony have input on the character himself, he sometimes reworked the script. Most notably in an interview with Rick Worthy (who plays Nathan Jackson), he talks of a tense scene between the two characters in the episode Working Girls:
"I think that Tony saw it, he had the insight to see that the conflict needed to be there at that time, and I compliment him on that." ~ Rick Worthy
Fans would agree that Tony is an emotive/expressive actor. He doesn't simply rely on his words or hand gestures to get the point across, he actively employs the use of his facial features, such as his eyebrows or his mouth. In many of Tony's roles, you see evidence of this. He often quirks his eyebrows in various manners to indicate unspoken emotion or to really drive the point home. His ability to convey a wide variety of expressions and emotions without words has earned him a spot in the hearts of many as a very talented and a proficient actor.
Aside from acting in feature films and television, Anthony is a highly qualified theater actor. He has starred in numerous plays throughout his career including West Side Story, Ah Wilderness, Kabuki Lady Macbeth, and Dollhouse, among many others.
Anthony also dabbles in the written word, having written poetry, scripts and a novel. The novel, A Coal to His Lips, earned much praise from fans and publishers alike; however, the publishing companies didn't know exactly how to market the genre of the story. Instead, he sold the novel online to garner an interest in his work.
Anthony on his novel:
"The inspiration for it was that I had been writing poetry for years, and the poetry was becoming increasingly narrative. And by that I mean it was less and less abstract and more and more in story form. And friends were observing that I was moving more in the direction of either writing short stories or perhaps even a novel. And I just sort of found myself 30 pages into this one story, and I said Aha, this could sort of go on, and I made an outline for the rest of the novel. And as far as the subject matter goes, or more specifically the theme of personal transformation, that came out of just years of interest in spiritual subjects and activities like meditation."
Biography written by BK for Anthony Starke Online