With his ethnic name and exotic good looks, Armand Assante was often mistaken by casting agents early in his career for foreign talent. The native New Yorker paid his dues in regional theatre and as a regular on the soap opera "The Doctors" (NBC, 1963-1982), but work in films was longer in coming. Although Assante was courted by such 1970s auteurs as Francis Ford Coppola and Terence Malick, it was future action star Sylvester Stallone who gave him his first big breaks - as an extra in "The Lords of Flatbush" (1974) and as his co-star in "Paradise Alley" (1978). Typed as a slightly unreliable romantic leading man, Assante scored with moviegoers in "Private Benjamin" (1980) opposite Goldie Hawn and "Little Darlings" (1980) with Tatum O'Neal, but his first star outing, as Mike Hammer in the 1982 "I, the Jury" remake, was a box office dud. More successful on the small screen, Assante subspecialized in mobster roles in the trashy miniseries "Rage of Angels" (NBC, 1983), Jack Nicholson's "Hoffa" (1992) and the HBO biopic "Gotti" (1996), while proving a credible leading man in the indie "Belizaire, the Cajun" (1986) and "The Mambo Kings" (1991) with Antonio Banderas. Disinclined to trade on his looks for A-list status, Assante quit Hollywood to live off the grid with his family in upstate New York. The actor spent the better part of his career bouncing between low budget films and made-for-TV fare, lending an inarguable intensity and a disarming level of intelligence to any job he chose to take on.