Prolific character actor Charles Cioffi left his hometown of New York City as a teenager to attend Michigan State University, where he went on to receive both bachelor's and master's degrees. Cioffi developed an affinity for the Midwest, where he would later live. He returned to New York in the early 1970s and quickly landed parts in two highly notable films of the era--the blaxploitation classic "Shaft" (portraying Lt. Vic Androzzi) and the Oscar-winning drama "Klute" (as businessman Peter Cable), both in 1971. These roles, along with Cioffi's everyman look, made him a recognizable screen presence and helped him land roles throughout the decade. He portrayed mafioso Vito Genovese in "Lucky Luciano," while always finding work in 1970s cop shows like "Hawaii Five-0" and televised dramas like "Little House on The Prairie." Throughout the 1980s, Cioffi intermittently worked on- and off-Broadway while turning up on more primetime dramas, but soap opera fans will remember him best as the vengeance-fueled Ernesto Toscano on "Days of Our Lives" during the 1990s. He continued to find work on television while sharing his vast knowledge of the business by teaching the history of live television at the University of Minnesota.