Prior to becoming a versatile character actor on television, Joe deSantis worked in theatre and was something of a radio star, lending his voice to a number of programs during the 1940s. A decade later, when television became all the rage, he began appearing on anthology series like "The Motorola Television Hour", which showed his effectiveness in all kinds of genres and material. He also became a familiar face on crime and Western shows; thanks to deSantis's range--he could play thugs or suave leads, or adopt accents for comedic effect--he would appear on several episodes of a program such as "Rawhide", playing a different character each time. During the late '50s and early '60s, he frequently showed up in "The Untouchables" and "77 Sunset Strip", and would come back to playing Mafioso characters throughout his career. Along with television series, he appeared in a number of critically acclaimed films, including the 1958 drama "I Want to Live!" in which he had the pivotal role of Al Matthews, an attorney trying to prevent the execution of a convicted female murderer. Around the same time, he was cast as real-life mob boss Big Jim Colosimo in the biopic "Al Capone"--ideal casting, since both men were Italian-Americans.