Hometown: Kenosha, WI
You Know Him As: Captain Frank Furillo on Hill Street Blues.
Daniel J. Travanti was originally born Danielo Giovanni Travanty on March 7, 1940 in Kenosha to Italian immigrant parents. He was raised in Iowa for some of his childhood, but eventually returned back to his home state and attended Bradford High School, where he received All American Honorable Mention. During his school years, Daniel displayed both athletic and academic talents while on the football and debate teams.
Travanti continued his studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for his college years and finished his undergraduate work in only three years! At this same time, Daniel first developed an interest in drama, appearing in every single play production at the university. He even turned down top football scholarships in order to try and pursue a career in acting.
To continue on with his goal, Daniel trained at the Yale School of Drama. Afterwards, in 1965, he co-starred with Colleen Dewhurst in a touring company of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”
A year after, Daniel relocated to Los Angeles, where he appeared in an assortment of TV roles, while still using his actual last name of Travanty. Using this name lasted until the early 1970s, when he would change the spelling to Travanti.
Daniel Travanti continued on with his acting career and started his film debut in the drama, Who Killed Teddy Bear in 1965, which starred Sal Mineo and Juliet Prowse. He then found supporting roles in the filmsThe Organiazation (1971) and St. Ives (1976) and guest appearances in the TV shows “The Defenders,” “Perry Mason,” “Judd: For the Defense,” “The F.B.I.,” “Mannix,” “Cannon,” and “Barnaby Jones.”
With his newfound busy life, Travanti turned to alcohol to help with the frustration and dissatisfaction of his life and career. Luckily, he sought professional help in 1973 after a collapse and breakdown during the middle of a show in Indianapolis.
In an interview by Gayle Rosellini and Mark Worden, Travanti recalled his alcoholic experience, “I overdid everything. I was in four major productions at Yale, which had never been done before that time. Then I got to New York. All of a sudden the buildings didn’t care anything about an egomaniac from Kenosha, Wisconsin, by awy of Yale, and I felt I was fizzling out. And I was, because I had pushed it so far, so fast and accomplished every young man’s dream. I had won literally every single academic honor there s to win in higher education. But nothing was ever enough. I was never satisfied, like a demon, warring all the time.”
Following treatment, Travanti turned his life around in a positive manner. In 1978, he earned a master’s degree in English literature at Loyola of Marymount in Los Angeles. That following year, he received a six-month spot on the ABC daytime soap “General Hospital.”
The highlight of Travanti’s new lifestyle came when he was cast as the serious, somber-looking Captain Frank Furillo in “Hill Street Blues” in 1981. He would star on this television drama for six seasons.
He would then be a part of highly-acclaimed TV mini-movie parts, most rememberable, of John Walsh, the father who turned activist after his child was murdered in “Adam” (1983), and its sequel “Adam: His Song Continues” (1986). Travanti also won the &!@*#le role of broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow in “Murrow”(1986).
Daniel rarely appeared in either television or film in his later years. He briefly played Lt. Ray McAuliffe in the TV series “Missing Persons” in 1993, and a few bit parts in programs such at “Poltergeist: The Legacy” (1997) and “Prison Break” (2005). Ultimetely, he has avoided the limelight and instead, focused on off-Broadway productions with roles in “All My Sons” (2002), “Major Barbara” (2003) and “The Last Word…” (2007).
During his entire professional acting career, Daniel won two Emmy awards (for his role in “Hill Street Blues”) a Golden Globe award, and even developed sex symbol status at the age of 41. He was also inducted into the Wisconsin Performing Arts Hall of Fame in 1994.
Biography By Stacy Raduechel