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Hosea Sanders spoke with the Chicago original who’s been entertaining us for more than half a century — though not nearly as long as he’s been a Cubs fan!
“I grew up on the West Side, that’s my hometown,” Mantegna said. “I used to joke about it, when Dennis Franz and Dennis Farina and I would get together, if we talked long enough, the Wrigley Building might appear…. I went to high school in Cicero, even got a street named after me in front of the Red River Shannon, an apartment I lived in when I went to the Goodman School of Drama.”
Mantegna’s new series on Prime Video is “As We See It.” Young adults on the autism spectrum cope with the challenge of a world that often makes no sense.
“They’re asking me to play the father of a child with autism,” Mantegna said. “I am the father of a child with autism. My oldest daughter will be 35 years old and has autism…. It’s a perfect example of words that I live by, which is, everybody’s got a story and nobody gets a free ride.”
Mantegna continued, “I’ll be in the airport and baggage guys will be yelling ‘Joey Zasa’ from ‘Godfather.’ I’ve been at this over 50 years, I’ve played a lot of characters.”
And who could forget that great humanitarian Fat Tony.
“That’s my longest running role,” Mantegna said. “I’m still doing that and I’ve been doing it for over 30 years.”
Recalling his “Bleacher Bums” days, did Mantegna ever dream his career would come so far?
“Hey, I’m a Cubs fan, it took them 108 years to make a dream come true,” he said. “My mother lived to be 101 years old and I’m not sure she ever understood what I did for a living…kind of a thing to her… I’m just happy to spend a little time with you, this is like coming home, this is great.”
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