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Steve Buscemi Has 'Seen It All'

Gabriella Paiella profiles the iconic actor a year after the death of his wife
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 27, 2020 12:42 PM CDT

(Newser) – Most of us know Steve Buscemi from the likes of Fargo, The Sopranos, and Boardwalk Empire. But do we really know him? The iconic actor has pretty much "seen it all," writes Gabriella Paiella in a revealing profile for GQ. That includes Buscemi (who pronounces his last name as "boo-SEM-ee") getting hit by a bus when he was 4, hit by a car when he was 8, and stabbed in a bar fight while hanging out with Vince Vaughn nearly 20 years ago. A former firefighter, he also helped clean up Ground Zero after 9/11. But it's his acting that has put him on the map, "[surrounding] us so consistently in such varied work that he might as well be air," Paiella writes. "We used to joke that he was our generation's Don Knotts, but he's more Jimmy Stewart in a way," filmmaker Jim Jarmusch tells Paiella. "He portrays humanity."

One of the most major life-changing events of all for Buscemi happened nearly a year and a half ago, when he lost his wife of more than 30 years, artist and choreographer Jo Andres, to cancer. Since her death, Buscemi has been sorting through the remnants of their life together in their Brooklyn brownstone, both to archive her work and so their adult son, Lucian, won't have to inherit too much "junk." As for how he's dealing with the isolation of the coronavirus pandemic, Buscemi says he misses being able to visit his mother at her assisted living facility on Staten Island, but he's hanging in there. "It's been over a year now since Jo passed, and I'm just starting to feel lighter," he says. "It is very strange that, oh, now this is happening. If it was another personal thing, I think that would be really hard. But the fact that everybody's going through it doesn't feel as isolating. It feels like it's something that we're doing together." (More on Buscemi here.)

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