A fervent civil rights activist, he was joined by Marlon Brando and Paul Newman in Gadsden, Alabama in 1963 for a desegregation drive.
As of 2009, he is only one of six performers who won a Golden Globe Award as Best Lead Actor/Actress in a Motion Picture Drama without being nominated for an Oscar for that same role (his for Career (1959)). The others are Spencer Tracy in The Actress (1953), Omar Sharif in Doctor Zhivago (1965), Shirley MacLaine in Madame Sousatzka (1988), Jim Carrey in The Truman Show (1998) and Kate Winslet in Revolutionary Road (2008).
Earned an acting scholarship and became an alumnus of Lee Strasberg's famed Actor's Studio, where he met future wife Shelley Winters.
Father of actor Christopher Franciosa and Marco Franciosa with wife, Rita Thiel; and Nina Franciosa with wife Judy Balaban.
First wife Beatrice Bakalyar was a writer.
He was infamous on and off the set for his hot temper.
His death came only five days after that of his ex-wife Shelley Winters (19 January 2006).
His third ex-wife, Judy Balaban, is author of the book, "The Bridesmaids", about her friend, Grace Kelly. She served as a bridesmaid in the princess's wedding. Judy and Tony had a daughter, Nina Franciosa, together.
Longtime friend of Jesse Jackson.
Mentioned in Tom Waits's song "Goin' Out West".
Son of a construction worker and seamstress who divorced when he was a year old. He seldom saw his father after this.
Starred in the first TV-movie produced as a TV series pilot to be picked up as a regular series, the two-hour TV-movie Fame Is the Name of the Game (1966) (TV), which was produced by Universal for N.B.C. Universal and N.B.C. were the same entities that pioneered the made-for-TV movie (with 1964's See How They Run (1964) (TV), the first full-length film produced especially for home television). The series, "The Name of the Game" (1968), debuted in 1968 with three leads: Franciosa, Gene Barry and Robert Stack. Franciosa subsequently was fired from the show and, instead of being replaced by one actor, was replaced by a series of actors filling in on his rotation including Robert Culp, Peter Falk, Darren McGavin and Robert Wagner.
Studied at the Actors Studio and the New School for Social Research.
Troubled characters made him a Hollywood star in the 1950s and 60s but combative behavior on movie sets hampered his career. In 1957 he served 10 days in the Los Angeles County jail for slugging a press photographer.
Was due to appear as American mob boss Charlie in The Long Good Friday (1980). After accepting the job and flying from Los Angeles to London to film, he was unhappy with some of the rewrites and just returned home. The part was then given to Eddie Constantine.
Was nominated for Broadway's 1956 Tony Award as Best Supporting or Featured Actor (Dramatic) for "A Hatful of Rain," a role he recreated in an Oscar-nominated performance in the film version with the same name, A Hatful of Rain (1957).