Joseph Michael “Joe” Manganiello (/ˌmæŋɡəˈnɛloʊ/ MANG-gə-NEL-oh; Italian pronunciation: [maŋɡaˈnjɛllo]; born December 28, 1976) is an American actor, director, producer, author and philanthropist.
Manganiello was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the son of Susan (née Brachanow; Bračanov in Croatian), of Armenian, Austrian, and Croatian descent, and Charles John Manganiello, of Italian descent, from Sicily. He was raised in Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania. He has a younger brother, Nicholas. He was a student at St. Bernard School, a Roman Catholic elementary school in Mt. Lebanon, and then attended Mt. Lebanon High School, where he graduated with honors in 1995 and won the school’s Great Alumni Award in 2011. Growing up, he was the captain of his football, basketball, and volleyball teams and went on to play at the varsity level in all three sports. He won the role of Jud Fry in his school’s senior year production of Oklahoma!, and was involved with the school’s TV studio. He would borrow equipment to make films with his friends, and became interested in acting to become a better filmmaker.
After a series of sports injuries, including a torn MCL returning a kickoff in a varsity football game against Ringgold High School, Manganiello auditioned for the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama as a senior in high school. He was not accepted, so he enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh and worked at theater. He reapplied to Carnegie Mellon a year later, and was one of 17 students accepted into the acting program. He performed in theater productions and wrote, produced, and acted in a student film entitled Out of Courage 2: Out for Vengeance. He graduated in 2000 with a BFA in acting. He traveled to New York and Los Angeles through his university to participate in group auditions, which provided him contacts in the entertainment business.
While a student at Carnegie Mellon University, Manganiello appeared in numerous productions in Pittsburgh’s theatre scene, including Ulfheim in Henrik Ibsen’s When We Dead Awaken, Lorenzo in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice for Quantum Theatre, and Joe in the Pittsburgh premiere of The Last Night of Ballyhoo. He moved to Los Angeles, California after graduating from Carnegie Mellon. He quickly signed with a talent agent, and three days later, he auditioned for the role of Peter Parker in the Sam Raimi-directed film Spider-Man (2002). He landed the role of Eugene “Flash” Thompson, Peter Parker’s nemesis, as his first acting job out of college. He reprised the role several years later, making a brief cameo at the end of Spider-Man 3 (2007).
Manganiello began finding work in television, playing Tori Spelling’s boyfriend on VH1’s So Notorious in 2006, and guest starred on Las Vegas, Jake in Progress, and Close to Home. That year, he also played an Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor in the CBS television pilot Edison. In 2007, he appeared in the Scrubs episode “My No Good Reason” and in the MyNetwork TV nighttime soap opera American Heiress. He also played Officer Litchman, the love interest to Linda Cardellini’s character, for a four-episode arc on NBC’s ER. He played “The Chick Magnet” in May 2007 at the New York City premiere of Skirts & Flirts, a monologue by Gloria Calderon Kellett, which was a finalist for HBO’s Aspen Comedy Festival. He played Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire for the West Virginia Public Theatre in 2008, directed by his former Carnegie Mellon professor Geoffrey Hitch.
He starred as Leo Belraggio, a New York jazz musician, in the west coast premiere of Terrence McNally’s Unusual Acts of Devotion in June 2009. The play was staged at the La Jolla Playhouse at the University of California in San Diego. He worked with the noted playwright and director Leonard Foglia while creating his role in 2008 at the Ojai Playwrights Conference. He played Brad on several seasons of the CBS comedy How I Met Your Mother. In 2008, he joined the cast of The CW drama One Tree Hill for its fifth season, playing bartender Owen Morello. He shot the series in Wilmington, North Carolina, and returned for its sixth and seventh seasons.
Manganiello played Stu on the Fox sitcom ‘Til Death for two episodes, and starred in the short film Wounded that year, which he originated on the stage and won Best Short Film at the 2011 Big Island Film Festival. He starred in the direct-to-video war film Behind Enemy Lines: Colombia in 2009. He played Lt. Sean Macklin, a Navy SEAL squad leader. In order to add authenticity to the production, he trained for several months with a former Navy SEAL, for whom he paid to come to the set and stay in the cast’s hotel. The film was shot in Puerto Rico. He appeared in an episode of Medium in 2009, and has guest starred on all three series of CBS’s CSI television franchise (CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CSI: Miami, and CSI: NY). He had a role in the independent film Irene in Time. In 2010, he appeared in television commercials for Taco Bell, promoting its new product. He shot television pilots for 100 Questions and the Pittsburgh-set sitcom Livin’ on a Prayer.
Manganiello plays werewolf Alcide Herveaux in HBO’s True Blood, starting from the third season. His work on the show brought him both popular and critical recognition, including the 2011 Scream Award for Breakout Performance – Male and a shared award for Best Ensemble, as well as a Saturn Award for Best Guest Starring Role in Television and a NewNowNext Award. True Blood was his favorite television show before he joined the cast. He had originally auditioned to play Coot, another werewolf in the series, but was asked to read for Alcide instead. He grew a beard and trained for five months to add muscle for the role. He also got a suntan to set himself apart from the other characters on the series and spent time studying live wolves.
In early 2011, Manganiello was asked to screen test for the title role of Superman in Man of Steel. Due to scheduling problems with True Blood, he was forced out of the running in the final stage. He told Access Hollywood in an interview: “They wanted me to screen test and they actually asked for my measurements for the suit and everything… their shoot date switched and it would have taken up 11 weeks out of my True Blood schedule. At the end of the day, we couldn’t get the schedule to work so that I could go off and screen test. So, regrettably, I never got to screen test, I never got to put the suit on.” Upon completion of filming for season four of True Blood, he shot an episode of USA’s White Collar, and then shot the film adaptation of the best selling book What To Expect When You’re Expecting.
Manganiello later returned to Los Angeles to shoot an episode of Two and a Half Men with Ashton Kutcher. He then re-teamed with Matt Bomer, and co-starred in the film Magic Mike, the story of a young stripper in Tampa, Florida, played by actor Channing Tatum.
In August 2016, test footage of Slade Wilson / Deathstroke on the set of some unnamed film was posted to Twitter by Ben Affleck. Affleck is signed on as director, co-producer, co-writer, and star of the upcoming DC Extended Universe, Untitled Batman reboot. In September 2016, Geoff Johns who was DC Comics’ President and CCO, and is signed on to both Co-run the DCEU, and co-write/co-produce the solo Batman film with Affleck confirmed that Deathstroke will appear in the shared film universe, with Manganiello portraying the character. It has since been confirmed that he will appear in the Ben Affleck Batman movie.