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Joe Pantoliano

Emmy Award-Winning Actor & Film Producer
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Biography

"No kidding. Me too!" These are the words actor and director Joe Pantoliano has heard many times in his conversations with others about mental illness. Making them his rallying cry, he has launched the non-profit No Kidding, Me Too!, which works to promote education and awareness with the hope of removing the stigma that surrounds mental illness.

An award-winning actor, “Joey Pants” is known for his tough-guy roles in Memento and The Sopranos. But it was his role as a father dealing with his wife's mental illness in 2006's Canvas that inspired him to face his own clinical depression and his childhood growing up with a mother who was bipolar. In response, he authored two memoirs: Who’s Sorry Now: The True Story of a Stand-Up Guy and 2012’s Asylum: Hollywood Tales from My Great Depression.

Making it his life’s calling to help others, Pantoliano has become an outspoken advocate for mental health awareness. He encourages audiences to take action and become more knowledgeable about mental illness—including its symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment. Through No Kidding, Me Too!, he directed the powerful documentary Hope's Messengers, which presents an honest, empowering portrayal of those living with mental illness.

With courage, humor, and compassion, Joe Pantoliano has put a face on the mental health issue. Speaking in his no-nonsense style, he shares the experiences that have fueled his craft and creativity while offering hope to those affected by mental illness.

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A Tough Guy Battles Back

Joe Pantoliano has been grappling with clinical depression for over a decade. Before diagnosed, the actor, widely known as “Joey Pants,” would put on his “Joey” facade to be part of the solution, not the problem, for the 15 weeks on a movie set. But coming home, he’d crawl under the sheets feeling like his “heart was paralyzed.”

Post diagnosis, Pantoliano felt shrouded in the stigma that surrounds depression when he couldn’t get health coverage on movie sets for fear he might have a nervous breakdown. It was then he realized he couldn’t have the luxury of being anonymous with mental illness.

Today he advocates for the recognition that “the brain does not have the same equal rights as the liver or the kidney or the gall bladder,” he said. But it should. In an uplifting, funny, and clever presentation, Pantoliano shares his own personal story of living with depression, inspiring others with his commentary, “I’ve got it. I’m functioning. My life is better for it.”

Stomp the Stigma of Mental Illness

Who's Sorry Now: The True Story of a Stand-Up Guy

Asylum: Hollywood Tales from My Great Depression

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