Vincent Schiavelli was born November 10, 1948, in Brooklyn, New York. After graduating from high school, Schiavelli attended New York University's Theater Program for two years. Schiavelli was nicknamed "the man with the sad eyes" because of his droopy eyes with pronounced bags under them. He began his acting career on stage and later appeared in films and TV. His first film appearance was the 1971 movie Taking Off. He later appeared in several Milos Forman films including One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Amadeus, The People vs. Larry Flynt and Man on the Moon. Schiavelli's first TV role came in 1972, on the show The Corner Bar playing the role of Peter Panama. This character was the first gay character on American television. In addition to his acting career, Schiavelli wrote three cookbooks and numerous articles on food for magazines and newspapers. In 2001 he received the James Beard Journalism Award for his efforts. Vincent Schiavelli died of lung cancer on December 26, 2005, in Polizzi Generosa, Sicily.