A burly, but handsome, supporting player whose gruff exterior lent itself to tough characters with an underlying sentimentality, actor Robert Pastorelli overcame personal hardships to become a prominent fixture in both films and television. A New Jersey native and former boxer, his most challenging bout was a harrowing struggle with drug addiction. He later pursued a career in the New York theater, and initial stage roles in Rebel Without a Cause and Death of a Salesman led to an interest in films. He headed for Hollywood in 1982, and was a natural as rough-and-tumble characters on such popular TV shows as Cagney and Lacey, Hill Street Blues, and Newhart. In 1984, he made his movie debut with a small role in the made-for-TV feature I Married a Centerfold. Roles in Outrageous Fortune and Beverly Hills Cop II (both 1987) followed, and, in 1988, Pastorelli began a seven-year stint as Candice Bergen's housepainter on the popular sitcom Murphy Brown (for which he would earn an Emmy nomination). Two years later, he was cast in his most substantial big-screen role to date when he appeared as Kevin Costner's disheveled traveling companion in the epic Western Dances With Wolves, a performance which got Pastorelli more screen work in the '90s, including roles in such releases as Sister Act 2 (1993), Eraser (1996), and Michael (1996). In 1997 Pastorelli essayed a rare lead by taking the lead in the shortlived stateside adaptation of the popular UK mystery series Cracker. In later years, Pastorelli was increasingly active on the small screen with roles in such made-for-TV features as The Ballad of Lucy Whipple (2001), South Pacific (2001), and Women vs. Men (2002). He made a return to feature territory in 2004 with a supporting role in the eagerly anticipated Get Shorty sequel, Be Cool. Though Pastorelli's career had been experiencing a bit of a surge thanks to such projects as Be Cool, fans were dismayed when the actor was found dead in his Hollywood Hills home of a suspected drug overdose.