Antonio Sabato Jnr. is the son of actor Antonio Sabato and was born in Rome in 1972. His family moved to the U.S. when he was 13. He began his career on American television in the series “General Hospital” in 1992. His movies include “Jailbreakers”, “The Big Hit” and “Tribe”.
An Italian-born model-turned-actor, Antonio Sabato, Jr. first dazzled audiences in 1990 with his sexy performance in the Janet Jackson video “Love Will Never Do (Without You).” Off-screen, he fathered a child with then-girlfriend Virginia Madsen, and onscreen proved so popular in the role of the brooding Jagger Cates on “General Hospital” (ABC, 1963- ) that he broke out of daytime to star as Alonzo Solace, a pilot on the sci-fi series “Earth 2” (NBC, 1994-95) and as Heather Locklear’s abusive first husband on “Melrose Place” (Fox, 1992-99). A frequent guest star on various series, Sabato worked steadily in made-for-TV movies and genre projects, including playing an ex-Navy SEAL in “Codename: Wolverine” (Fox, 1996) or starring in the schlocky “Shark Hunter” (2001). He essayed a strong supporting turn as a mysteriously vanished gay man in the indie “Testosterone” (2003), played a personal trainer on the sitcom “The Help” (The WB, 2004) and returned to soap operas, first as a sexy sculptor on “The Bold and the Beautiful” (CBS, 1987- ) before reprising Jagger on “General Hospital: Night Shift” (SOAPnet, 2007-08). He won the reality competition “Celebrity Circus” (NBC, 2008) before earning his own dating show, “My Antonio” (VH1, 2009), which saw women competing for Sabato’s hand as well as the approval of his formidable mother. Although he never achieved an acting role that equaled audiences’ reactions to his beauty, Antonio Sabato Jr. carved out a lengthy acting career with a good-natured, likable self-awareness that only added to his allure.
Born Feb. 29, 1972 in Rome, Italy, Antonio Sabato, Jr. moved to Beverly Hills, CA when he was 13. Blessed with a rugged beauty and a body to match, he went from being a Calvin Klein underwear model to appearing alongside fellow genetic lottery winner Djimon Hounsou in the iconic 1990 Janet Jackson music video “Love Will Never Do (Without You),” directed by Herb Ritts. So powerful and alluring was Sabato’s image onscreen that he springboarded yet again to acting, landing the role of the bad boy with a heart of gold, Jagger Cates, on the perennial soap opera “General Hospital” (ABC, 1963- ). His smoldering character and fabled onscreen relationship with Karen Wexler (Cari Shayne) led to him landing mainstream attention, including a spot on People magazine’s 1993 “50 Most Beautiful People” issue and three Soap Opera Digest Award nominations. His Hollywood stock rising, Sabato played a killer in “Moment of Truth: Why My Daughter?” (NBC, 1993) and graduated from daytime television to play the cocky, gifted pilot Alonzo Solace on the Emmy-nominated sci-fi series “Earth 2” (NBC, 1994-95).
He welcomed a baby with his then-girlfriend, actress Virginia Madsen, in 1994. The actor next notched a short-term role on the influential nighttime soap “Melrose Place” (Fox, 1992-99) as Jack Parezi, the abusive, hot-tempered first husband of Amanda Woodward (Heather Locklear). He went on to play Kellie Martin’s beau in the TV movie “Her Hidden Truth” (NBC, 1995) and then a murderer in the based-on-true-life “If Looks Could Kill: From the Files of ‘America’s Most Wanted'” (Fox, 1996) and toplined as an ex-Navy SEAL in the well-received thriller “Codename: Wolverine” (Fox, 1996). Made-for-TV movies provided Sabato with a plethora of roles, including “The Perfect Getaway” (ABC, 1998) and “Fatal Error” (TBS, 1999), but he also took a supporting role in the Mark Wahlberg/Christina Applegate crime caper “The Big hit” (1998) and continued to accrue TV guest spots, including roles on “Ally McBeal” (Fox, 1997-2002), “The Outer Limits” (Showtime, 1995-2000; Sci Fi, 2001-02) and “Charmed” (The WB, 1998-2006).
Although Sabato worked steadily and was widely recognized, he settled into a lower-tier stardom, appearing most frequently in genre or low-budget projects, including the schlocky creature features “Shark Hunter” (2001) and “Bugs” (USA Network, 2003), as well as the Anna Nicole Smith-inspired oddity “Wasabi Tuna” (2003) and the indie “Testosterone” (2003), which cast Sabato as a mysterious Argentinian whose disappearance inspires his boyfriend to travel to South America. The actor nabbed a series regular role as a personal trainer on the sitcom “The Help” (The WB, 2004) and went on to book a guest spot on the ill-fated “Friends” (NBC, 1994-2004) spin-off “Joey” (NBC, 2004-06) and star in the cheesy terrorism thriller “Crash Landing” (2005). That same year, he returned to soap operas as the sexy Italian sculptor Dante Damiano on “The Bold and the Beautiful” (CBS, 1987- ). Although he earned two Image Award nominations for his work, Sabato was let go from the soap after a year.
His streak of made-for-TV genre films continued, including “Deadly Skies” (Here!, 2007), “Reckless Behavior: Caught on Tape” (Lifetime, 2007), “Destination: Infestation” (Lifetime Movie Network, 2007) and “Ghost Voyage” (Sci Fi Channel, 2008). Sabato also reprised his star-making role of Jagger Cates on “General Hospital: Night Shift” (SOAPnet, 2007-08) before booking guest spots on “NCIS” (CBS, 2003- ), “CSI: NY” (CBS, 2004- ), “Rizzoli & Isles” (TNT, 2010- ), “Bones” (Fox, 2005- ) and “Hot in Cleveland” (TV Land, 2010- ). Although Sabato had appeared on reality TV before, competing on the celebrity-focused “But Can They Sing?” (VH1, 2005) and winning “Celebrity Circus” (NBC, 2008), he starred on his own dating reality show, “My Antonio” (VH1, 2009), in which his mother helped him choose from a bevvy of beauties, including his ex-wife. Apparently the winner did not capture Sabato’s real-life heart, however, since in 2011 he fathered a child with Cheryl Moana Marie Nunes with the impressive name of Antonio Kamakanaalohamaikalani Harvey Sabato III.
By Jonathan Riggs
The above TCM overview can also be accessed online here.