Deerfield man’s looks keeps Hollywood calling
George Manisco, center, reacts to rapper 50 Cent in the Lionsgate film "Setup." - Photo courtesy of Lionsgate Entertainment.
Updated: November 29, 2012 2:58PM
DEERFIELD — Deerfield resident George Manisco has some bragging rights – after all, he did act in a scene opposite Tom Hanks in the 2002 film, “Road to Perdition.” Just last year, Manisco had a speaking role in the Lions Gate film “Setup,” with rapper 50 Cent pointing a gun at him.
Manisco said it takes a lot of guts to go after Hollywood films these days, and that he wasn’t always this outgoing. In fact, in high school, the 62-year-old said he was even too shy to raise his hand in class.
It was an “awkward, bad first date” that got South Side-native thinking about acting.
“It was probably the worst date you’ve ever been on,” Manisco said. “I had taken a girl to either The Colony Theater or The Brighton Theater, and all during the show I was all worried about what I was going to talk to her about, so I didn’t enjoy myself.”
After graduating from high school on Chicago’s North Side, Manisco enrolled at Loyola University and got involved in theater. The rest, he said, was history.
After graduating in 1975, Manisco packed up and headed to California to take a crack at the acting scene, but learned something else about himself: he has quite a business sense.
“When I was out there (California), I was working for a staffing agency,” Manisco said. “When I came back to Chicago in 1984, I kept doing it and in 1991, I said I would start my own business.”
That’s how his employment staffing firm, A.R.M. Search, Inc., named after his mother, Ann Rita Manisco, came to be. Manisco said he now helps major companies, like Walgreens, John Deere and Abbott Laboratories staff I.T. positions.
But being a businessman for more than 20 years isn’t keeping Manisco from pursuing his acting dreams.
“People ask me if acting is a hobby and I tell them it’s just as important as the business, not a hobby,” Manisco said. “I see this as important stuff.”
Manisco said he not only worked with Tom Hanks in “Road to Perdition,” but that he also worked with Hollywood director Sam Mendes, who directed the newly-released James Bond film, “Skyfall.”
Manisco also starred in a short independent film, “Depressing News,” directed by a DePaul University student that won an award for Best Experimental Film in October’s CineYouth Film Festival in Chicago, which is sponsored by the Chicago International Film Festival.
Manisco said it’s his looks that land him most of his roles; he said the directors like him for his “gangster” look.
When he’s not busy meeting with his agents or putting qualified technology professionals to work, Manisco said he is involved in theater. Earlier this year, Manisco said he played the roles of Sam the Attorney and Judge Zagel in the play, “Blagojevich, Blagojevich.” Manisco said he is also working on a nostalgic production for Loyola University’s theater alumni, bringing the university’s Mullady Theatre back to life on March 22.
“They’re not using that theater anymore, so we’re going to produce a show and use a lot of the alumni theater majors,” Manisco said.