Once Upon a Time Wiki
Once Upon a Time Wiki
Giancarlo Esposito
Giancarlo Esposito by Gage Skidmore 2.jpg
General Information
Gender: Male
Birthday: April 26, 1958
Age: 63
Hometown: Copenhagen, Denmark
Birthplace: Copenhagen, Denmark
Nationality: Italian
Social Networks: Facebook
Other Information
Height: 5'7½"
Occupation(s): Actor
Education: Elizabeth Seton College in New York
Talents: Acting
Family & Friends
Family: Giovanni Esposito (father)
Elizabeth Foster (mother)
Shayne Lyra (daughter)
Kale Lyn (daughter)
Syrlucia (daughter)
Ruby (daughter)
Relationships: Joy McManigal (ex-wife)
Series Information
Character: Sidney Glass / Magic Mirror / The Genie
First appearance: The Thing You Love Most
Last appearance: The Song in Your Heart

Giancarlo Giuseppe Alessandro Esposito is an American actor. He is best known for his portrayal of Gustavo "Gus" Fring on the AMC shows Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, for which he won the Best Supporting Actor in a Drama award at the 2012 Critics' Choice Television Awards and was nominated for an Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series award at the 2012 Primetime Emmy Awards.

He is well known for his roles in Spike Lee films, such as Do the Right Thing, School Daze, and Mo' Better Blues. Other notable films include Fresh, Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man, The Usual Suspects and King of New York. He has portrayed Sidney Glass/Magic Mirror on ABC's Once Upon a Time and Major Tom Neville in the NBC series Revolution.

View the Giancarlo Esposito Gallery.

Early life

Giancarlo Giuseppe Alessandro Esposito was born in Copenhagen, the son of Giovanni Esposito and Elizabeth Foster. His mother was an African-American opera and nightclub singer from Alabama, and his father was an Italian stagehand and carpenter from Naples. Esposito was raised in Europe until the age of six, when his family settled in Manhattan, New York. He attended Elizabeth Seton College in New York and received a two-year degree in radio and television communications.


Esposito made his Broadway debut (1966) at age 8 playing a slave child opposite Shirley Jones in the short-lived musical Maggie Flynn (1968), set during the New York Draft Riots of 1863.

During the 1980s, Esposito appeared in films such as Taps, Maximum Overdrive, King of New York, and Trading Places. He also performed in TV shows such as Miami Vice and Spenser: For Hire. He played J. C. Pierce, a cadet in the 1981 movie Taps.

In 1988 he landed his breakout role as the leader ("Dean Big Brother Almighty") of the black fraternity "Gamma Phi Gamma" in director Spike Lee's film School Daze, exploring color relations at black colleges. Over the next four years, Esposito and Lee collaborated on three other movies: Do the Right Thing, Mo' Better Blues, and Malcolm X. During the 1990s Esposito appeared in the acclaimed indie films Night on Earth, Fresh and Smoke, as well as its sequel Blue in the Face. He also appeared in the mainstream film Reckless with Mia Farrow, and Waiting to Exhale starring Whitney Houston and Angela Bassett.

Esposito played FBI agent Mike Giardello on the TV crime drama Homicide: Life on the Street. That role drew from both his African American and Italian ancestry. He played this character during the show's seventh and final season. Mike's estranged father, shift lieutenant Al Giardello, is portrayed as subject to racism, something Esposito's character practiced in School Daze. Another multiracial role was as Sergeant Paul Gigante in the television comedy series, Bakersfield P.D. (Fox Broadcasting Company, 1993–94).

In 1997 Esposito played the film roles of Darryl in Trouble on the Corner and Charlie Dunt in Nothing to Lose. Other TV credits include NYPD Blue, Law & Order, The Practice, New York Undercover, and Fallen Angels: Fearless.

Esposito has portrayed drug dealers (Fresh, Breaking Bad, King of New York, Better Call Saul), policemen (The Usual Suspects, Derailed), political radicals (Bob Roberts, Do the Right Thing), and a demonic version of the Greek God of Sleep Hypnos from another dimension (Monkeybone). In 2001, he played Cassius Marcellus Clay, Sr. in Ali, and Miguel Algarín, friend and collaborator of Nuyorican poet Miguel Piñero, in Piñero.

In 2006 Esposito starred in Last Holiday as Senator Dillings, alongside Queen Latifah and Timothy Hutton. Also in 2006, he played an unsympathetic detective named Esposito in the 2005 film, Hate Crime. The film explores homophobia.

Esposito played Robert Fuentes, a Miami businessman with shady connections, on the UPN television series South Beach. He has appeared in New Amsterdam and CSI: Miami. In Feel the Noise (2007), he played ex-musician Roberto, the Puerto Rican father of Omarion Grandberry's character, aspiring rap star "Rob".

He made his directorial debut with Gospel Hill (2008); he also produced the film and starred in it.

New York theatre credits for Esposito include The Me Nobody Knows, Lost in the Stars, Seesaw, and Merrily We Roll Along. In 2008 he appeared on Broadway as Gooper in an African American production of Tennessee Williams' Pulitzer Prize-winning drama Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, directed by Debbie Allen and starring James Earl Jones, Phylicia Rashad, Anika Noni Rose, and Terrence Howard.

From 2009 to 2011, Esposito appeared in seasons 2 through 4 of the AMC drama Breaking Bad, as Gus Fring, the head of a New Mexico-based methamphetamine drug ring. In the fourth season, he was the show's primary antagonist. He received critical acclaim for this role. He won the Best Supporting Actor in a Drama award at the 2012 Critics' Choice Television Awards and was nominated for an Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series award at the 2012 Primetime Emmy Awards, but lost to co-star Aaron Paul.

He appeared in the film Rabbit Hole (2010).

Esposito appeared in the first season of the ABC program Once Upon a Time, which debuted in October 2011. He portrayed the split role of Sidney, a reporter for The Daily Mirror in the town of Storybrooke, Maine, who is the Magic Mirror, possessed by The Evil Queen in a parallel fairy tale world.

Esposito appeared in Revolution as Major Tom Neville, a central character who kills Ben Matheson in the pilot. He escorts a captured Danny to the capital Philadelphia of the Monroe Republic.

Esposito also appeared in Community as a guest star for the episode entitled "Digital Estate Planning". He performed again in the fourth season, in the episode titled "Paranormal Parentage".Esposito has additionally appeared in a video of the action role-playing sci-fi first-person shooter game Destiny, as well as plays The Dentist, a non-playable story character, in the game Payday 2.

He has joined the DC Universe Animated Original Movies series. He played Ra's al Ghul in Son of Batman and Black Spider in Batman: Assault on Arkham. He had a recurring role in the first season of The Get Down on Netflix. In 2017, Esposito reprised his role as Gus Fring in the Breaking Bad prequel series, Better Call Saul. In the show's second season, an anagram of the first letters of every episode name spelled out "FRING'S BACK", which was revealed to be intentional by showrunners Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould. Esposito appeared in a teaser for the third season portraying Gus as the Los Pollos Hermanos owner, officially confirming Esposito's involvement in season 3.

Personal life

Esposito married Joy McManigal in 1995; they later divorced. He has four daughters.


Year Title Type Role
1970 Et Salammbo? Short
1979 Running Puerto Rican Teenager
1979 Tutti a squola
1980 The Changeling Extra (uncredited)
1981 The Gentleman Bandit TV Movie Jamie
1981 Taps J.C. Pierce
1982 Another World TV Series Willie Armstrong
1982-1983 Guiding Light TV Series Clay Tynan
1982 - 1984 Sesame Street TV Series Mickey
1983 Trading Places Cellmate #2
1983 Enormous Changes at the Last Minute Julio
1984 The Brother from Another Planet Man Being Arrested (uncredited)
1984 The Cotton Club Bumpy Hood
1984 Go Tell It on the Mountain Elisha
1984 - 1985 Miami Vice TV Series Adonis Jackson / Ricky / Luther
1985 CBS Schoolbreak Special TV Series Kyle
1985 Finnegan Begin Again TV Movie Intruder
1985 Desperately Seeking Susan Street Vendor
1985 - 1986 American Playhouse TV Series Simon Fernandes / Elisha
1986 Rockabye TV Movie Marcus
1986 Maximum Overdrive Videoplayer
1986 The Equalizer TV Series Jumpin' Jack
1987 Sweet Lorraine Howie
1987 Heartbeat Video Gang Member #1
1987 Spenser: For Hire TV Series Ramos
1987 Leg Work TV Series Tyson
1988 School Daze Julian 'Big Brother Almighty' Eaves
1989 Do the Right Thing Buggin Out
1990 King of New York Lance
1990 Mo' Better Blues Left Hand Lacey (Piano)
1990 Lifestories TV Series Julio
1991 Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man Jimmy Jiles
1991 Night on Earth YoYo (segment "New York")
1992 Bob Roberts Bugs Raplin
1992 Malcolm X Thomas Hayer
1993 Relentless: Mind of a Killer TV Movie Arthur Sistrunk
1993 American Experience TV Series documentary Dr. Kenneth Clark
1993 Amos & Andrew Reverend Fenton Brunch
1993 Seven Songs for Malcolm X Documentary Autobiography Reading (voice)
1993 - 1994 Bakersfield P.D. TV Series Detective Paul Gigante
1994 Fresh Esteban
1994 Benders Jack
1995 The Usual Suspects Jack Baer
1995 Smoke OTB Man #1, Tommy
1995 Blue in the Face Tommy Finelli
1995 Reckless Host Tim Timko
1995 The Keeper Paul Lamont
1995 New York Undercover TV Series Adolfo Guzman
1995 Fallen Angels TV Series Paris Minton
1995 Waiting to Exhale David Matthews (uncredited)
1995 Klash Stoney
1996 Chicago Hope TV Series Cherchez LaFemme
1996 Mylène Farmer: California Video short Rich Man / Pimp
1996 Swift Justice TV Series Andrew Coffin
1996 Living Single TV Series Jackson Turner
1996 The Tomorrow Man TV Movie Jonathan Driscoll
1996 - 1998 NYPD Blue TV Series Jamaal / Ferdinand Hollie
1996 - 1999 Nash Bridges TV Series Arnold / Gordon Keller / Whip Tyrell
1996 - 2005 Law & Order TV Series Rodney Fallon / Mr. Baylor
1997 Nothing to Lose Charlie Dunt
1997 Loose Women Stylist #2
1997 Five Desperate Hours TV Movie Joseph Grange
1997 Trouble on the Corner Darryl
1997 Big City Blues Georgie
1997 The People Anthony Rivera
1997 The Maze Henry Kunitz
1998 The Hunger TV Series Vampire
1998 Twilight Reuben Escobar
1998 Creature TV Mini-Series Lt. Thomas Peniston / Werewolf
1998 Phoenix Louie
1998 Lulu on the Bridge Black (DVD deleted scene) (uncredited)
1998 Where's Marlowe? Blind Man (uncredited)
1998 Naked City: Justice with a Bullet TV Movie Chaz Villanueva
1998 Thirst TV Movie Dr. Lawrence Carver
1998 Stardust Mr. Peavey
1998 - 1999 Homicide: Life on the Street TV Series Mike Giardello
2000 Homicide: The Movie TV Movie Officer Mike Giardello
2000 Touched by an Angel TV Series Antonio Gaudi
2000 Josephine Spike
2000 - 2001 The $treet TV Series Tom Divack
2001 Monkeybone Hypnos
2001 Strong Medicine TV Series James 'Junior' Bell
2001 Piñero Miguel Algarin
2001 Ali Cassius Clay, Sr.
2001 100 Centre Street TV Series Jacob Lenz
2002 The Practice TV Series Ray McMurphy
2002 Third Watch TV Series Father Romero
2002 A Nero Wolfe Mystery TV Series Ambassador Theodore Kelefy
2002 Girls Club TV Series Nicholas Hahn
2003 Ash Tuesday Karl
2003 The Division TV Series Dr. Pembroke
2003 Lucky TV Series Lord Marion
2003 Street Time TV Series Jesse Haslim
2003 Blind Horizon J.C. Reynolds
2004 Noise Hank
2004 Half & Half TV Series Darrell Washington
2004 Soul Food TV Series Jules
2004 5ive Days to Midnight TV Mini-Series Tim Sanders
2004 Doing Hard Time Video Captain Pierce
2004 A Killer Within Vargas
2004 NYPD 2069 TV Movie Lt. Garner
2005 Hate Crime Detective Esposito
2005 Chupacabra Terror Video Dr. Peña
2005 I Will Avenge You, Iago! Director
2005 Law & Order: Trial by Jury TV Series Orlando Ramirez
2005 Back in the Day Benson Cooper
2005 Carlito's Way: Rise to Power Video Little Jeff
2005 Derailed Detective Church
2006 Last Holiday Senator Dillings
2006 Sherrybaby Parole Officer Hernandez
2006 South Beach TV Series Robert Fuentes
2006 Ghost Whisperer TV Series Ely Fisher
2006 Bones TV Series Richard Benoit
2006 Rain Ken Arnold
2006 Dr. Vegas TV Series
2006 Las Vegas TV Series Reggie Archibald
2006 - 2008 CSI: Miami TV Series Chief Braga
2007 Kidnapped TV Series Vance
2007 Racing Daylight Fred / Drifter
2007 The Box Det. Dwayne Burkhalter
2007 Feel the Noise Roberto
2007 Mano Short Nino
2008 New Amsterdam TV Series Special Agent James Lawson
2008 Gospel Hill Dr. Palmer
2008 Xenophobia TV Movie Young
2009 - 2011 Breaking Bad TV Series Gustavo 'Gus' Fring
2010 Leverage TV Series Alexander Moto
2010 Rabbit Hole Auggie
2010 Lie to Me TV Series Beau Hackman
2010 Detroit 1-8-7 TV Series Eddie Henderson
2011 S.W.A.T.: Firefight Video Inspector Hollander
2011 Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior TV Series Gordon Ramirez
2011 Dreaming American Short Daytona LeMans
2011 Certainty Father Heery
2011 - 2017 Once Upon a Time TV Series Sidney Glass / Magic Mirror / The Genie
2012 NYC 22 TV Series Harvey Williams
2012 Alex Cross Daramus Holiday
2012 - 2013 Community TV Series Gilbert Lawson
2012 - 2014 Revolution TV Series Tom Neville
2013 Over/Under TV Movie Oliver Ohrt
2013 Revolution: Enemies of the State TV Mini-Series Lt. Tom Neville
2013 Axe Cop TV Series Army Chihuahua
2013 Payday 2 Video Game The Dentist (voice)
2013 They Die by Dawn Isom Dart
2013 Timms Valley TV Series Pruit Normings
2014 30 for 30 TV Series documentary Narrator
2014 Son of Batman Video Ra's al Ghul (voice)
2014 Batman: Assault on Arkham Video Black Spider (voice)
2014 Poker Night Bernard
2015 Allegiance TV Series Oscar Christoph
2015 Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials Jorge
2015 Drunk History TV Series Andrés Pico
2015 I Did Not Forget You Short Dr. Sabian
2016 The Pills: Sempre meglio che lavorare il Boss
2016 The Jungle Book Akela (voice)
2016 Money Monster Captain Powell
2016 Brother Nature Congressman Frank McClaren
2016 - 2017 The Get Down TV Series Pastor Ramon Cruz
2017 The Show Mason Washington
2017 Stuck Lloyd
2017 Rebel TV Series Charles Gold
2017 Okja Frank Dawson
2017 Better Call Saul: Los Pollos Hermanos Employee Training TV Mini-Series Gus Fring
2017 MFKZ Mr. K (English version, voice)
2017 - 2019 Dear White People TV Series Narrator
2017 - 2020 Better Call Saul TV Series Gustavo 'Gus' Fring
2018 Maze Runner: The Death Cure Jorge
2018 Westworld TV Series El Lazo
2018 Dallas & Robo TV Series Victor Goldsmith
2019 The Boys TV Series Stan Edgar
2019 Jett TV Series Charlie Baudelaire
2019 Creepshow TV Series Doc (segment "Gray Matter")
2019 Line of Duty Volk
2019 Coda Paul
2019 Godfather of Harlem TV Series Congressman Powell
2019 The Mandalorian TV Series Moff Gideon
2019 The Long Home
2019 - 2020 Harley Quinn TV Series Lex Luthor
2020 Stargirl (post-production) Archie Brubaker
2020 Da 5 Bloods (post-production)


  • His mother was an American opera singer and his father was a stagehand and carpenter from Naples, Italy.
  • His mother was doing a nightclub gig on a split bill with Josephine Baker in Copenhagen, Denmark, around the time he was born.
  • Lived in Europe, New York City, and Cleveland until he; his older brother, Vincent; and their parents moved to Manhattan when Giancarlo was six. During the boys' teens, the family lived in Elmsford in Westchester County, New York.
  • Is a member of the Atlantic Theater Ensemble, the theater company started by David Mamet and William H. Macy.
  • Won Obie Awards for his performances in "Zooman and the Sign" (1981) and "Distant Fires" (1993).
  • Was a member of the dramatic jury at the 1997 Sundance Film Festival.
  • Was one of the chorus of children who sang the theme song of The Electric Company (1971).
  • Is a supporter of Mumia Abu Jamal and participated in the 2012 documentary Mumia: Long Distance Revolutionary (2012).
  • Giancarlo Esposito and Aaron Paul appeared together many years before Breaking Bad (2008) on Ghost Whisperer: Fury (2006).
  • He was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6351 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California, on April 26, 2014.
  • Fluent in Italian and Spanish.
  • For a while in New York City, he was a roommate of Laurence Fishburne.
  • He played a slave child when he was eight - it was his fist exposure to the entertainment industry.
  • He was a guest star in the NBC cult sitcom Community as the half-brother of Chevy Chase's character Pierce Hawthorne.
  • He married Joy McManigal in 1995. He has four daughters named Syrlucia, Kale Lyn, Shayne Lyra, and Ruby Esposito.
  • He acted alongside Nicole Kidman in the 2010 film Rabbit Hole.