A Sailor's Story: Coxswain Nicholas Colasanto


Coxswain Nicholas Colasanto was born on January 19, 1924, in Providence, Rhode Island. He attended Central High School, leaving early to enlist in the US Navy on January 22, 1943, in response to World War II.

He was assigned to the USS Syncline and deployed to the Mediterranean Sea, supplying fuel to Allied troops in Corsica, Sardinia, Algeria, Italy, and France. Coxswain Nicholas Colasanto returned to Rhode Island after his service in 1945.

Coxswain Colasanto attended college at Bryant College and worked as a construction worker for his tuition. He graduated in 1949 and began working as an accountant.

When he was 28, Coxswain Nicholas Colasanto saw a Peter Fonda performance on Broadway and decided to become an actor. He moved to New York and began performing in Off-Broadway productions and advertisements before moving to Los Angeles in 1965.

Coxswain Nicholas Colasanto took guest roles in Bonanza, Columbo, Swat, and Starsky and Hutch before he landed his final and most well-known role, that of Ernie "Coach" Pantusso on the sitcom Cheers. 

Coxswain Nicholas Colasanto died of a heart attack on February 12, 1985. In his honor, his dressing room portrait of Geronimo would remain behind the bar on the Cheers set for the remaining seasons. Coxswain Nicholas Colasanto rests at St. Ann Cemetery in Cranston, Rhode Island.


a.d. elliott is a wanderer, writer, and photographer currently living in Salem, Virginia. 

In addition to the travel writings at www.takethebackroads.com, you can also read her book reviews at www.riteoffancy.com and US military biographies at www.everydaypatriot.com

Her online photography gallery can be found at shop.takethebackroads.com


Like my page? Please consider supporting my work by visiting my sponsors, my webshop, or by buying me a cup of coffee!