Of Italian and Norwegian descent, Joe's birth name was Joseph Angelo D'Alessandro III. He was born in Pensacola Florida, to Joe Sr., an 18 year old Italian-American sailor, stationed at the local Naval base, and his wife, 16 year old Thelma Testman.
Joe Sr. had married Thelma when she was 14 years old. One year later in New York City they gave birth to Joe's brother, Robert (Bob) who would later play a small part in Trash and work for Warhol as a chauffeur.
At the age of sixteen, Dallesandro was sentenced to a New York state rehabilitation center for boys after stealing a car and being shot by a police officer while trying to escape. In 1965, Dallesandro ran away from the camp, supporting himself by nude modeling, appearing most notably in films and photos for Bob Mizer.
In an interview Joe said he never said anything much to Andy Warhol except "Good morning," or "Thank you," when he got his check for being Andy's doorman and bodyguard. He didn't specify his complete duties as Andy's bodyguard, however. Joe said he did not care for Andy, although he got along somewhat better with Paul Morrisey who did not rip him off quite so badly as Andy did.
In 1967, Dallesandro happened upon Paul Morrissey and Andy Warhol filming Four Stars , and the men cast him in the film on the spot. After that, Dallesandro appeared in The Loves of Ondine and then Flesh (1968), in which he had several nude scenes. Flesh achieved some crossover success and Dallesandro's underground fame grew into mainstream visibility.
Joe had it all over most actors in the pure animal appeal department, as he did just about every man alive. He had a larger talent than most movie hunks with bigger careers. But Joe went off to Europe and became a sensational star. He also made a few dozen movies there, some with major directors.
Joe's movies are becoming increasingly available, even the foreign ones, now that the public and the critics are discovering that he had remarkable film presence along with his other spectacular qualities. Now he's all over the net, with even his very own fan club and all. So he is hardly the "forgotten lover" of Warhol. Indubitably he is, or was, a whore, however.
Joe is bisexual, and has two grown-up sons, Joe Jr. and Michael, lived for years with a fabulous male drag queen hair stylist in Hollywood, but was also very much married to a woman. His career has had its ups and downs; for a while in the 1980s he earned a living driving a taxi.
Joe, after a very hard time, seems to have found a fresh start in his life in his new marriage to Kim. Furthermore, Joe Jr. moved to Pennsylvania, got married and had his first child (a boy) in September 2007, making Joe a proud grandpa! Joe and Joe Jr. seem to have finally formed the close bond that Joe had yearned for. Hopefully, Joe's relationship with Michael will follow the same.
Joe Dallesandro is now semi-retired; he lives with his wife in Los Angeles.