Stelio Savante was born on 24 April, 1970 and raised in Cape Town, South Africa. He is a South African born New York actor, producer, and writer living in the United States. He is a native English-speaker (Anglo-South African) and fluent in Afrikaans and Greek. In 2007 he became the first male South African born Screen Actors Guild nominee for his recurring role on Ugly Betty.
He graduated from Camps Bay High School in 1988 and relocated from South Africa to the United States when he was offered an international tennis scholarship by the University of West Alabama. He relocated to New York City in 1992 to pursue an acting career.
His prime-time debut came in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit as a Bosnian–Muslim fundamentalist. Directed by Academy Award winner Juan Jose Campanella the episode was also nominated for an Emmy. Further television credits include Law & Order: Criminal Intent, a supporting role on The Sopranos, recurring roles on Guiding Light and All My Children, the role of Dan ‘Schaffy’ Schaffner in Jim Breuer’s pilot for Pulp Comics on Comedy Central and the recurring role of Antonio on Late Night with Conan O’Brien.
In 2006, he relocated to Los Angeles for recurring role of Steve on the prime-time network series, Ugly Betty, produced by Salma Hayek. Stelio appeared in eight episodes and received a Screen Actor’s Guild nomination along with the lead ensemble cast in 2007.
Los Angeles television credits also include a recurring role on My Own Worst Enemy, guest star lead roles in J. J. Abrams’ Undercovers, The Suite Life on Deck, Person of Interest, Without a Trace, Breakout Kings, and NCIS. He portrayed Joe Masseria in the eight part mini-series The Making of the Mob: New York for AMC and David Sarnoff in American Genius for National Geographic.
He received positive reviews for his role in the feature A Million Colors, which played at the Montreal World Film Festival, Pan African Film Festival, Atlantic Film Festival, AFI: New African Films Festival and became the first foreign film to ever open the Hollywood Black Film Festival in 2011, and was also awarded two South African Film and Television Awards.
Savante was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 2010 and has become a vocal advocate for other sufferers.