Full Name: Donald Joseph Cotrona
Date of Birth: May 23, 1980
Place of Birth: Wallingford, Connecticut, USA
Eye Color: Dark brown
Hair Color: Black
Height: 5′ 10½” (1.79 m)
Donald Joseph Cotrona was born in Wallingford, Connecticut. He took pre-law courses at Northeastern University in Boston, but quickly realized he was majoring in the wrong subject. Cotrona made his escape from law studies during his second year, while visiting a friend in Los Angeles. He never returned from L.A. and decided to pursue acting instead.
His acting career had a slow start. He initially tried out for The O.C. and when that didn’t work, he landed a role on the television show, Skin, in 2003 when he was in his early twenties. Unfortunately, the show was cancelled after only three episodes, leaving Cotrona without his starring-role break. A couple of years later, he managed to land parts in two films, Venom (2004) and Love is the Drug (2005), followed by a starring role as Sean on the NBC series, Windfall, in 2006.
Shortly after that, he was approached for the role of Superman in a Justice League movie alongside Adrian Brody. However, the movie was grounded before filming even began, falling victim to the writer’s strike of 2007 to 2008. Despite over a year of work trying to salvage the project, it was never made, much to Cotrona’s disappointment.
His next big screen appearance wasn’t until Dear John (2010). The romantic drama was a departure from Cotrona’s earlier horror movie roles and provided him with a key contact in his new friend, Channing Tatum. In 2011, after briefly starring on the show, Detroit 1-8-7, he was offered the role of the rebellious Flint in G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013) alongside Tatum, also starring Bruce Willis and Dwayne Johnson. The role has allowed Cotrona to reconnect with his childhood fondness for G.I. Joes and has provided him with a monumental opportunity—and possibly the break he needed.
In 2013, he was cast as criminal, Seth Gecko, in the TV adaptation of the 1996 cult film, From Dusk Till Dawn for El Rey Network.
He has a complex ethnic background. D.J.’s paternal grandfather was of Italian descent, and D.J.’s paternal grandmother had German and Austro-Hungarian ancestry. D.J.’s maternal grandfather was of half Italian and half Polish descent, and D.J.’s maternal grandmother was of half British Isles/English and half Polish ancestry. Thus, D.J. is of three eighths Italian, and one quarter Polish, ancestry, with the rest of his heritage including German, Austro-Hungarian, and English.