He played the murderous drug lord Alejandro Sosa in the 1983 mobster classic, Scarface. His other credits include Best Seller, The Big Blue, and Raw Deal.
He began acting in local stage productions, and served in the United States Air Force.
His dark features and booming voice made him a popular selection for villain roles, including the unscrupulous Jenner in Don Bluth's The Secret of NIMH.
He was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, as one of four children of Mary Rosella and Eugene Joseph Shenar.
Brian De Palma directed Scarface, the film in which Shenar played a memorable role.