The one major thing that I have noticed is that it’s really hard to keep a career going. This mostly applies to people who have graced either the small screen or the big screen. It seems like it’s difficult to get work in the industry once you have reached a certain age. There is some sizeable amount of actors who manage to get work even in their old age. But most of the time, the work that you get is to play somebody’s grandparent. The older you get, the less opportunities are being offered to you. You may still be able to get to work, but the effects of working long shoot days will take a toll on you.
If your a film buff, you may know Gianni Russo for his role as Carlo Rizzi in the 1972 film “The Godfather.” As somebody who isn’t really that great with keeping up with media made in the last fifty years or so, I haven’t really seen the film. Though I have heard of it. Forgive me for not watching a classic film like “The Godfather.” I just don’t have the attention span to sit and watch a movie with intent. But enough about me, let’s talk about the beginnings of Gianni Russo’s life.
Gianni was born in New York in 1941. It made sense when I reach that he grew up in Little Italy and Staten Island. There’s just a large population of Italian-American people in both of those places. The more I read about what was in his Wikipedia page, the more I sort of get why he got cast in a movie about the don of an organized crime family. Apparently, he claims to have tried to become part of an organized crime family as errand boy for Frank Costello. Eventually he abandoned it? There isn’t any concrete proof to his claims since he apparently said all that while he was promoting his album. More on that later.
Eventually, he got a role in The Godfather after he mediated a dispute between the producers and mob boss Joe Colombo who threatened to shut the movie fearing that it would be slanderous against Italian-Americans because, you know, the mafia. After that he was offered to do a screen test and got the job. He hadn’t really have any kind of acting experience prior to this. But it was this specific role that lead him to get more acting roles.
While he was working as an actor, he managed to start his own restaurant in Las Vegas. Eventually the restaurant closed. He somehow had to battle several federal indictments due to his alleged ties with organized crime. Several, in that he had 23 criminal indictments against him. In 1988, he apparently killed a guy that was harassing a female patron at his bar. The more I read about his life, the more insane I think it is. Apparently, in his stories, he had a lot of different flings with people like Marilyn Monroe and Dionne Warwick. Sometimes there’s a bit that makes me so skeptical of these types of stories.
He had a considerable amount of work in his filmography. Not a lot of films that I am familiar with. Aside from running his own restaurant and bar, Gianna also decided to start his own line of wine? I mean, there are a lot of celebrities who do this so it’s not out of the ordinary. What’s weird is that he had an album. Yes, the kind with songs in it. Listening to a bit of his live performances, his voice isn’t actually half bad. You can definitely hear the Frank Sinatra crooner kind of sound in his performances.
In 2019, he co-wrote a memoir titled “Hollywood Godfather: My Life In the Movies and the Mob”. There’s somehow a rap album that’s based on this memoir that he was involved in? There’s also a podcast where Gianni talks with his co-writer Patrick Picciarelli about his life where Patrick gives some insight as a former law enforcement officer. It’s interesting that they both grew up in the same neighborhood but they never really met there. You never know when your paths would cross. Still, it seems like he has managed to do well for himself to earn a net worth of $1,500,000.