Gianni Russo and Michael J. Arbouet at the 2013 Liife Film Fest
Gianni Vito Russo
December 12, 1943
Manhattan, New York, U.S.
Life and career
Russo was born in Manhattan, raised in Little Italy. After reprising the Rizzi character in a brief flashback scene at the end of The Godfather Part II, Russo went on to act in more than 46 movies, including Goodnight, My Love (1972), Lepke (1975, as Albert Anastasia), Laserblast (1978), Chances Are (1989), The Freshman (1990), Side Out (1990), Another You (1991), Super Mario Bros. (1993), Any Given Sunday (1999) and Seabiscuit (2003).
Russo claims that he started a fledgling career in organized crime working as an errand boy and mob associate for Frank Costello as an adolescent but later abandoned the dangerous and volatile lifestyle of organized crime.
Over the years since the beginning of his career, Russo owned a Las Vegas restaurant called Gianni Russo's State Street (closed in 1988), and defeated 23 federal criminal indictments on a variety of charges stemming from alleged organized crime associations.
In 1988, Russo killed a man inside the Las Vegas club and casino he owned. When he tried to intervene to stop a member of the Medellín drug cartel from harassing a female patron, the man stabbed him with a broken champagne bottle. Russo, a legal carry owner, pulled his gun and shot him twice in the head. Russo was not charged with the killing because it was ruled a justifiable homicide. However, when Pablo Escobar heard about the death, he ordered a contract on Russo's life. The Colombian drug lord supposedly only cancelled it when he found out Russo had starred in one of his favourite films The Godfather.
In 2019, he published his memoir, Hollywood Godfather: My Life in the Movies and the Mob. According to his memoir, he was a friend and lover of Marilyn Monroe.
|1972||The Godfather||Carlo Rizzi|
|1974||The Godfather Part II|
|1975||The Four Deuces||Chip Morono - the 'Deuce of Clubs'|
|1989||Chances Are||Anthony Bonino|
|1990||Side Out||Dick Sydney|
|1990||The Freshman||Maitre D' Gourmet Club|
|1991||Out for Justice||Sammy|
|1993||Super Mario Bros.||Scapelli|
|1998||Circles||Howard Thomas as Jeremy's father|
|1999||Any Given Sunday||Christina's Advisor|
|2000||The Family Man||Nick|
|2000||Rope Art||Sen. Bob Krause|
|2001||3000 Miles to Graceland||Money Cart Guard|
|2001||Harvard Man||Andrew Bandolini|
|2001||Rush Hour 2||Red Dragon Pit Boss|
|2004||After the Sunset||Clippers Fan|
|2005||Meet the Mobsters||Paul|
|2013||Send No Flowers||Johnny Pisano|
- Jacobs, Andrew (April 9, 2005). "His Big Break? The Corleones Killed Him; Godfather's Son-in-Law Is Singing, Selling and Enjoying Life". The New York Times. Retrieved March 26, 2008.
- "About Gianni Russo". Gianni Russo. Retrieved July 7, 2018.
- "The Wild Story of the Real-Life Mobster Who Starred in 'The Godfather'". www.vice.com. March 15, 2019.
- "Celebrity Spotlight: The Intriguing Life of Gianni Russo Beyond The Godfather • Italia Living". July 28, 2010.
- "Hollywood Godfather | Gianni Russo | Macmillan". US Macmillan. Retrieved March 20, 2019.