Michael V Gazzo

Actor, Playwright, Screenwriter
A broad-playing, gravel-voiced character player best known as Frankie Pentangeli, capo of the old neighborhood, in "The Godfather, Part II" (1974), Gazzo was also a renowned acting teacher and award-winning playwright ... Read more »
Born: 04/05/1923 in Hillside, New Jersey, USA

Filmography

Actor (26)

L.A. Law 1992 - 1994 (Tv Show)

Actor

Johnny Bago 1992 - 1993 (Tv Show)

Actor

Last Action Hero 1993 (Movie)

Torelli (Actor)

Ring of the Musketeers 1993 (Movie)

Papa (Actor)

Cookie 1989 (Movie)

Carmine (Actor)

Blood Ties 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

Actor

1st & 10 1984 - 1985 (TV Show)

Actor

Fear City 1985 (Movie)

Mike (Actor)

Cannonball Run II 1984 (Movie)

Sonny (Actor)

Body and Soul 1982 (Movie)

Frankie (Actor)

Sizzle 1981 - 1982 (TV Show)

Actor

Back Roads 1981 (Movie)

Tazio (Actor)

Alligator 1979 (Movie)

Police Chief Clark (Actor)

Beach Patrol 1978 - 1979 (TV Show)

Actor

Love and Bullets 1979 (Movie)

Lobo (Actor)

The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh 1979 (Movie)

Harry--Trainer (Actor)

Cuba Crossing 1978 (Movie)

Rosselini (Actor)

Fingers 1978 (Movie)

Ben Angelelli (Actor)

King of the Gypsies 1978 (Movie)

Spiro Giorgio (Actor)

Black Sunday 1977 (Movie)

Muzi (Actor)

The Godfather, Part II 1974 (Movie)

Frankie Pentangeli (Actor)

Beggarman, Thief (TV Show)

Actor

Blood Feud (TV Show)

Actor

Brink's: The Great Robbery (TV Show)

Actor
Writer (2)

King Creole 1958 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

A Hatful of Rain 1957 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Biography

A broad-playing, gravel-voiced character player best known as Frankie Pentangeli, capo of the old neighborhood, in "The Godfather, Part II" (1974), Gazzo was also a renowned acting teacher and award-winning playwright. He began working simultaneously as a stage director and actor at the Great Neck (NY) Playhouse. From 1946-49, while studying at the Dramatic Workshop of the New School for Social Research, he directed several shows and acted in numerous productions, including "The Little Foxes" and "Juno and the Paycock". After graduating, Gazzo began a life-long association with the Actors Studio out of which developed his acclaimed play "A Hatful of Rain" (1955), a portrait of a lower-middle-class man attempting to break his addiction to drugs. It was filmed in 1957, co-written by Gazzo, with a cast that included Don Murray as the addict, Eva Marie Saint as his pregnant wife and Anthony Franciosa (repeating his stage role) as his brother. His second play, "Night Circus", was produced in New York in 1958, with less stellar results. That same year he also wrote "King Creole", a movie starring Elvis Presley.

Gazzo began his film acting career in the 50s with a small role in Elia Kazan's "On the Waterfront", but he turned his attention to writing and teaching until 1971 when he returned to the big screen in "The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight". But few in the movie audience had heard of him until he burst onto the screen as Pentangeli, the subordinate who tells Michael Corleone, "Your father never trusted Hyman Roth" in Francis Ford Coppola's "The Godfather, Part II". Gazzo received an Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actor for his work, and while he would go on to be a kingpin in "King of the Gypsies" (1978), Mike in "Fear City" (1985) and play a memorable role in "The Last Action Hero" (1993), none of his subsequent feature film roles equaled his "Godfather II" impact.

Gazzo was also much in demand on TV, and performed in numerous episodes as well as longforms. Often his parts were of mobsters, such as Salina, the gangster held hostage in "Blood Ties" for Showtime in 1986. He also received much applause for his work in "Brink's: The Great Robbery" (CBS, 1976) and as Marullo in the adaptation of "John Steinbeck's 'The Winter of Our Discontent'" (CBS, 1983).

Relationships

Elvira Gazzo

Mother

Grace Gazzo

Wife
married on July 8, 1944 survived him

Michael Gazzo

Father

Peppi Gazzo

Daughter
survived him

Christopher Gazzo

Son
survived him

Michael Gazzo

Son
survived him

Frank Gazzo

Brother
survived him

Anne Lacouette

Sister
survived him

EDUCATION

Actors Studio

New York , New York

Dramatic Workshop of the New School for Social Research

New York , New York 1949

Milestones

1994

Final film appearance, "Ring of the Musketeers"

1986

Final TV-movie, "Blood Ties" on Showtime

1984

Played recurring role of Henry on "Punky Brewster" (NBC)

1976

TV-movie acting debut, "Brinks: The Great Robbery"

1974

Played Frank Pentangeli in "The Godfather, Part II"; received Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actor

1970

First film acting role in 17 years, "The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight"

1968

TV writing debut, adaptation of "A Hatful of Rain"

1958

Wrote "King Creole" for Elvis Presley

1957

Screenwriting debut, "A Hatful of Rain"; adaptation co-written Alfred Hayes

1955

Debut as playwright, "A Hatful of Rain"

1954

Film acting debut, "On the Waterfront"

1950

TV acting debut, bit part, "Philco Television Playhouse"

1947

NY stage directing debut, "The Dog Beneath the Skin" (co-directed with Alexis Solomas)

1946

Worked as associate director on productions at Great Neck (NY) Playhouse

1946

Stage acting debut, "The Aristocrats"

Played recurring role on "The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd"

Voiced Henry in animated version of "Punky Brewster" (NBC)

Bonus Trivia

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He founded the Gazzo Theatre Workshop in Los Angeles.

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According to accounts, Gazzo was drunk during the key Senate Committee Hearings scene in "The Godfather, Part II," and had to be sobered up in between takes. The role of Pentagenli was created when Richard Castellano demanded more money to repise his "The Godfather" role of Clemenza than Paramount was willing to pay.

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