Gianni Russo

Description   [from Freebase]

Louis Giovanni "Gianni" Russo (born December 12, 1943, in Brooklyn, New York) is an American actor and singer. Russo was raised in Rosebank, Staten Island. He claims that he has Mafia connections and that his uncle was a soldier in the Gambino crime family. There are claims that the Gambinos persuaded Francis Ford Coppola to cast Russo as Carlo Rizzi in the 1972 movie The Godfather. According to Russo, his father was a longshoreman and a musician who worked at the Brooklyn waterfront who was ashamed his only son was crippled from polio and refused to acknowledge him during his early childhood. He suffered from a "gimp arm" as a result of the disease. 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 35 movies, including The Freshman, Super Mario Bros., Any Given Sunday, and Seabiscuit. 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.
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