Hollywood Godfather : My Life in the Movies and the Mob
by Russo, Gianni; Picciarelli, Patrick

1 A Death in Sin City
2 A Childhood Lost
3 The Ambassador, Marilyn Monroe, and My Mafia Education Begins
4 My Involvement in the Crime of the Century
5 The Godfather
6 On the Set of The Godfather: Always Looking to Make a Score
7 Filming The Godfather
8 Markers
9 International Moneyman
10 Pablo Escobar Channels Michael Corleone
11 Sunday Sauce Was Never Like This
12 A Door Closes While Another One Opens and Brando Lives a Nightmare

The mobster-turned-actor best known for his performance in "The Godfather" describes the real-life Mafia experiences that informed his character, from his childhood in Little Italy to his role in the death of a Colombian drug cartel member.

GIANNI RUSSO has appeared in more than thirty movies, been involved in the production of several others, and appeared in numerous TV shows. His most well-known roles include parts in The Godfather: Parts I and II; Goodnight, My Love; Lepke; Laserblast; Chances Are; The Freshman; Side Out; Another You; Super Mario Bros.; Any Given Sunday; The Family Man; Seabiscuit; and Rush Hour 2. His life-long association with organized crime has made him a witness to Mob history. He is also a singer, whose shows are sold out across the country.

PATRICK PICCIARELLI is a retired NYPD Lieutenant, Vietnam veteran and private investigator. He is the author of Street Warrior: The True Story of the NYPD's Most Decorated Detective and the Era That Created Him, and other books. He resides in Pennsylvania.

If Russo's name rings a bell, but you can't figure out why, here's a hint: Carlo Rizzi. Yes, that Carlo Rizzi, the despicable fella who conspired to have Sonny Corleone murdered in The Godfather. Russo played Rizzi in the movie, but he wasn't a professional actor. As he tells us in this intriguing autobiography, he was a real-life mobster and was hired to play Carlo because he was instrumental in brokering a fragile relationship between the filmmakers, who wanted to portray the world of organized crime accurately, and the actual organized criminals, who were concerned about what effect The Godfather might have on their business. Russo tells a fascinating story about how a kid from New York's Little Italy grew up to be a genuine mobster (and actor, singer, and restaurateur). Skeptical readers may wonder if the author is embellishing his life here and there, but it's a hell of a story either way, and Russo comes across as a hell of an interesting guy. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Recounting a life that reads like a narrative for a mob-movie script, a mobster, actor, and Las Vegas presence delivers numerous eye-opening revelations about national and world events.Among the many revelations: The mob likely arranged the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon was mobbed up, and the Vatican has been involved in mob money laundering. Writing with Picciarelli (co-author: Street Warrior, 2017, etc.), Russo weaves all of this among stories about his life, a life that featured an almost Dickensian boyhood: He spent some years in isolation due to polio; someone got killed, too—and not by the disease. Later, Russo became a permanent school truant and, as a teenager, was regularly sleeping with Marilyn Monroe. Eventually, he began to hang out with A-list celebrities, including Brando, Sinatra, and Elvis. He married early and regretted it, then went on to countless relationships with other women before marrying again—more happily, he assures us. But what appears to be his greatest experience was his role as Carlo Rizzi in The Godfather. He devotes some chapters to the film and refers to it continually. That role even saved his life, it seems, when Pablo Escobar, who was having him beaten to death for an infraction, confessed that the film was his favorite and canceled the contract. The author also recounts his numerous roles for the mob. He began as a delivery boy (a role that, in ways, he continued throughout his adult years) before moving on to become an agent in money laundering and a fixture in the Vegas nightlife. Later, distancing himself somewhat from the mob, he played more roles in films and TV and did some writing and producing. He writes that he hopes his life will inspire younger people. Russo is an engaging raconteur, no doubt about it, but skeptics may raise eyebrows—carefully so. Copyright Kirkus 2019 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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