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April 13, 2012     Post-Gazette
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April 13, 2012
 

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POST.GAZETTE, APRIL 13, 2012 Page 5 S i m p I e TIMES. by Girard A. Plante In a recent column, I wrote about Revere native and Italian good fellah John Cazale. For anybody who missed that column, Cazale burst onto Hollywood's big screen while playing Fredo in "The Godfather" and "The Godfather II." Days after that particular issue of the Post-Gazette hit Boston's newsstands; I read an article titled "The Godfa- ther" Cast: Where Are They Now?" The 40 th anniversary article appeared in AOL's welcome page on March 23 ra and provides a fascinating glimpse into the lives of 20 of the central cast of char- acters of the Oscar-winning film. A few of the actors passed away soon after making The Godfather. Most are alive. Some are still thriving in Hollywood or on Broadway. Two claim ties to real-life mob bosses. All shared din- ner with one of the Five Families in New York City toward the close of the film's production in early 1972. And, yes, another actor who played a lesser albeit impor- tant role in The Godfather hails from Massachusetts! I reintroduce you to Las Vegas casino heavy Moe Greene, who met his fate with a bullet in his eye as "The Godfather" neared its end. Born in Cambridge, Alex Rocco (his real name) was raised in Somerville. While auditioning for "The Godfather," Rocco intimated that he knew "real mob guys" in Boston. You see, Alex Rocco was born Alexander Federico Petricone, Jr. to his Italian parents Mary (Di Biase) and Alexander Sam Petricone. Rocco was a shadow member of the Winter Hill Gang, a notorious Boston gang responsible for starting the Boston Irish Gang War of the 1960s. Rocco was detained but never charged in the murder of Bernie McLaughlin of the Irish McLaughlin Gang. Rocco moved to California in 1962. There he preferred being known as Alex Rocco. Before "The Godfather," Rocco played in the 1967 film "The St. Valentine's Day Massacre." He continued playing mob characters in "The Friends of Eddie Coyle" (about the Boston Irish mob}, "Get Shorty" (1995), and "Find Me Guilty" (2006). He also starred as a nice-guy as Jennifer Lopez's domineer- ing dad in "The Wedding Planner" (2001), and per- formed his first voiceover role in the popular animated TV series "The Simpsons." Rocco is a vibrant 76-year- old actor seeking the next big role. In keeping with the 40 th anniversary of the making of "The Godfather," I want to simply share interesting tid- bits about the characters, especially focusing on both Boston area actors Alex Rocco and John Cazale. Most importantly, I desire to impart that the proud and rich history of the Italian heritage is not all about mobsters or the Mafia or the Italian derivation known as La Cosa Nostra. During his early years as governor of New York, Mario M. Cuomo gathered with many other Italians to shoot down the "romanticizing" of the Mafia. He explained that such scurrilous references to Italians were more myth than reality. Cuomo's heartfelt mes- sage in the 1980s, and still today, is that the vast ma- jority of Italian immigrants who left family and familiar- ity of the Old Country behind did so to build a better life for themselves and their families and for future gen- erations. They labored hard, toiled endlessly, lived fru- gally. Each made sacrifces necessary to improve their situations. America became the Ital- ian immigrant's beacon of hope and presented bounti- ful opportunities. Yes, even that meant Hollywood's long line of famous actors (Sophia Loren, Robert DiNiro, A1 Paeino, Lorraine Bracco, and others); Oscar-winning direc- tors (Francis Ford Coppola, Michael Cimino, Martin Scorcese, to name a few). Then the elective public servants: former and long- deceased New York City Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, and Gov. Mario M. Cuomo. United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Both U.S. Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito. Hard work, honorable in- tentions, and disciplined education brought each of these and many more descendants of Italian im- migrants to earn lofty status within their respective careers. Stephen Puleo Book Signing at USS Constitution Museum Historian and author Stephen Puleo will hold a book signing at the USS Con- stitution Museum on Sun- day, April 15, 2012 from 1:30- 3:30 pm. Puleo is the author of A City So Grand: The Rise of an American Metropolis, Boston 1850-1900; The Boston Ital- ians: A Story of Pride, Perse- verance and Paesani, from the Years of the Great Immigration to the Present Day; Due to Enemy Action: The True World War II Story of the USS $ T@Ilm g@MD, IUU Per Ounce! 24K 781-286-CASH 6;ox We Buy Diamonds, GoM and Silver lewelrgWl We Buy Gold and Silver Coins j y-, tX 345 Broadway, Revere Serving the Community for 33 Years sellgoldmass.com Hours 10-5:30pm every day. Saturdays until 3:3O pm Real Estate Matt6o Gallo Appraisals Sales & Rentals 376 North Street * Boston, MA02113 (617) 523-2100 * Fax (617) 523-3530 Red Sox Open Fenway Park to Fans for an Open House in Celebration of its 100 Anniversary Free & Open to-the-public Event Features Autograph Sessions, Special Access Tour of "America's Most Beloved Ballpark" Eagle 56; and Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919. (A City So Grand and Dark Tide will be available for purchase). Stephen is a former award- winning newspaper reporter and contributor of feature stories and book reviews to American History maga- zine and the Boston Globe. Stephen holds a master's degree in history (From Italy to Boston's North End: Italian Immigration and Settlement, 1890-1910, UMass-Boston, 1994), for which he received the Dean's Award for Aca- demic Achievement, and was the Graduate Convoca- tion keynote speaker. He teaches at Suffolk University in Boston. For more details, contact Chris White or Jim Banfield On Thursday, April 19, 2012 from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm Red Sox fans will have an opportunity to explore 100- year-old Fenway Park at their own pace. Fans will have a chance to discover behind-the scenes locations and learn more about the ballpark by following the "Fenway Park: A Living Mu- seum" plaques, displays and historical markers. The Open House will feature a unique presentation of arti- facts, "touching the game" exhibits, and other special presentations. Autograph signings will take place throughout the day as fans have an opportunity to walk the warning track, peek in- side the Green Monster scoreboard and visit other spaces within the ballpark not normally accessible to fans. All ballpark concession stands will be open. The event will take place rain or shine. Fenway Park is located at 4 Yawkey Way, Boston. All Gates will be open for entry. For further details, visit redsox.com/openhouse for more information LUCIJ0000 RISTORANTE & BAR Traditional Italian Cuisine 415 Hanover Street, Boston 617.367.2353 11 MountVernon Street, Winchester 781.729.0515 P,ivot Fundion ]ooms oP anzj Occasion Ch,isleninq B.ic].l Showep B,Lq 5howep Bthh, B+r+ov+m+.t, Etc. Donato Frattaroli donato @ luciaboston.corn www.luciaristorante.corn at 617-426-1812 ext. 122.  /