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Russo was raised in Rosebank, Staten Island.
He claims to have connections with the mafia and that his uncle was a soldier in the Gambino criminal family. Some rumors say that the Gambinos convinced Francis Ford Coppola to give Russo the role of Carlo Rizzi in The Godfather I. He also comments that his father was a stevedore and musician who worked at the Brooklyn wharf, and he felt ashamed of himself. that his only son was crippled by illness and refused to recognize him during his childhood.
He had a crippled arm as a result of the disease.
He is known for his portrayal of Carlo Rizzi in The Godfather (1972). After repeating his Rizzi role briefly during a flashback scene at the end of The Godfather II, Russo would work on more than 35 films, including The Freshman, Super Mario Bros., Any Given Sunday and Seabiscuit.
Russo claims to have started a career in organized crime working as a messenger and mafia associate for Frank Costello as a teenager, but later abandoned that dangerous and volatile life style.
In his book Supermob, journalist Gus Russo (no apparent kinship) wrote that Gianni Russo got his role in The Godfather by acting as an intermediary between the studio Paramount and the gift of the New York mafia, Joe Colombo Sr., whose Italian anti-defamation League had prevented the start of production of the film in Manhattan. Colombo met with the film’s executive producers who later hired Russo to play Carlo, after Russo had threatened Marlon Brando (who did not want Russo in the role), who he thought was acting and impressed him so much who changed his mind.
Russo claims to have personally met three popes, five US presidents and all the country’s mafia bosses, as well as dating Marilyn Monroe, Zsa Zsa Gabor and Liza Minnelli. Start of his stardom opened a restaurant in Las Vegas called Gianni Russo ‘State Street, he has dated Dionne Warwick for more than a decade and has successfully won 23 federal felony charges in a variety of charges related to organized crime associations. < / p>
He is also an accomplished singer. In 2004 he released an album called Reflections where he honored Dino Paul Crocetti (Dean Martin) and Frank Sinatra.
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