skip navigation
Michael V. Gazzo

Michael V. Gazzo

| VIEW ALL

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here
ADD YOUR COMMENT>

share:

TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (0)

Recent DVDs

 
 

The Godfather: Part II - The Coppola... The Saga Continues As Never Seen Before!In what is undeniably one of the best... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now

Back Roads DVD This absorbing romantic drama is full of humor and first-rate performances.... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now

Cookie DVD Here’s the recipe. Start with a Grade-A cast (Peter Falk, Dianne Wiest, Emily... more info $17.99was $17.99 Buy Now

The Godfather: Part II - The Coppola... MORE > $17.99 Regularly $17.99 Buy Now blu-ray

The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh... MORE > $13.99 Regularly $17.99 Buy Now blu-ray

Also Known As: Michael Vincente Gazzo Died: February 14, 1995
Born: April 5, 1923 Cause of Death: complications after a stroke
Birth Place: Hillside, New Jersey, USA Profession: actor, playwright, director, screenwriter, acting teacher, machinist

Biography CLOSE THE FULL 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...

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).

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Last Action Hero (1993) Torelli
2.
 Ring of the Musketeers (1993) Papa
3.
 Cookie (1989) Carmine
4.
 Blood Ties (1986) Joseph Salina
5.
 Fear City (1985) Mike
6.
 Cannonball Run II (1984) Sonny
8.
 Body and Soul (1982) Frankie
9.
 Sizzle (1981) Tripoli
10.
 Back Roads (1981) Tazio
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1946:
Stage acting debut, "The Aristocrats"
1946:
Worked as associate director on productions at Great Neck (NY) Playhouse
1947:
NY stage directing debut, "The Dog Beneath the Skin" (co-directed with Alexis Solomas)
1950:
TV acting debut, bit part, "Philco Television Playhouse"
1954:
Film acting debut, "On the Waterfront"
1955:
Debut as playwright, "A Hatful of Rain"
1957:
Screenwriting debut, "A Hatful of Rain"; adaptation co-written Alfred Hayes
1958:
Wrote "King Creole" for Elvis Presley
1968:
TV writing debut, adaptation of "A Hatful of Rain"
1971:
First film acting role in 17 years, "The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight"
1974:
Played Frank Pentangeli in "The Godfather, Part II"; received Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actor
1976:
TV-movie acting debut, "Brinks: The Great Robbery"
1984:
Played recurring role of Henry on "Punky Brewster" (NBC)
:
Voiced Henry in animated version of "Punky Brewster" (NBC)
:
Played recurring role on "The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd"
1986:
Final TV-movie, "Blood Ties" on Showtime
1994:
Final film appearance, "Ring of the Musketeers"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Actors Studio: New York , New York -
Dramatic Workshop of the New School for Social Research: New York , New York - 1949

Notes

He founded the Gazzo Theatre Workshop in Los Angeles.

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.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Grace Gazzo. Married on July 8, 1944; survived him.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Michael Basile Gazzo. Bartender.
mother:
Elvira Gazzo.
sister:
Anne Lacouette. Survived him.
brother:
Frank Gazzo. Survived him.
daughter:
Peppi Gazzo. Survived him.
son:
Michael Gazzo. Survived him.
son:
Christopher Gazzo. Survived him.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.

Click here to contribute