With a singularly nebulous background, which, by his account, included stints as a Las Vegas nightclub emcee, radio personality, and jewelry tycoon, and comparatively little acting experience, Gianni Russo won the role of Carlo Rizzi in The Godfather (1972) on the basis of his screen test. Since then, Russo has remained busy as an actor, mostly playing assorted "wiseguys" and Mafia types. He was appeared again with Marlon Brando in a small role in The Freshman (1990) in which Brando parodied his Don Corleone role to good effect.IMDb Mini Biography By: Bob Sorrentino
He suffered from polio as a child.
Had a 12-year relationship with singer/actress Dionne Warwick.
Recently was filmed on the reality TV show "Growing Up Gotti" (2004), where he was revealed to be the secret admirer of Victoria Gotti. After sending her roses, Ms. Gotti's assistant secretly meets with Gianni and screens him for a surprise. There he reveals his The Godfather (1972) role. Later, Victoria is mortified when she is taken to a restaurant where Gianni is performing songs from a new CD, and leaves the restaurant.
Appeared in The Godfather (1972), which was the first films to have a sequel that won the Best Picture Oscar. This feat was only accomplished by two subsequent films: The Silence of the Lambs (1991) (sequel to Manhunter (1986)), and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003). Russo later appeared in Red Dragon (2002), a remake of Manhunter (1986), under the novel's original title.
After gaining his debut role in "The Godfather", Russo hinted to journalists that he had used real-life Mafia connections to get the part. Author Mario Puzo poured scorn on this claim, saying that if he really had done this, he would have been murdered for revealing the fact.
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