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Stories of a Sicilian Son: Al Pacino

Updated on August 15, 2017

When you think of great American actors, Academy Award winning actor Al Pacino comes to mind. Pacino who is now 77, was born in East Harlem in Manhattan as Alfredo James Pacino. He was the son of Salvatore Pacino who was from San Fratello in the Province of Messina in Sicily.

His parents divorced when he was 2-years of age. He was raised by his grandparents who ironically came from Corleone, Sicily.

He's starred in many memorable films that have made him an acting legend. movies such as The Godfather parts 1, 2 and 3, Scarface, Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, Justice for All and Scent of a Woman to name a few.

There are many other famous people of Sicilian heritage that made a meaningful contribution to the Arts, Entertainment and Sports: Jon Bon Jovi, Sonny Bono, Ben Gazzara, Joe Mantegna, Armand Assante, Joe DiMaggio and Roy Campanella are a few that come to mind.

While I was living in Manhattan, when Ben Gazzara learned that our families where from the same town in Sicily (Canicatti) he welcomed me into his Madison Avenue Co-Op for a Christmas party. That was a memorable moment. Ben and his brother treated me like family that evening.

I'm a proud American who loves his country and the song “God Bless the USA" by Lee Greenwood. That song was so moving to many Americans post 9/11. However, your roots are your roots. It’s meaningful and interesting to discover them.


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