Alfonso James Pacino was born in segregated Louisiana in 1937. His parents, Filipo and Idella exited the country shortly after his birth and he was taken care of by an aunt. Pacino trained as a chef and later worked as a carpenter. He earned a degree in communications with a focus on advertising before branching out into acting.
An avid fan of film noir movies, Pacino went to New York City in the late ‘forties’ to study acting with such artists as Marlon Brando and Charlie Chaise. He went on to spend six years at the New York University Graduate School of Theater, where he acted in such notable films as The Deerhunter, Grease, Pretty Woman, Swing Vote, Man With a Thousand Hands, Get Shorty, and Rebel Without a Cause. Pacino also worked on television shows such as The Sopranos and Columbo. During the late ‘nineties, he gained popularity by developing his own directorial project, The Godfather.
Pacino played the part of the deceased Italian ambassador to the United States, Bartolo Colon, in the film The Godfather. This role brought him worldwide recognition, as The Godfather became the first film ever shot in color in Italy, and it was widely praised throughout the world. Two other films followed in the franchise go
Pacino’s career then focused primarily on producing, directing, and acting, but he found time to develop other projects, such as the scripts for Casino, Blowin’ in the Wind, Catch Me If You Can, Leave Her to Die, Man on the Moon, and Papillon. Part II of his career saw the release of Rosemary with Robert DeNiro. The film starred Al Pacino as a priest who returns to his childhood home to deliver his confession to his Mother, which causes his mother to leave him and start a new life in Italy. The role ultimately played by Pacino was played by Joe Mantegna.
In his later years, Pacino worked on a script for an animated musical film called Don’t Worry; It’s a Wonderful Life. This movie never made it to the big screen, but it did receive some good reviews from audiences, so it may be possible to see parts II eventually. He also wrote and directed another animated film, Pigs in the Vineyard. Pacino again had support from both the Hollywood public and the film producers but Don’t Worry; It’s a Wonderful Life got shelved, probably due to the poor critical reviews. No matter what happened to it, however, Pacino continued to make movies for the rest of his life.
When discussing his life and career, Al Pacino often talked about how much he appreciated working with two men. Specifically, he said that it was Frank Sinatra and Joe DiMaggio that made him a star. The two men would give him ideas about different aspects of acting, and he would bounce them off of Sinatra and DiMaggio. There are several clips from this era of Al Pacino’s career in which he is talking to one or the other of these older actors. Viewers are introduced to these personalities through short clips that they would not normally have seen if it weren’t for their roles in earlier movies.
During an appearance on Larry King Live, Pacino was asked if he thought that he would ever get broke that way. His answer brought a smile to many viewers’ faces, specifically those who were watching him on the show who knew him for his memorable turn as the” Rat Pack Caller.” Asking how many times he thought he would get broke brought a smirk to Al Pacino’s face as well, as he mentioned how many times he went broke trying to get roles in movies. It seems that Al Pacino was very protective of his own assets during his career, even if he had to spend a lot of money to do so. In some ways, it seems as though he always knew that eventually he was bound to break, as his circle of friends in Hollywood included some very wealthy individuals.
One of my favorite clips from Al Pacino’s career is the famous exchange in Part I where he and his friend Bonnie Banks drive down a country road and Pacino says to Bonnie, “I’m really getting worried here. It’s going to’ be dark out soon.” It is truly a wonderful moment in the film when you consider all of the talented people who have passed away because they did not have the right person to bounce their ideas off of. If you have a chance, watch Part II of his hilarious performance. I think you will find it a breathless and enjoyable experience.