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Joe Spinell

Birthday:

10/28/1936

Place of birth:

Manhattan, New York:

Biography:

​Joe Spinell was born Joseph J. Spagnuolo in Manhattan, New York of Italian immigrant parents, and the last of six children. His father, Pelegrino Spagnuolo (b. 1892, d. 1950), died from liver and kidney disease. His mother Filomena Spagnuolo (b. 1903, d. 1987) was a bit-part actress who acted in a few movies, some of them alongside her son. Spinell stood 5 foot and 11 inches. He was born at his family's apartment in Manhattan's Little Italy on 2nd Avenue in Manhattan. A few years after the death of his father, he moved with his mother and older siblings to Woodside, Queens, New York where he lived off-and-on for the remainder of his life. Spinell suffered most of his life from hemophilia as well as chronic asthma. Because of his large, heavyset frame and imposing looks, Spinell was often cast as criminals, thugs, or corrupt police officers. His most notable roles were as mafioso Willi Cicci in The Godfather and The Godfather Part II, and as loan shark Tony Gazzo in Rocky and Rocky II. Although primarily known as a character actor, Spinell co-wrote and starred as a serial killer in the 1980 film, Maniac. Joe Spinell died in his apartment on January 13, 1989 at the age of 52. The cause of his untimely death is arguable to this day. Some say that his death was caused by sudden heart attack due to heavy drug use, drinking and emotional distress in light of his mother passing away two years earlier. It is also speculated that he may have died from asthma complications, or bled to death from hemophilia related causes. He was planning a sequel to Maniac before his death. He was buried in Calvary Cemetery, Queens near his home. He is the distant cousin of the American football team St. Louis Ram's Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo. Spinell was married to adult film star Jean Jennings from February 1977 to July 1979. Together they had one daughter, but they eventually divorced.


Film Credits

FantastiCozzi (2016)
as Count Zarth Arn (archive footage)
The Joe Spinell Story (2001)
as Himself
Thriller Zone (1995)
as Vinny Durand (segment "Fanatical Extremes") (archive footage)
Rapid Fire (1989)
as Hansen
Married to the Mob (1988)
as Leonard 'Tiptoes' Mazzilli
K.O. Kippers (1988)
as Tony Larosa
Operation Warzone (1988)
as Brig. Gen. George Delevane
The Undertaker (1988)
as Uncle Roscoe
The Pick-up Artist (1987)
as Eddie
Maniac 2: Mr. Robbie (1986)
as Mr. Robbie
Hollywood Harry (1986)
as
The Whoopee Boys (1986)
as Guido Antonucci
The Children of Times Square (1986)
as Street Vendor
The Messenger (1986)
as Rico
Trackdown: Finding the Goodbar Killer (1983)
as Escobar
The Last Fight (1983)
as Angelo
Eureka (1983)
as
Losin' It (1983)
as Border Patrolman
The Big Score (1983)
as Mayfield
Vigilante (1983)
as Eisenberg
Walking the Edge (1983)
as Brusstar
One Down, Two to Go (1982)
as Joe Spangler
Monsignor (1982)
as Bride's Father
The Last Horror Film (1982)
as Vinny Durand
Night Shift (1982)
as Manetti
National Lampoon's Movie Madness (1982)
as Agent / M.C. ("Success Wanters")
Nighthawks (1981)
as Lt. Munafo
Maniac (1980)
as Frank Zito
The First Deadly Sin (1980)
as Charles Lipsky
Melvin and Howard (1980)
as Go-Go Club Owner #2
The Little Dragons (1980)
as Yancey
Brubaker (1980)
as Floyd Birdwell
Cruising (1980)
as Patrolman DiSimone
Forbidden Zone (1980)
as Squeezit's Father
The Ninth Configuration (1980)
as Lt. Spinell
Vampire (1979)
as
Rocky II (1979)
as Tony Gazzo
Winter Kills (1979)
as Arthur Fletcher
Last Embrace (1979)
as Man in Cantina
Starcrash (1978)
as Count Zartharn
The One Man Jury (1978)
as Mike Abatino
Paradise Alley (1978)
as Burp
Big Wednesday (1978)
as Psychologist
Nunzio (1978)
as Angelo
Sorcerer (1977)
as Spider
Rocky (1976)
as Gazzo
Stay Hungry (1976)
as Jabo
Taxi Driver (1976)
as Personell Officer
Next Stop, Greenwich Village (1976)
as Cop at El Station
92 in the Shade (1975)
as Ollie Slatt
Farewell, My Lovely (1975)
as Nick
Strike Force (1975)
as Sol Terranova
Rancho Deluxe (1975)
as Mr. Colson
The Godfather: Part II (1974)
as Willi Cicci
Cops and Robbers (1973)
as Marty
The Seven-Ups (1973)
as Toredano
The Godfather (1972)
as Willi Cicci (uncredited)

Production Credits

Maniac 2: Mr. Robbie (1986)
Producer
Maniac 2: Mr. Robbie (1986)
Story
Maniac (1980)
Executive Producer
Maniac (1980)
Screenplay