A distinguished character actor, Richard S. Castellano was the highest earning actor in The Godfather, whose fame outside the saga included playing Joe Girelli in The Super. He also received an Academy Award nomination for his role in Love and Other Strangers.
Castellano was supposed to appear as Clemenza in The Godfather Part II, but there was allegedly a dispute in which Castellano asked that his wife Ardell Sheridan (who also appeared in The Godfather as Signora Clemenza) to write his lines. Coppola refused and Clemenza was replaced by Frank Pentangeli, played by Michael V. Gazzo. Sheridan later disputed this account, saying that Castellano refused to reprise the role over the belief that Clemenza would never become a traitor, among other disputes.
Castellano died of a heart attack in 1988, at the age of 55.
- According to Castellano's widow, he was the nephew of Gambino crime family boss Paul Castellano.
Notes and references
- Cowie, Peter (1997). The Godfather Book. Faber and Faber, p. 83. ISBN 0571190111.
- Divine Intervention and a Dash of Magic... Unraveling The Mystery of "The Method" + Behind the Scenes of the original Godfather film by Ardell Sheridan-Castellano
- Sheridan-Castellano, pp. 183-184
- Lou Lumenick. "Leave the gun-Take my career". Archived from the original on 2013-06-30.