Henry Armetta

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Henry Armetta
Henry Armetta in The Big Store trailer.jpg
In The Big Store (1941) - trailer
Born Enrico Armetta
(1888-07-04)4 July 1888
Palermo, Italy
Died 21 October 1945(1945-10-21) (aged 57)
San Diego, California, U.S.
Occupation Actor
Years active 1915–1945

Henry Armetta (4 July 1888 – 21 October 1945) was an Italian-born American movie character actor who appeared in at least 150 films, starting in silents as early as 1915 to a movie released in 1946, after his death.


Armetta was born Enrico Armetta in Palermo, Sicily. At the age of 14, he stowed away on a boat and came to America. The authorities were ready to send him back when an Italian came forwards to act as his sponsor. He performed menial tasks to get by and eventually ended up working as a pants presser in New York City at a well known club where he managed to befriend Raymond Hitchcock, who got him a chorus part in his play "A Yankee Consul".

He moved to Hollywood in 1920 and easily found work as stereotypical Italian, often playing a barber, grocer or restaurant owner. He went on to appear in over 152 films (at least 24 films in 1934 alone), sometimes uncredited.

In 1938 he appeared in "Everybody Sing" with Judy Garland, Allan Jones, and Fanny Brice. In 1941, he memorably played the father of a large Italian family shopping for beds in The Big Store opposite the three Marx Brothers.

A much thinner Armetta was briefly glimpsed in one of his last appearances in the 1945 Technicolor musical Anchors Aweigh. He died the same year of a heart attack in San Diego, California, leaving behind his wife, Yole Armetta, and three children. He is buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California.[1]

Selected filmography[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Henry Armetta". Find A Grave. Retrieved 14 April 2015.