Chuck Zito

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Chuck Zito
Chuck Zito 2013.jpg
Chuck Zito in West Hollywood, California on April 2, 2013
Born
Charles Carmine Zito Jr.

(1953-03-01) March 1, 1953 (age 69)
OccupationActor, boxer, pugilist bodyguard, martial artist, stuntman
Years active1991–present
Spouse(s)Kathy (?–?; divorced)

Charles Carmine Zito Jr. (born March 1, 1953) is an American actor, amateur boxer, martial artist, celebrity bodyguard, stuntman, former boxing trainer and former president of the New York chapter of the Hells Angels.[1]

Early life[edit]

Zito was born in New York, the second of three children of Charles Zito Sr. and Gloria Frangione.[2] He was raised in the Bronx and New Rochelle.[3] The son of a professional welterweight boxer, Zito was taught at an early age how to fight and defend himself.[4] His father boxed under the ring name Al LaBarba.[5] At the age of seventeen, Zito dropped out of New Rochelle High School and married his high school sweetheart, Kathy. His involvement with the Hells Angels motorcycle club eventually led to their divorce.[6]

Hells Angels[edit]

A motorcycle enthusiast, Zito established the New Rochelle Motorcycle Club in 1974, which merged with the Bronx-based Ching-a-Ling Nomads in 1976.[7] Zito would later become a member of the New York City chapter of the Hells Angels in May 1979. He allegedly earned his membership in the club by attempting to murder Robert Giangarra, a Queens pizzeria owner who had previously shot and injured HAMC member Cortland "Chip" Candow in a bar in Manhattan. According to government sources, Hells Angel-turned-government witness John Joseph "Pirate" Miller informed the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that Zito and another Hells Angel, Philip "Lightfoot" Kramer, used a remote-controlled device from a model airplane to detonate C-4 explosives attached to a vehicle belonging to Giangarra, who survived without serious injury. Zito was never charged with the bombing.[8] After rising to the rank of vice-president in the New York City chapter, Zito assisted in the formation of the Hells Angels New York nomads chapter in November 1984 and became the chapter's president.[9] The nomads chapter was allegedly formed after some members became frustrated with restrictions on narcotics distribution imposed by senior members of the New York City faction.[10]

On May 2, 1985, 133 Hells Angels members and associates were arrested on racketeering and drug trafficking charges after a series of law enforcement raids in fourteen cities across the United States. The indictments were the culmination of Operation Roughrider, a three-year FBI investigation into the club.[11] Fifteen of the arrests took place in the New York metropolitan area, where the New York City chapter headquarters on Manhattan's Lower East Side was raided, and at least one Uzi submachine gun and an undetermined quantity of drugs were seized.[12][13] A warrant was issued for Zito's arrest on charges of selling 15.8 ounces of methamphetamine in New York state in November 1984.[14] Working as bodyguards for Bon Jovi on tour in Japan, Zito and fellow Hells Angels member Herbert Reynolds Kittel surrendered to the United States Embassy in Tokyo on July 22, 1985 after they were the subject of a nationwide dragnet by Japanese police at the request of the FBI. On October 14, the Tokyo High Court approved an extradition request by U.S. authorities.[15] After detaining the pair in a Tokyo prison for four months, the Japanese Ministry of Justice released Zito and Kittel into the custody of U.S. Justice Department officials in Tokyo on October 26.[16] Zito pleaded guilty to one felony drug count in late 1986 and was sentenced to ten years' imprisonment. His sentence was reduced to seven years' in 1988,[8] and he ultimately served six years at nineteen different federal prisons.[9] Zito has stated that he "did six years for a phone call that [he] didn’t make to a man who sold drugs", and claims that he was bodyguarding actor Mickey Rourke on the set of Year of the Dragon in Vancouver when the phone call allegedly took place.[5]

Zito was among a group of twenty Hells Angels arrested by a task force composed of agents from the FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Illinois State Police, and the Chicago Police Department at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago after a high-speed car chase along the Northwest Tollway on December 11, 1994. The drivers of three passenger vans carrying the bikers were charged with speeding, while the passengers were charged with disorderly conduct. The contingent, which included senior Hells Angels members from across the country, had been attending a meeting to formally mark the club's merger of the Hell's Henchmen MC in Rockford, Illinois.[17]

He was also present at the Hellraiser Ball, a tattoo and motorcycle trade exposition in Plainview, New York sponsored by the Long Island chapter of the HAMC, which was ambushed by dozens of members of the rival Pagan's Motorcycle Club on February 23, 2002, resulting in one biker being killed and at least ten injured.[18][19] A Hells Angel was charged with second-degree murder and seventy-three Pagan members were indicted on federal racketeering charges in the aftermath of the incident.[20]

In 2005, Zito left the Hells Angels, after twenty-five years, to focus on his acting career.[21]

Career[edit]

Following in his father's footsteps, Zito became an amateur boxer and fought in New York Golden Gloves while working manual labor. In 1980, after assisting the bodyguards of actor Robert Conrad at a motorcycle convention, Zito began his own bodyguard agency. Named Charlie's Angels Bodyguard Services, Zito initially provided protection for actress Lorna Luft and later was hired by her half-sister Liza Minnelli.[22] The actress recommended Zito's service to her plethora of celebrity acquaintances, allowing Zito to quickly develop contacts throughout Hollywood.

Parlaying his connection, Zito began a career as a stuntman working on films such as Year of the Dragon, Hudson Hawk, and The Rock. In 1996, after a meeting with producer Tom Fontana, Zito joined the HBO prison drama Oz as mobster Chucky Pancamo. Over the years Zito has alternated with stunt work and acting with credits for stunt work in films like 15 Minutes and acting roles in the film This Thing of Ours.

In February 1998, Zito allegedly repeatedly punched Jean-Claude Van Damme at the Scores club in Manhattan, New York.[23]

Zito appeared on the January 11th 1999 edition of WCW Monday Nitro accompanying Hollywood Hulk Hogan to the ring alongside several other members of the Hells Angels. He was seen with Cuba Gooding Jr. and Dwayne Johnson at the Lennox Lewis vs. Mike Tyson pre-fight party on June 8, 2002 at the Memphis Pyramid. In 2003, Zito released his autobiography, Street Justice, co-authored with Joe Layden.[24] In 2006, Zito expanded into radio with the show Chuck Zito's View on Howard Stern's Sirius Satellite Radio station.[25]

In 2010, Zito filed a $5 million lawsuit against the cable network FX, alleging that he had a development meeting with them in 2006, in which he pitched the idea of an outlaw motorcycle group. He alleges that FX blew him off and then stole his idea, which became the FX show Sons of Anarchy.[26] On December 11, 2011, a court judgment was ruled against Zito. Zito appeared in Sons of Anarchy season 5, as Frankie Diamonds. He also appeared in SOA creator Kurt Sutter's Discovery Channel documentary series, Outlaw Empires.

In 2013, Zito competed on Food Network Television's Chopped along with NASCAR driver Danica Patrick, NFL star Tiki Barber, and Olympic Champion Natalie Coughlin.

Personal life[edit]

Zito has a daughter, Lisa, with his ex-wife Kathy.[6] In 2002, Zito pleaded guilty to violating a protective order that prohibited him from contacting his wife. He was sentenced to twelve days in jail.[27] Zito was also previously in a relationship with actress Pamela Anderson.[28]

In August 1999, Zito suffered a broken right leg that required surgery, road rash on his right arm and a concussion after a motorcycle he was riding hit a pothole in Pelham Bay in the Bronx. He subsequently filed a lawsuit against the City of New York, claiming compensation for medical expenses, lost earnings and repair costs for the motorcycle.[29]

He holds the rank of sixth-degree black belt in Isshin-ryū karate, and has also studied Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Renzo Gracie, as well as kung fu and stick-fighting.[30]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1982 1990: The Bronx Warriors Outlaw Biker
1991 Neon City Bus Attacker
1993 Nowhere to run Prisoner
New York Cop Mafia Leader
Carlito's Way Club Bouncer
Love, Cheat & Steal Jake
1994 Jimmy Hollywood Gangster
Bad Blood "Toots"
Sensation The Bartender
Love is a Gun Cop
1995 Red Line Dick
1996 The Juror Frankie
Heaven's Prisoners Tony
The Funeral Zito
Squanderers Jerry
1998 Gia Biker
Scar City Guard
No Code of Conduct Guard
1999 Black & White Chuck
Me and Will Biker
Man on the Moon Tony Clifton / Biker
2000 Table One The Chef
2001 Street Justice The Host
2003 This Thing of Ours DeGrazio Soldier
2004 Brooklyn Bound Anthony
Coalition Vinnie
2005 Remedy Captain Sallie
Searching for Bobby D Freddy "Knuckles"
The Signs of the Cross Tony Esposito
Carlito's Way: Rise to Power "Buck"
Tinsel Town Rubenstein
2009 Under New Management Don DeRossi
2010 13 Ted
2011 The Grasslands Matty
2013 Homefront Danny "Danny T" Turrie
2014 Collection Joe
2015 The Martial Arts Kid Frank
Street Level Carmine
2016 Saturday in the Park Danny "Danny V"
Female Fight Club Zeke
2017 Cops and Robbers Randy
Blood Circus Dominick
2018 Fury of the Fist and the Golden Fleece FDA Special Agent
Black Wake Sheriff Williams
Vault Joey Bruno post-production
Guitars and Guns Marco post-production
Treasure Hunter: Legend of the White Witch Jorge post-production
Dinosaur Frank LaCarver post-production
2019 Street Justice Unknown pre-production

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1997 New York Undercover Unknown Episode: "Hubris"
1998-2003 Oz Chucky "The Enforcer" Pancamo 45 episodes
2000 V.I.P. Mikey 2 episodes
2006 The Young and the Restless Rudy 2 episodes
Law & Order: Criminal Intent Major Case Squad Detective Episode: "Tru Love"
2007 Entourage Himself
Days of Our Lives Harry Jenks 1 episode
2010 How to Make It in America Deli Man Episode: "Crisp"
2012 Sons of Anarchy Frankie "Diamonds" 8 episodes
2018 Paper Empire "Big D" Espozito
Jersey: The Series Al "Big Al"

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Thomas Gerbasi (March 25, 2003). "Chuck Zito: Friend of the Game". MaxBoxing. Archived from the original on May 20, 2006. Retrieved 2007-11-01.
  2. ^ Chuck Zito and Joe Layden (2003). Street Justice. Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-312-32021-8. Retrieved 2009-02-05.
  3. ^ Happy Birthday To New Rochelle's Chuck Zito Carol Reif, The Daily Voice (March 1, 2016)
  4. ^ Dennis Hamill (January 5, 2003). FOREVER FLEXING HIS REPe. Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-312-32021-8. Archived from the original on May 30, 2008. Retrieved 2009-02-05.
  5. ^ a b Gates of Hell Turn Out One True Angel Steve Dunleavy, New York Post (April 30, 2000)
  6. ^ a b Street Justice – Google Books. Macmillan. 17 December 2003. ISBN 9780312320218. Retrieved 2010-08-09.
  7. ^ Zito, Chuck; Layden, Joe (2003-12-17). Street Justice – Google Books. ISBN 9780312320218. Retrieved 2010-08-09.
  8. ^ a b The Baddest Dude On The Tube The Smoking Gun (November 24, 2000)
  9. ^ a b Street Justice by Chuck Zito with Joe Layden Kirkus Reviews (August 1, 2002)
  10. ^ United States of America v. 77 East 3rd Street, New York, New York Google Scholar (September 14, 1994)
  11. ^ 133 Hells Angels seized in 14 cities Chicago Tribune (May 3, 1985)
  12. ^ 100 Hells Angel members are arrested in drug sweep Leslie Maitland Werner, The New York Times (May 3, 1985)
  13. ^ FBI “Full Steam” On Hells Angels Crackdown Scott Williams, Associated Press (May 3, 1985)
  14. ^ Japan to Extradite Two Hells Angels in Narcotics Case Los Angeles Times (October 14, 1985)
  15. ^ Japan to grant extradition of Hells Angels United Press International (October 14, 1985)
  16. ^ Americans Wanted in New York Extradited to U.S. Associated Press (October 26, 1985)
  17. ^ Cops Arrest Hell's Angels After Chase Ray Quintanilla, Chicago Tribune (December 12, 1994)
  18. ^ Biker killed in gang fight at Hellraiser Ball Rupert Cornwell, The Independent (25 February 2002)
  19. ^ 'Hellraisers' brawl: L.I. biker-gang rumble leaves 1 dead, 10 hurt Lisa Pulitzer, New York Post (February 24, 2002)
  20. ^ Pagan Bikers Indicted in Brawl Frank Eltman, Associated Press (March 13, 2002)
  21. ^ Chuck Zito: Inside the life of a New York tough guy grinbergnews.com (January 26, 2018)
  22. ^ "A Stuntman Is Ready For a Leap to Stardom". New York Times. August 23, 1998. Retrieved 2007-11-01.
  23. ^ "GATES OF HELL TURN OUT ONE TRUE ANGEL". NY POST. Steve Dunleavy. 30 April 2000. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  24. ^ Zito, Chuck (2002). Street justice. Joseph Layden. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0312301243. OCLC 49805475.
  25. ^ "Chuck Zito's View Is Still Awesome". Howard Stern. Retrieved 2019-05-27.
  26. ^ "Ex-Hells Angel: 'Sons of Anarchy' Was MY Idea!". TMZ.com. 2010-06-15. Retrieved 2011-10-06.
  27. ^ The Outlaw Biker Legacy of Violence Thomas Barker (2018)
  28. ^ Is Pamela Anderson rekindling romance with ex beau Chuck Zito Business Standard (13 July 2014)
  29. ^ Wrath of a fallen ‘Angel’ Denise Buffa, New York Post (October 12, 2009)
  30. ^ Chuck Zito martialartsentertainment.com (November 1, 2016)

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]