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Vito Giusto Scozzari|
January 26, 1918
San Francisco, California, U.S.
June 5, 1996 (aged 78)|
Woodland Hills, California, U.S.
|Resting place||Hollywood Forever Cemetery|
Irene A. Scozzari (1949–1979; her death)|
Beverly Scotti (?–1996; his death)
Vito Giusto Scotti (January 26, 1918 – June 5, 1996) was an American character actor who played many roles on Broadway, in films, and later on television, primarily from the late 1930s to the mid 1990s. He was known as a man of a thousand faces for his ability to assume so many divergent roles in more than 200 screen appearances, in a career spanning 50 years. He was known for his resourceful portrayals of various ethnic types. Born of Italian heritage, he was seen playing everything from a Mexican bandit, to a Russian doctor, to a Japanese sailor, to an Indian travel agent.
Early life and career
Vito Giusto Scozzari was born in 1918 in San Francisco, California. His family spent the 1920s in Naples, Italy, where Scotti developed his gift for farce, modeled after the Commedia dell'arte, a symbolic style of Italian theatre.
In 1925, after the Scozzari family had returned to the United States, his mother became a diva in New York City theatre circles. Scotti worked the night club circuit as a stand-up magician and mime. He made his debut on Broadway in Pinoccio, where he played a small role.
By 1953, Scotti replaced J. Carrol Naish as Luigi Basco, an Italian immigrant who ran a Chicago antique store, on the television version of the radio show Life with Luigi. Five years later, he portrayed another ethnic character, Rama from India (among other characters) in the live-action segment "Gunga Ram" on the Andy Devine children's show, Andy's Gang, where he also played a foil to the trickster Froggy the Gremlin. He was cast as French Duclos in the 1959 episode "Deadly Tintype" of the NBC Western series, The Californians.
In 1963, Scotti was cast as the Italian farmer Vincenzo Perugia in the episode "The Tenth Mona Lisa" of the CBS anthology series, General Electric True, hosted by Jack Webb. In the episode, Perugia in 1911 steals the Mona Lisa from the Louvre museum in Paris but is apprehended by a French detective when he attempts to unload the painting on an art dealer.
He also appeared in television series, such as How to Marry a Millionaire (as Jules in the 1958 episode "Loco and the Gambler"), in four episodes of The Rifleman, Rescue 8 (1959), State Trooper (1959), Sugarfoot (1959), The Texan (1959), Johnny Staccato (1960), The Twilight Zone (Mr. Bevis), (1960), Target: The Corruptors! (1962), Lassie, Stoney Burke (1963), The Wide Country (1963), Dr. Kildare (1963), Going My Way (1963), Breaking Point (1963), The Dick Van Dyke Show (1963), and The Addams Family (1964–1965).
Scotti appeared in two episodes of Bonanza, in Gunsmoke (1965–1970), The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1965 and 1967), The Wild Wild West, Ironside, several episodes of Columbo, The Monkees, The Flying Nun, Get Smart, Hogan's Heroes, as one of The Penguin's henchmen in two episodes of Batman, two episodes of The Bionic Woman (1976), and two episodes of The Golden Girls (1988-1989). He played Geppetto in "Geppetto's Workshop" in the 1980s.
He appeared three times on Gilligan's Island in the 1960s, as a Japanese sailor who did not know World War II was over in season one (1964–65), and as Dr. Boris Balinkoff, a mad scientist, in season two and season three.
Scotti was cast as a Mexican bandit in two one-hour episodes of Zorro entitled "El Bandido" and "Adios El Cuchillo" alongside Gilbert Roland, and an Italian restaurant owner in episode 35 of season one of Bewitched.
The actor appeared in hundreds of film and television roles, including the train engineer in Von Ryan's Express, Nazorine in The Godfather (1972), as Vittorio in Chu Chu and the Philly Flash (1981), and most notably as the scene-stealing cook in How Sweet It Is! (1968). In the pivotal scene, Scotti grabs a flustered Debbie Reynolds and plants a kiss on her midriff.
He portrayed Colonel Enrico Ferrucci in The Secret War of Harry Frigg (1968) and later appeared in the Academy Award-winning comedy Cactus Flower (1969), as Señor Arturo Sánchez, who unsuccessfully tries to seduce Ingrid Bergman's character.
He voiced the Italian Cat in the Walt Disney animated film The Aristocats (1970), and appeared with Lindsay Wagner on her television special, Another Side of Me (1977). His last screen performance was as the manager at Vesuvio's in the criminal comedy Get Shorty (1995).
Scotti died of lung cancer at the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, California on June 5, 1996. He was interred at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, with his first wife Irene, in the Abbey of the Psalms Mausoleum.
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In addition to his accomplishments as an actor, Scotti was highly regarded as a chef. He loved cooking, especially the recipes of his beloved mother and grandmother. Two generations of Hollywood's top names always left his dinner parties raving about the food and wine.
He was married for many years to Irene A. Scozzari until her death at age 54, on April 15, 1979. Vito then married Beverly and they were married until his death. He was a dedicated fundraiser for the 'Carmen Fund', set up by the Joaquin Miller High School Parents Guild, to assist the school's special-needs students in obtaining medical treatment. The fund was named after the Scottis' daughter, one of the first patients to undergo pioneering spinal implant surgery.
- Criss Cross (1949) as Track Usher (uncredited)
- Illegal Entry (1949) as Mexican Youth (uncredited)
- East Side, West Side (1949) as Sistina Son (uncredited)
- The Capture (1950) as Truck Driver (uncredited)
- Deported (1950) as Guido's Henchman (uncredited)
- Up Front (1951) as Sergeant Clerk (uncredited)
- Stop That Cab (1951) as Henry (uncredited)
- The Light Touch (1951) as Hotel Clerk (uncredited)
- The Fabulous Senorita (1952) as Esteban Gonzales
- Bal Tabarin (1952) as Police Secretary (uncredited)
- The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima (1952) as Villager (uncredited)
- Assignment – Paris! (1952) as Italian Reporter (uncredited)
- Shield for Murder (1954) as Joe--Bartender (uncredited)
- Sabaka (1954) as Rama
- Conquest of Space (1955) as Sanella
- The Broken Star (1956) as Pepe (uncredited)
- The Black Orchid (1958) as Paul Gallo (uncredited)
- Party Girl (1958) as Hotel Clerk (uncredited)
- Pay or Die (1960) as Officer Simonetti
- The Facts of Life (1960) as Fishing Boat Driver (uncredited)
- Where the Boys Are (1960) as Maitre D' of The Tropical Isle (uncredited)
- Gold of the Seven Saints (1961) as Gondara's Cook (uncredited)
- Master of the World (1961) as Topage
- The Explosive Generation (1961) as H.S. - Custodian
- Pocketful of Miracles (1961) as Priest (uncredited)
- Saint of Devil's Island (1961) as Louis
- Two Weeks in Another Town (1962) as Assistant Director
- The Courtship of Eddie's Father (1963) as Rick - Flute Player (uncredited)
- Dime with a Halo (1963) as Doorman
- Captain Newman, M.D. (1963) as Maj. Alfredo Fortuno
- Wild and Wonderful (1964) as Andre
- Honeymoon Hotel (1964) as Waiter (uncredited)
- Rio Conchos (1964) as Mexican Bandit
- The Pleasure Seekers (1964) as Neighborhood Man
- Von Ryan's Express (1965) as Italian Train Engineer
- Blindfold (1965) as Michaelangelo Vincenti
- Made in Paris (1966) as Fedya (uncredited)
- What Did You Do in the War, Daddy? (1966) as Frederico
- Warning Shot (1967) as Designer
- The Caper of the Golden Bulls (1967) as François Morel
- The Perils of Pauline (1967) as Frandisi
- The Secret War of Harry Frigg (1968) as Col. Enrico Ferrucci
- How Sweet It Is! (1968) as Cook
- Head (1968) as I. Vitteloni
- Cactus Flower (1969) as Señor Arturo Sánchez
- The Boatniks (1970) as Pepe Galindo
- The Aristocats (1970) as Peppo - Italian Cat (voice)
- The Godfather (1972) as Nazorine
- Napoleon and Samantha (1972) as The Clown
- When the Legends Die (1972) as Meo (Dillon's caretaker)
- The World's Greatest Athlete (1973) as Games spectator
- How to Seduce a Woman (1974) as Bill
- Herbie Rides Again (1974) as Taxi Driver
- The Wild McCullochs (1975) as Tony, the Bartender
- I Wonder Who's Killing Her Now? (1976) as Col. Guido Ameche
- The Big Bus (1976) as Barber
- Paesano: A Voice in the Night (1977) as Al Lozio
- Zero to Sixty (1978) as Benny
- The One Man Jury (1978) as Poker Player
- The Nude Bomb (1980) as Italian Delegate
- Herbie Goes Bananas (1980) as Armando Moccia
- Chu Chu and the Philly Flash (1981) aa Vittorio
- Stewardess School (1986) as Carl Stromboli
- Side Roads (1988)
- Beverly Hills Brats (1989) as Jerry
- Loaded Weapon 1 (1993) as Tailor
- Get Shorty (1995) as Manager at Vesuvio's (final film role)
- Andy's Gang (1955-1957)
- How to Marry a Millionaire (1958) as Jules
- The Lucy–Desi Comedy Hour (1958) as Shop Owner
- Rescue 8 (1959) as Dal Singh
- Perry Mason (1959) as Joseph D'Amato
- Sugarfoot (1959) as Ramon Acquistapace
- State Trooper (1959) as Reggie Sorbin
- Playhouse 90 (1959) as Cabinet Minister
- Peter Gunn (1959) as Pete's Guest / Herman Klip / Joe
- Wagon Train (1959) as Tony
- Johnny Staccato (1960) as Carlos Lascaratti
- Zorro (1960) as Chato
- The Real McCoys (1960-1961) as Pablo / Carlos
- Bonanza (1961) as Pooch / Leon Flores
- Rawhide (1962) as Manuel
- Target: The Corruptors! (1962) as Garcia
- The Twilight Zone (1960-1962) as Rudolpho / Peddler
- Lassie (1962) as Magico the Great
- The Dick Powell Show (1961-1963) as Karam / Dolpho
- Stoney Burke (1963) as Polo
- The Dick Van Dyke Show (1963) as Vito Giotto
- Breaking Point (1963) as Tony
- Going My Way (1963) as Mr. Molletti
- The Wide Country (1963) as Carlos Grijalves
- The Rifleman (1962-1963) as Alphonso / Marcello Ciabini / Soto
- The Joey Bishop Show (1963) as Manager Supermarket / Frank the Barber
- My Favorite Martian (1963-1964) as Waiter / Junkyard Manager
- Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre (1963-1964) as The Lieutenant / Harry
- The Danny Thomas Show (1964) as The Tailor
- The Donna Reed Show (1964) as Prince Georgivani
- Dr. Kildare (1962-1964) as Signore Fortuno / Jesus Munoz / Grocer
- The Jack Benny Program (1961-1965) as Mexican Captain / Mexican cafeteria employee
- Bewitched (1965) as Mario
- Laredo (1965) as Chicho
- The Virginian (1965) as Gilly
- The Addams Family (1964-1965) as Sam Picasso / Professor Altshuler / Miri Haan
- The Farmer's Daughter (1964-1965) as Llewellyn / Ambassador Cortez
- The Andy Griffith Show (1966) as Murrillos
- The Lucy Show (1962-1966) as Sam Boscovitch / Fencing Instructor
- The Munsters (1965-1966) as Roman Broadcaster / Man on Radio
- The John Forsythe Show (1966) as Gonzales
- Gilligan's Island (1965-1966) as Dr. Boris Balinkoff / Japanese Sailor
- Batman (1966) as Matey Dee
- The Wild Wild West (1966) as Cefalu
- The Monkees (1967) as Dr. Marcovich
- The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. (1967) as Dr. Igor Gork
- The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1965-1967) as Beirut / Charles Chikhli
- Daniel Boone (1967) as Priest
- The Flying Nun (1967-1969) as Capt. Gaspar Fomento / Captain Dominic Lopez
- Hogan's Heroes (1969) as Major Bonacelli
- Ironside (1969) as Manuel Rodriguez Sr.
- Get Smart (1965-1970) as Gino Columbus / Dante
- Gunsmoke (1965-1970) as The Indian / Indiana / Savrin / Torreon
- To Rome with Love (TV series) (1969-1971) as Nico
- The Odd Couple (1971) as Pepe
- The Brady Bunch (1971) as Cooking Show Host (voice, uncredited)
- The Six Million Dollar Man (1973) as 2nd Taxi Driver
- McMillan & Wife (1971-1974) as Sykes / Alonzo / Guido Barteloni
- Get Christie Love! (1974) as Emilio
- Adam-12 (1974) as Charley Prender
- The Bionic Woman (1976) as Romero
- Police Woman (1977) as Luigi
- C.P.O. Sharkey (1977) as Vito
- Baretta (1977) as Franco
- Happy Days (1979) as Otto
- Charlie's Angels (1980) as Tyrone
- Hawaii Five-O (1980) as Bill Baskin
- Vega$ (1980-1981) as Casino Manager / Valeria Viceria
- Hart to Hart (1981) as Vito
- Fantasy Island (1979-1982) as Vito Orsotti / Antoine de Vouvray
- CHiPs (1977-1983) as Charles / Emilio
- Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color (1975-1983) as Games Spectator / Taxi Driver / Pepe Galindo
- Trapper John, M.D. (1984)
- Charles in Charge (1988) as Dino Firenzi
- The Golden Girls (1988-1989) as Dominic Bosco / Vincenzo
- Columbo (1973-1989) as Vito / Salvatore Defonte / Thomas Dolan / Mr. Grindell / Chadwick / Maitre d'
- The Fanelli Boys (1990) as Sicilian #1
- Northern Exposure (1992) as Godfather
- Empty Nest (1994) as Mr. Tartaglia
- Mad About You (1995) as Antonio
- "Vito Scotti". NNDB.
- Oliver, Myrna (June 12, 1996). "Vito Scotti; Veteran Character Actor in Films and on TV". Los Angeles Times.
- "GE True". Classic Television Archive. Retrieved March 1, 2013.