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List of Sicilian Americans

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The following is a list of notable Sicilian Americans. To be included in this list, the person must have a Wikipedia article showing they are Sicilian American or must be accompanied by references showing they are Sicilian American and are notable.

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  • ✪ Most Horrific Crimes - The Italian Mafia
  • ✪ Geography Now! Italy
  • ✪ Top 10 Most Popular Responses to 1. e4 - Chess Openings Explained


Most of us know something about the Italian Mafia. Its exploits have been made into huge blockbuster movies such as The Godfather trilogy and Goodfellas, while the TV show The Sopranos is unquestionably one of the best things ever to light up people’s living rooms. What makes the Italian mafia so compelling to follow is that besides the brutality of the organization at times, there is humor in the way members talk to each other, their often-strange nicknames are never anything but hilarious, and you can’t help but be fascinated by the rulebook each member has to adhere to. Despite the mafia’s many codes of conduct, time and again, no quarter was given to rival members and outsiders. Today we’ll look at some of the worst crimes the mafia ever committed, in this episode of the Infographics Show, The Most Horrifying Crimes - Italian Mafia. As you’ll likely know, the Italian Mafia originated in Sicily in southern Italy and was known as the Cosa Nostra. The word mafia, which is “mafioso” in Italian, according to the Italian dictionary, means someone who can be a scoundrel, brave but perhaps unruly, a tough guy but honorable, sometimes a brute and always a bit of a swaggerer. That seems about right, given what we have seen on TV and in film. If we look at the late 19th and early 20th century in Sicily, some writers depict these gangs as thieves working in rural areas, but given so much inequality and official corruption, some of the writers defend their actions. In the 1940s and 50s, gangs grew in size, making headway in the construction industry but also getting involved in extortion and protection. But today we are going to focus on the American Mafia. The earliest reports of Italian immigrants belonging to organized crime causing havoc in the United States dates back to the late 19th century. Around that time, the New Orleans Times wrote that parts of the city had become infested with “well-known and notorious Sicilian murderers, counterfeiters and burglars, who, in the last month, have formed a sort of general co-partnership or stock company for the plunder and disturbance of the city.” Theses gangs would soon spring up in parts of New York and Chicago, and would later pervade much of the United States. To cut a long story short – this episode is more about the mafia’s crimes than its long history – many Italian gangsters flooded into the USA in the 1920s as fascist leader Benito Mussolini wasn’t very keen on them, to say the least. This was around the time prohibition (or the alcohol ban) was the law in the U.S. An era rife for crime, and the Mafia, led by certain families in different parts of the country, expanded quickly and became known as an enterprise full of cunning, calculating, and cruel connivers. Now to the crimes. Not all terrible crimes were committed by the mafia, but by people working for the mafia. Many of the associates, tough guys, hitmen, were not Italian by birth and so were hired for jobs rather than work as part of a family. One such man who you may have seen on YouTube or on TV or even depicted in a movie, is the hitman Richard Kuklinski. Also known as the ‘Ice Man’, it’s thought he carried out around 100 executions or more before he was imprisoned in 1988. He appears on this list not only because of how prolific he was, but if you’ve seen him talk about killing, you’ll notice how cold he seemed about the act. They called him the Ice Man because he would often freeze the bodies of his victims for a long time, and then later dump them. Doing it this way would make it impossible for the police to know when the murder had taken place. Now we’ll look at two characters who were known in the mafia as brutal killers and have since been depicted that way in movies. Both characters were played by Joe Pesci. The first was the character Nicky Santaro in the film ‘Casino’, who was actually based on mafia member Tony Spilotro. Yes, Spilotro was brutally murdered by his own people as is depicted in the movie, but it’s also said that he was very much a keen proponent of torturing people he thought were hurting his business. He may have ordered killings and killed himself on many occasions, but it’s the torture that stands out. Like in the film, he once put a man’s head in a vise and turned the handle until the man’s eye popped out. It’s also said he tortured another man for two days, slicing him all over with knives and razors, burning him with a blow torch, and then fastening him upside down to a meat hook until the poor fella died. Now, you might not feel sorry for anyone with such a depraved disposition, but you can hardly feel good about the way Spilotro went. No, it wasn’t death by baseball bat near the Las Vegas desert as depicted in the movie. What really happened is that in 1986 Spilotro had irked mafia bosses enough and they ordered he be taken care of (that means killed). He and his brother were asked to meet in a basement where they would essentially be promoted, or so they were told. What happened is that they were set upon by around 20 men and literally beaten to death with bats, fists, and objects, until their bodies became unrecognizable. If you so choose, the photos of the aftermath are online, but we don’t advise you look. The next character is Tommy from the film ‘Goodfellas’, who was based on Thomas Anthony DeSimone, aka, Two-Gun Tommy. Associate Henry Hill, who the film is based on, described him as a “pure psychopath” and a “homicidal maniac.” If you’ve seen the film, all those grizzly murders are based on Hill’s testimony. Yes, that includes the horrible slaying of a young waiter for hardly any reason at all. According to Hill, he enjoyed killing and had been doing it since he was a teenager. Now we turn to the notorious gangster, Al Capone. Yet again, the brutal murder we are about to talk about has been depicted in a movie. This time the movie is ‘The Untouchables’. If you haven’t seen it, there is a scene in which Capone has invited a bunch of gangsters to a kind of large dinner party. Reminiscent of a Joker scene from Batman, Capone pulls out a baseball bat and beats one of the attendants to death with it. In real life there were two men, and they had been henchmen in the gang. But Capone had got wind that they wanted to overthrow him. He shot them, too, but it’s thought the men were as good as dead. Sticking with Al Capone, we should mention something about the utterly cold-blooded St. Valentine's Day Massacre. Yep, you can see this depicted in many films, too. The story, in short, consists of Capone’s gang fighting for power in Chicago in the 1920s with an Irish gang called the North Side gang. This gang was run by mobster George “Bugs” Moran. As the story goes, 7 members of the North Side gang had been lined up against a wall by men that looked like police, only they were thought to be Capone’s accomplices. They fired many rounds of ammunition into these men, tearing them to pieces. Moran was not one of them, and some stories say he was just fortunate enough to be late to the meeting that day. One man actually survived the next three hours with 14 bullet wounds, but later died. Capone had been careful, knowing that he would be blamed. At the time of the shootings, he was in Florida and making sure he was being seen by many people. No one was ever arrested for this mass execution, one of the bloodiest events in American mob history. Ok, so the next crime may not be as brutal, but it shows just how bitter and twisted the mafia could be. This was the murder of Angelo “The Gentle Don” Bruno, who was shot in the back of the head in his car. Bruno had made a killing in the methamphetamine trade in Philadelphia, but some people thought he was keeping too much mullah for himself. You might guess from his name that Bruno was known as a gentle type for a gangster who preferred to talk before getting down to violent deeds, but his enemies were not so even-tempered. It’s thought mobster Antonio Caponigro wanted to knock Bruno off the boss-spot and take over the family, so he ordered the hit. This didn’t go down well with ‘The Commission’ – a kind of round table of mafia bosses – and not long after Caponigro was killed by enforcer Joe ‘Mad Dog’ Sullivan. What’s especially brutal was the message the bosses wanted to send. When the cops found the body, 20-dollar bills had been stuffed into Caponigro’s mouth and anus. This was to show that he had been a very greedy man in taking out the good-natured boss. He had been shot and stabbed numerous times. The worst thing is, this kind of execution wasn’t all that uncommon. If you were lucky you got whacked quickly with a bullet in the head, but if someone wanted you to suffer you would die slowly. In fact, there were so many murders the media called the enforcers that worked for the mafia all over America “Murder, Inc.” This was a gang of ruthless killers that would work for bosses all over the states in the 30s and 40s, and it’s thought they made good on as many as 1,000 contracts. Each murder apparently would cost a boss anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000. They used guns, bats, and even ice picks. If they were ever caught, the big bosses would make sure they got the best lawyers. Murder Inc. was started by Jewish-American gangster Louis ‘Lepke’ Buchalter, and he has since gone down in history as the only mob boss in the U.S. to get the death penalty. If there is one thing you learn from watching gang shows or reading mob-related books, it’s that violence just begets violence and karma seems to strike anyone involved in the misery. There aren’t many happy endings in the history of the mob. So, what other things would you like to know about the mafia or other notorious gangs in the world, past or present? Let us know in the comments! Also, be sure to check out our other video called What If the World was One Country?! Thanks for watching, and, as always, don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe. See you next time!


Artists, writers, and musicians

  • Carly Aquilino (born November 18, 1990) Stand-up comedian of Sicilian descent, podcast performer, cast member of MTV's Girl Code.
  • Henry Armetta, (Palermo, Sicily, July 4, 1888 – San Diego, October 21, 1945) 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. In 1938, he played in Everybody Sing with Judy Garland, Allan Jones, and Fanny Brice. In 1941, he was hilarious as the father of an Italian family shopping for beds in "The Big Store" with the Marx Brothers and Tony Martin. He appeared in at least 24 films in 1934 alone, sometimes uncredited.
  • Romina Arena, Palermo, Sicily, May 12, 1980 operatic pop / pop classical crossover singer songwriter and published author now living in Los Angeles.
  • Armand Assante was born on October 4, 1949, in New York City to a Sicilian father and an Irish mother. Assante is an accomplished character actor, with his big break coming in 1974 in The Lords of Flatbush. His sometimes sinister look has made him a popular choice for movies and television.
  • Dodici Azpadu (born ca. 1945) is one of the few American novelists writing from a distinctly Sicilian-American and lesbian perspective. She has also published several volumes of poetry.
  • Joseph Barbera, born Joseph Roland Barbera (March 24, 1911 – December 18, 2006) animator, cartoon artist, storyboard artist, director, producer and co-founder, together with William Hanna of Hanna-Barbera (now known as Cartoon Network Studios). The studio produced well-known cartoons such as The Huckleberry Hound Show, The Flintstones, The Jetsons and Scooby-Doo.
  • Chazz Palminteri (born May 15, 1952) American actor and writer, best known for his performances in The Usual Suspects, A Bronx Tale, Mulholland Falls and his Academy Award nominated role for Best Supporting Actor in Bullets Over Broadway.
  • Sonny Bono, born Salvatore Phillip Bono (February 16, 1935 – January 5, 1998) was an American record producer, singer, actor and politician whose career spanned over three decades.
  • Argentina Brunetti, (August 31, 1907 – December 20, 2005) actress and writer. She followed Mimi Aguglia, her famous mother's footsteps in the theater. She began her movie debut in the Frank Capra classic It's a Wonderful Life (1946), as Mrs. Martini. Throughout her varied career she has also written and performed in daily radio shows, became a member of the 'Hollywood Foreign Press Association', writing numerous articles on Hollywood personalities, authored books, written music and acted in over 57 television programs and 68 movies in which she mainly played multi-ethnic roles. She hosted a weekly weblog on the Internet, called Argentina Brunetti's Hollywood Stories, which her son plans to continue running, and has written a biographical novel called In Sicilian Company.
  • Steve Buscemi, (born December 13, 1957, in Brooklyn, New York) actor.
  • Frank Capra, (May 18, 1897 – September 3, 1991) American film director and a major creative force behind a number of highly popular films. Born Francesco Rosario Capra in Bisacquino, Sicily, Capra moved with his family to America in 1903, settling in Los Angeles.
  • Richard S. Castellano, (September 4, 1933 – December 10, 1988) actor, became famous as Pete Clemenza in The Godfather
  • Iron Eyes Cody, (April 3, 1904 – January 4, 1999) actor born in Kaplan, Louisiana. He was born Espera DeCorti, the son of Sicilian immigrants Francesca Salpietra and Antonio DeCorti. He was not born a Native American, but he claimed to be part Cherokee and part Cree. Cody and his wife Bertha Parker adopted children that were Native American. Cody began his acting career at the age of 12 and continued to work until the time of his death. In 1996, The Times-Picayune exposed his true heritage, but Cody denied it.
  • Angelo F. Coniglio first-generation descendant of immigrants from Serradifalco, Sicily. A retired civil engineer and educator, he is the author of The Lady of the Wheel, historical fiction set in the late 1800s in Racalmuto and describing the tribulations of foundlings and poor sulfur mine workers.
  • Dan Cortese, (born September 14, 1967, near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) actor. Born in the Pittsburgh suburb of Sewickley, Pennsylvania, Cortese first came to prominence as host of MTV Sports from 1992 to 1993. He has had starring roles in the 1993 remake of Route 66, Traps, Melrose Place, The Single Guy, Veronica's Closet, and Ball & Chain
  • Alan Dale, (July 9, 1926 – April 20, 2002) singer of traditional popular and rock and roll music. He was born Aldo Sigismondi in the Brooklyn borough of New York. His father, Aristide Sigismondi, immigrated to the United States from Abruzzi, Italy in 1904 at the age of 21, and became a comedian in Italian-language theater, with a radio program of his own. His mother, Agata "Kate" Sigismondi, was born in Messina, Sicily, and was 15 years younger than Aristide.
  • Arturo Di Modica New York City artist, born in Sicily, best known for his sculpture Charging Bull (also known as the "Wall Street Bull"), which he installed without permission in front of the New York Stock Exchange in December 1989. The piece is now on loan to the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation who has placed it in nearby Bowling Green park. Di Modica now lives in New York City
  • Vincent D'Onofrio (born Vincent Phillip D'Onofrio on June 30, 1959, in Brooklyn, New York) actor and producer, best known as Detective Robert Goren in Law & Order: Criminal Intent. D'Onofrio's parents Gennaro (Gene) D'Onofrio and Phyllis D'Onofrio, are both of Sicilian descent.
  • Dennis Farina (February 29, 1944 – July 22, 2013) born in Chicago, actor in television and motion pictures; formerly a Chicago policeman.
  • Ben Gazzara (August 28, 1930 – February 3, 2012) born Biagio Anthony Gazzara in New York City) actor in television and motion pictures. Born to Sicilian immigrants, Antonio Gazzara and Angela Consumano, Gazzara grew up on New York's tough Lower East Side.
  • Lino Graglia Dalton Cross Professor of Law at the University of Texas specializing in antitrust litigation. He obtained a BA from the City College of New York in 1952, and an LLB from Columbia University in 1954. He worked in the United States Department of Justice during the administration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Graglia is an outspoken Catholic conservative of Sicilian background. He is a well known critic of affirmative action and racial quotas.
  • Alicia Keys (born January 25, 1981) singer, songwriter, record producer, pianist and actress. She is an international pop star. Her real name is Alicia Augello Cook. Her mother, Teresa Augello, is of Sicilian descent (from Sciacca).
  • Ariana Grande (born June 26, 1993) American actress and singer. She is an international pop star. She is of Italian descent, half Sicilian, half Abruzzese. Her older brother is actor-producer Frankie Grande.
  • Frankie Laine, (born Frank Paul LoVecchio) on March 30, 1913; died February 6, 2007, was an influential American singer. Frankie's parents emigrated from Monreale, Sicily to Chicago's "Little Sicily". At 17 he sang before a crowd of 5,000 at The Merry Garden Ballroom to such enthusiastic applause that he ended up performing five encores on his first night. But success as a singer was another 17 years away. Frankie Laine's 70-plus year career spanned most of the 20th century and continued into the 21st. Laine was a key figure in the golden age of popular music, and remains, quite possibly the greatest singer of all time. On June 12, 1996, he was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 27th Annual Songwriters’ Hall of Fame awards ceremony at the New York Sheraton.
  • Matteo Lane, (born 1982) comedian whose maternal family comes from Agrigento.
  • Cyndi Lauper, (born June 22, 1953), Cynthia Ann Stephanie Lauper, better known as Cyndi Lauper, singer whose melodic voice and wild costumes have come to epitomize the 1980s, the decade in which she first came to fame. She was born in Queens, New York to Swiss German-American Fred Lauper and Sicilian Italian-American Catrine Dominique.
  • Frank Lentini, born Francesco A. Lentini (1889–1966) born in Syracuse, Sicily, into a large family. He was born with three longer legs, two sets of genitals and one rudimentary foot on his third leg. His primary legs also grew into different lengths. At the age of nine, Lentini moved to the United States and entered the sideshow business.
  • Robert Loggia, born Salvatore Loggia (January 3, 1930 – December 4, 2015) American actor and director. His father, Biagio Loggia, was a shoemaker born in Palma di Montechiaro, Agrigento, Sicily, and his mother, Elena Blandino, a homemaker born in Vittoria, Ragusa, Sicily.
  • Patti LuPone, (born April 21, 1949, in Northport, New York) American singer and actress of Sicilian descent.[1] She is a graduate of Northport High School. An important player in contemporary American musical theater, she has performed on Broadway in works by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Stephen Sondheim and others. She won a Tony Award for Evita in 1980.
  • Matteo Marchisano-Adamo, born February 19, 1973, in Flint, Michigan, is a filmmaker and composer whose mother's family comes from Erice, Sicily.
  • Joe Mantegna, (Born Joseph Anthony Mantegna Jr., November 13, 1947, in Chicago) actor, writer and director whose family comes from Calascibetta, Sicily.
  • Leo Martello (1931–2000) was an author, lecturer, gay civil rights activist, and an early voice in the American Neopagan movement. He drew heavily on his Sicilian heritage, teaching the Strega Tradition which was named after the Italian word for Witch. As a founder of the Witches Anti-Defamation League (later the Alternative Religions Education Network) he was known for his lively and sometimes confrontational style. For example, in his books he tried to popularize the "Witches' Curse" which was "I wish you on yourself". He was profiled in Margot Adler's Drawing Down the Moon.
  • Natalie Merchant, (born October 26, 1963, in Jamestown, New York) versatile musician. Merchant co-founded and fronted the successful band 10,000 Maniacs in 1981, but left the band in 1993 for a solo career. Her father's original Italian name was Mercante but was Americanized into Merchant. Her mother's side is Irish.
  • Sal Mineo, born Salvatore Mineo, Jr. (January 10, 1939 – February 12, 1976) American actor and theater director, famous for his Academy Award-nominated performance opposite James Dean in the film Rebel Without a Cause. Mineo, born in The Bronx, New York City as the son of a Sicilian coffin maker, was enrolled by his mother in dancing and acting school at an early age.
  • Vincente Minnelli (Feb 28, 10 – July 25, 1986) born in Chicago, IL; noted film director; also father of Academy Award winning actress Liza Minnelli; he was of half-Sicilian heritage on his paternal side.
  • Mario Nugara American ballet artist, director and teacher. He is the founder and artistic director of the City of Angels Ballet School. Artistic Director of the California Riverside Ballet from 2010 to 2015. He was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, of Italian (Sicilian) and Polish descent. He is the subject of television documentary "Turning Point, City of Angels Ballet" and is featured in the book "Unselfish, Love Thy Neighbor As Thy Selfie".
  • Nick Oliveri (born October 21, 1971, in Palm Desert, California) musician. He plays bass guitar, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, and is a vocalist. His main music project is Mondo Generator, which he has fronted since 1997. He is most widely known for his work with Queens of the Stone Age. His far Sicilian origins are visible in the typical surname.
  • Al Pacino, born Alfredo James Pacino (born April 25, 1940, in The Bronx, New York) American film actor. Pacino is the son of Salvatore Pacino (who was born in Sicily) and Rose Gerardi (the daughter of a Sicilian born father and a New York-born mother of Sicilian descent). His parents divorced while Pacino was still a child. His maternal grandparents originate from Corleone, Sicily, while his paternal grandparents originate from San Fratello, Sicily.
  • Louis Prima born into a musical family of Sicilian descent in New Orleans. He studied violin for several years as a child. His older brother Leon Prima was a well regarded local bandleader. Prima was proud of his heritage, and made a point of letting the audience know at every performance that he was Sicilian -American and from New Orleans. His singing and playing showed that he absorbed many of the same influences as his fellow Crescent City musician, Louis Armstrong, particularly in his hoarse voice and scat singing.
  • Mario Puzo, (October 15, 1920 – July 2, 1999) American author known for his fictional books about the Mafia. Puzo was born into a family of Sicilian immigrants living in the "Hell's Kitchen" neighborhood of New York City. Many of his books draw heavily on this Sicilian heritage.
  • Gregorio Prestopino (June 29, 1907 – December 16, 1984) Italian American artist that was known for his Depression error artwork, as well as his depictions of Italian art. He was born and grew up in Little Italy, Manhattan, to Antonino Prestopino and Letteria Rando, both of whom immigrated from Messina, Sicily.
  • Matthew Randazzo V, (March 13, 1984, in New Orleans) American true crime writer and historian known for his work on the American Mafia.
  • Leah Remini, (born June 15, 1970, in Brooklyn, New York) actress. She is best known for her role as Carrie Heffernan on the sitcom The King of Queens. Her father George Remini, owner of an asbestos company, originates from Sicily. Her mother Vicki Marshall, a high school principal, is Jewish.
  • Giovanni Ribisi, born Giovanni Antonino Ribisi (born December 17, 1974, in Los Angeles, California) actor. His father, Albert Anthony Ribisi, is a musician. Ribisi's paternal grandfather was the son of farmers from Sicily, as the typical surname may suggest.
  • Pete Rugolo, (born December 25, 1915) Sicilian-born composer and arranger. He was born in Patti, Sicily, but his parents emigrated to the United States in 1920 and settled in Santa Rosa, California. He started his musical career playing the baritone, like his father, but he quickly branched out into other instruments, notably the French horn and the piano. He is most famous for his writing for the Stan Kenton Orchestra, although he led a long and successful career as a composer and arranger based in Los Angeles for many years. He has written for the Four Freshmen (for whom he was musical director) and many others.
  • Martin Scorsese, (pronounced as Scor-SEH-see) (born November 17, 1942, in Queens, New York, USA) multi-Oscar nominated film director. Martin Scorsese came from a working class Sicilian -American family, hailing from the Sicilian town of Polizzi Generosa; his father Luciano Charles Scorsese (1913–1993) was a pants presser in New York's garment district. He struggled to earn enough money to attend university, but has shown enormous gratitude to his parents for helping him realize his dreams. His parents were the subject of Scorsese's documentary Italianamerican and made numerous cameo appearances in his films before their deaths. For years, his mother worked as the official caterer for all of Scorsese's films and his father helped in the wardrobe department.
  • Gia Scala, born Josefina Grazia Scoglio in Liverpool, England, to a Sicilian father, Pietro Scoglio, and an Irish mother, Eileen O'Sullivan. Raised from infancy in Sicily, she moved to the United States at age sixteen where she graduated Bayside High School and later worked in New York City. She studied acting and in 1954 was signed to a contract by Universal Studios in Hollywood where her name was changed to Gia Scala. She received wide recognition for her performance of "Anna" in The Guns of Navarone (1961 film). Her life ended with an accidental drug overdose in 1972. Gia Scala is interred in the Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California.
  • Anthony Scarpa, musician.
  • Vincent Schiavelli, (November 10, 1948 – December 26, 2005) noted character actor known for his work in film and on television. He was born into a Sicilian/Italian-American family in Brooklyn, New York. He studied acting through the Theater Program at New York University and began working on the stage in the 1960s. Having a respected Sicilian chef for a grandfather rubbed off on Vincent Schiavelli, as he is also the author of a number of cookbooks and food articles for magazines and newspapers. He received a James Beard Foundation Journalism Award in 2001 and has been nominated on a number of other occasions. He succumbed to lung cancer at age 57, passing away at his home in Polizzi Generosa, Italy, the town in Sicily where his grandfather emigrated from and which he wrote about in his 2002 book, Many Beautiful Things: Stories and Recipes from Polizzi Generosa (ISBN 0-7432-1528-1).
  • Frank Sinatra, born Francis Albert Sinatra (December 12, 1915 – May 14, 1998) American singer who is considered one of the finest vocalists of all time, renowned for his impeccable phrasing and timing. Many critics place him alongside Bing Crosby, Elvis Presley, and The Beatles as the most important popular music figures of the 20th century. [1] Sinatra launched a second career as a dramatic film actor, and became admired for a screen persona distinctly tougher than his smooth singing style. Sinatra also had a larger-than-life presence in the public eye, and as "The chairman of the board" became an American icon, known for his brash, sometimes swaggering attitude, as embodied by his signature song "My Way". He was born in Hoboken, New Jersey, as the only child of a quiet Sicilian fireman father, Anthony Martin Sinatra (1894–1969). Anthony had emigrated to the United States in 1895. His mother, Natalie Della Gavarante (1896–1977), was a talented, tempestuous Ligurian, who worked as a part-time abortionist. She was known was "Dolly", and emigrated in 1897.
  • Tony Sirico, (born July 29, 1942, in Brooklyn, New York) actor who is most famous for his role as Paulie Walnuts on the HBO television series The Sopranos. Prior to becoming an actor, Sirico spent some time in jail for holding up a number of night clubs in the late 1960s and early 1970s. While in prison, he became interested in acting from watching a theater group that came to perform. When he got out of jail, Sirico played gangsters in a number of films.
  • Britney Spears, born Britney Jean Spears (December 2, 1981, in McComb, Mississippi) is an American recording artist and entertainer. Her grandmother Lilian Irene Portelli was a Sicilian immigrant.
  • Sylvester Stallone, born Sylvester Enzio Stallone (July 6, 1946, in New York City) American film actor, director, producer and screenwriter. He is often referred to by his nickname, "Sly". He achieved his greatest successes in a number of action films, notably the Rocky and Rambo series. He was born to Frank Stallone Sr. (a beautician who was an immigrant from Castellammare del Golfo, Sicily) and Jacqueline "Jackie" Labofish, an American astrologer of 1/4 Russian Jewish descent.
  • Tommy Tallarico, born Thomas V. Tallarico (born February 18, 1968) accomplished American video game music composer.
  • Johnny Thunders, born John Anthony Genzale, Jr. (July 15, 1952 – April 23, 1991) rock and roll guitarist and singer, first with the New York Dolls, the proto-punk glam rockers of the early 1970s. During the late 1970s, he was a familiar figure on the New York punk scene, both with The Heartbreakers and as a solo artist. His guitar work was highly influential in punk rock music.
  • Aida Turturro, (born September 25, 1962) actress who is best known for playing Janice Soprano, sister of New Jersey mob boss, Tony Soprano, on the HBO television series The Sopranos, a role which netted her an Emmy Award nomination.
  • John Turturro, (born February 28, 1957) American actor. He has appeared in over sixty movies, and is well known for his ability to effortlessly change both his demeanour and physique. Turturro was born in Brooklyn, New York to a Sicilian Catholic family. He completed his MFA at the Yale School of Drama. He worked as an extra in Raging Bull (1980).
  • Steven Tyler, born Steven Victor Tallarico (March 26, 1948) frontman for the rock band Aerosmith.
  • Mark Valenti (born June 29), American writer for television, films and books.
  • Frank Vincent, (born Frank Vincent Gattuso on August 4, 1939) Italian-American actor. He was born in North Adams, Massachusetts, but was raised in Jersey City, New Jersey. His father was also called Frank. His mother was Mary (née Ricci). Frank has two brothers: Nick and Jimmy. Frank's father was one of six children, all born in the USA to Sicilian immigrants Niccolo Gattuso and Francesca di Peri. He was spotted by Martin Scorsese in a low-budget gangster movie called Death Collector. Scorsese was impressed and hired Vincent to star in Raging Bull. Joe Pesci co-starred with Vincent in The Death Collector and the two were reunited in several other movies; another familiar co-star of Vincent is Robert De Niro.
  • Emanuele Viscuso, (born December 24, 1952, in Palermo) creator of the Sicilian Film Festival, a showcase of Sicilian directors and movies founded in Miami in 2006. He also founded FIMO (International Organ Music Festival) in Castelbuono, Sicily in 2008. Viscuso lives in Miami, in Milan and in Castelbuono, Sicily. Besides his work as president of this festival, Viscuso is a musician, a sculptor, a writer and a designer. His most famous piece is the 45-foot-large sculpture "Wave-bridge on the imaginary" at the Milan Malpensa international airport. His design is mostly expressed with his world famous trompe l'oeil wall paper collection. Emanuele Viscuso has taken part to the Esperia* STS-120/10A Mission, launched on October 23, 2007, from NASA's Kennedy Space Centre, in Florida as delegate in Florida of Accademia Italiana della Cucina, a Cultural Institution of the Italian Republic. The City of Miami Beach, where he resides since November 2000, recognized his cultural involvement in the community with the "Key to the City" on October 17, 2007.
  • Tony Vitale, born "Anthony Neal Vitale" born May 24, 1964, in The Bronx, New York, American film writer, director, producer. His films, Kiss Me Guido, Very Mean Men and One Last Ride have included many characters of Sicilian descent. Vitale is the son of Anthony Ralph Vitale and Mildred (Carmela) Italiano, daughter of immigrants from Agrigento, Sicily.
  • Guy Williams, (January 14, 1924 – May 7, 1989), born Armando Joseph Catalano in New York City, the son of Sicilian immigrants. He was an American actor who played swashbuckling action heroes in the 1950s and 1960s. An accomplished fencer, his most famous role was Zorro in two Walt Disney movies and television series of that name (1957–1959) and also in Lost in Space, as the father of the Robinson family. Nearly a half-century later, Zorro is still being aired all over South America, from Argentina to Venezuela, in some places twice daily. Zorro continues to be the most popular U.S. series ever to have appeared on South American television.
  • Frances Winwar (1900-1985), born Francesca Vinciguerra in Sicily, was a biographer, translator, and fiction writer.
  • Frank Zappa, born Frank Vincent Zappa (December 21, 1940 – December 4, 1993) was a composer, guitarist, singer and satirist. In his 33-year musical career, Zappa proved to be one of the most prolific musicians ever, releasing over 60 albums during his life. His father, Francis Zappa was born in Alcamo, Sicily. His mother Rose Marie Colimore was of half Italian, 1/4 Sicilian and 1/4 French descent.
  • Philip Zimbardo, (born March 23, 1933) American psychologist, best known for his Stanford prison experiment and bestselling introductions to psychology. Zimbardo was born to Sicilian parents, George Zimbardo and Margaret Bisicchia and grew up in New York City, in the South Bronx.
  • Lady Gaga, (born March 28, 1986) American singer-songwriter. Her father Joseph was born on Sicily.
  • Jon Bon Jovi, born John Francis Bongiovi, Jr., in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, ... his father was born in Sciacca, near Agrigento in Sicily.
  • Liza Minnelli (born March 12, 1946) American actress and singer. She is the daughter of actress and singer Judy Garland and Garland's second husband, film director Vincente Minnelli who was the son of a Sicilian immigrant.
  • Tony Danza (born April 21, 1951) American actor best known for starring on the television series Taxi and Who's the Boss? Danza was born Anthony Salvatore Iadanza in Brooklyn, New York, to parents Anne Cammisa (1925–1993) and Matty Iadanza (1920–1983). Anne was born in Campobello di Mazara (Trapani) Sicily and immigrated to the United States with five brothers and sisters in 1929. Danza is a full blooded Sicilian American.
  • Eve Mauro (born December 21, 1981) actress and model born in Atlanta, Georgia. Her father, Antonio Alfio DiMauro was born in Catania, Sicily on September 7, 1934.



  • Frank Cannova, (Jan 14, 1911 – November 29, 2005) Florida hotelier, businessman and entrepreneur.
  • Joe Plumeri, President and CEO of Willis Group Holdings, and owner of the Trenton Thunder.
  • Rachael Ray, a popular talk show host and TV chef who has had several shows on the Food Network and in syndication.
  • Judith Regan (born August 17, 1953) book publisher and talk show host. She launched the careers of novelists Wally Lamb, Jess Walter, Gregory Maguire, Walter Kirn, and Doug Coupland. She has published Howard Stern, Michael Moore, General Tommy Franks, and legendary journalists, artists, historians, designers and hundreds more. She hosts a show on SiriusXm and hosted a television show for 9 years on the Fox News Channel. She is Sicilian and Irish.
  • Anthony T. Rossi (1900–1993) born as Antonio Talamo Rossi in Messina, Sicily. He had the equivalent of a high school education. He emigrated to the United States when he was 21 years old and educated himself to the point that he became an expert mathematician and mechanical engineer. He founded Tropicana Products, a producer of orange juice founded in 1947 in Bradenton, Florida, in the United States which grew from 50 employees to over 8,000 in 2004, expanding into multiple product lines and became one of the world's largest producers and marketers of citrus juice.


Jazz artists


Joseph L. Alioto (February 12, 1916 – January 29, 1998), Mayor of San Francisco 1968–1976.

Professors and scientists

  • Pietro Bachi (1787 – August 22, 1853), first professor from Italy teaching at Harvard University. In 1826 he became professor of Italian, Spanish and Portuguese language and kept this assignment until 1846.
  • David J. Impastato, M.D., (January 8, 1903 – February 28, 1986), born in Mazara del Vallo, Sicily, to Domenico Impastato (a schoolteacher) and Rosaria Fugali Impastato. The youngest of ten siblings, he emigrated to the U.S. in 1912 and rose to become one of the most distinguished psychiatrists of his day, pioneering the use of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in the United States.
  • Philip Zimbardo, PhD. (born March 23, 1933 New York (South Bronx), N.Y.: Professor Emeritus, Stanford University, renowned psychologist.

See also


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on November 24, 2006. Retrieved July 6, 2008.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)"Let me just say how awesome it is to see Patti Lupone – THE Patti LuPone – live. I was reminded of the story I once heard about how, when Madonna wanted to rehearse on a stage where Patti Lupone was rehearsing, Patti taped a note on the door saying, "Only one Sicilian Diva allowed on the stage at a time." That's why I love her, true story or not. She brings those balls to her Sweeney character."
  2. ^ Marquard, Bryan (June 22, 2010). "John Ferruggio, at 84; hero of 1970 Pan Am hijacking". Boston Globe. Retrieved June 27, 2010.

External links

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