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THE NATIONAL ITALIAN AMERICAN FOUNDATION GALA
Danny Aiello poses for pictures at the National Italian American Foundation Gala at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York on April 20, 2004. (UPI Photo/Laura Cavanaugh)
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Daniel Louis "Danny" Aiello, Jr. (pronounced /aɪˈɛloʊ/; born June 20, 1933) is an American actor who has appeared in numerous motion pictures, including Once Upon a Time in America, Ruby, The Godfather: Part II, Hudson Hawk, The Purple Rose of Cairo, Moonstruck, Léon, Two Days in the Valley, and Dinner Rush. He had a pivotal role in the 1989 Spike Lee film Do the Right Thing as Salvatore 'Sal' Frangione, the pizzeria owner, which earned him a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Aiello is also known for his role as Don Domenico Clericuzio in the miniseries Mario Puzo's The Last Don.

Aiello, the second youngest of six children, was born in Manhattan, the son of Italian American parents Frances (née Pietrocova), a seamstress who was a native of Naples, Italy, and Daniel Louis Aiello, Sr., a laborer. Aiello's father deserted the family even though his wife had gone blind. For many years, Aiello had publicly condemned his father's desertion of his children and his blind wife. Aiello reconciled with his father in 1993, but to this day harbors a resentment of his father's conduct. He moved to the South Bronx when he was age 7 and later attended James Monroe High School. At 16-years-old, Aiello lied about his age in order to enlist in the U.S. Army. After serving for three years, he returned to New York City and did various jobs in order to support himself and later his family. Aiello also once served as a union representative for Greyhound bus workers and was a night club bouncer.

Aiello broke into films in the early 1970s. One of his earliest roles came as a ballplayer in the 1973 baseball drama, Bang the Drum Slowly, with Robert DeNiro. Aiello had a walk-on role as small-time hood Tony Rosato in The Godfather Part II (1974), ad-libbing the famous line "Michael Corleone says hello!" during a hit on a rival gangster Frank Pentangelli (Michael V. Gazzo).

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Danny Aiello."
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