Frank Campanella

Frank Campanella

American character actor
Date of Birth: 12.03.1919
Country: USA

  1. Biography of Frank Campanella
  2. Early Life and Career
  3. Breakthrough and Later Career
  4. Broadway and Legacy

Biography of Frank Campanella

Frank Campanella was an American character actor known for his distinctive Italian-American appearance and imposing physical presence. He was born on March 12, 1919, in New York City to Sicilian immigrants Maria and Filippo. His father was a musician who played in orchestras for Eddie Cantor, Jimmy Durante, and Al Jolson.

Early Life and Career

At a young age, Campanella showed a strong interest in music and pursued it seriously. However, he eventually found himself drawn to the acting profession and enrolled in Manhattan College, focusing on the study of dramatic arts. He began his acting career in a lighthearted and enjoyable manner, portraying the character Mooka in the first season of the popular children's science fiction series "Captain Video and his Video Rangers" from 1949 to 1954.

In the following years, Campanella mostly appeared in one or two episodes of American television shows, primarily revolving around crime and law enforcement themes. He appeared in films such as "The Man Behind the Badge" and "Danger," as well as episodes of TV series like "Suspicion," "Playwrights '56," and "Studio One."

Breakthrough and Later Career

During the 1960s, Campanella found the role that would become his signature in the film industry. He appeared as a station man in John Frankenheimer's science fiction thriller "Seconds" (1966), played a bartender in Mel Brooks' comedy "Springtime for Hitler," and transformed into a lieutenant in the dramatic film "The Movie Murderer" (1970). He also portrayed "Big" Jim Colosimo in the gangster film "Capone" (1975).

Campanella collaborated with director Garry Marshall on seven occasions, appearing in ensemble casts for films such as "Flamingo Kid," "Nothing in Common," "Overboard," "Beaches," "Pretty Woman," "Frankie and Johnny," and "Exit to Eden." In the 1970s and 1980s, Campanella expanded his television career, appearing in series such as "The Mod Squad," "Hardcastle and McCormick," "The Love Boat," "Barnaby Jones," "The Rockford Files," and "St. Elsewhere."

Broadway and Legacy

Campanella also had a presence on Broadway, appearing in several musicals, including productions of "Guys and Dolls" and "Nobody Loves an Albatross." After years of inactivity, Campanella passed away at the age of 87 on December 30, 2006, in his home in the San Fernando Valley. He had previously assisted Robert De Niro in learning the Sicilian language for his role as a young Vito Corleone in the film "The Godfather Part II."