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'The Godfather' actor Carmine Caridi dies at 85

Friday, May 31, 2019

Carmine Caridi, who is best remembered for playing Carmine Rosato in "The Godfather: Part II," has passed away. He was 85.

His representatives told Variety the actor died on Tuesday after being in a coma at Cedars-Sinai hospital here.

"From broadway, to film and television, Carmine spent over six decades entertaining audiences, and nothing made him happier. His talent, wit, warmth, and charm will be missed. Carmine passed peacefully, surrounded by friends and family, yesterday afternoon at Cedars Sinai Hospital," they said in a statement.

Caridi's character in "The Godfather: Part II" played a key role in the territorial feud with Frank Pentangeli (Michael V Gazzo).

The veteran actor also appeared in the final part of "The Godfather" trilogy in a different role - Albert Volpe, an investor in Michael Corleone's casinos who is killed in an attack at a hotel in Atlantic City. Studio executive Robert Evans said in his 1994 memoir "The Kid Stays in the Picture" that Caridi was director Francis Ford Coppola's first choice for the role of Sonny Corleone in "The Godfather". However, Evans he said in the book that he overruled Coppola because he thought Caridi was too tall for the role, which instead went to James Caan.

Besides "The Godfather" series, he also starred in TV shows including “Phyllis,” “Starsky and Hutch,” “Taxi,” “NYPD Blue” as Detective Vince Gotelli and “Fame” as Angelo Martelli.

Interestingly, in 2004, Caridi became the first person to be expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS).

He was booted out for passing on screeners of movies vying for Oscar attention. He along with Russell Sprague were sued by Sony and Time Warner on civil charges of copyright infringement. Caridi was cleared of wrongdoing. 

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