**(Debi Mazar) Denise Iannello, a tough-talking Queens-born secretary working
for the Los Angeles legal firm of McKenzie, Brackman, Kelsey, Markowitz, and
Morales (introduced during the 1993-93 season). The Denise character first
appeared on the legal drama CIVIL WARS/ABC/1991-93.
**(Ron Dean) Sgt. Gino Gianelli, Italian police officer serving on the same
Chicago beat as the .357 magnum toting Det. Katy Mahoney, an Irish female
version of "Dirty Harry." Also featured was Diane Dorsey as Rose Gianelli.
LAVERNE AND SHIRLEY/ABC/1976-83
*(Penny Marshall/costar) Laverne De Fazio, Italian-American factory worker
employed by Shotz brewery in Milwaukee in the bottle-cap division. Phil Foster
played her hot-headed father, Frank De Fazio who owned a combination Pizza
Parlor and Bowling Alley. Eddie Mekka appeared as Carmine "The Big Ragoo"
Ragusa, an aspiring singer and dancer who was the boyfriend to Shirley Feeney,
Laverne's co-worker and roommate. During the 1981-82 season, a Saturday-morning
cartoon version of the program found LaVerne and Shirley in the Army. See also -
LAW & ORDER/NBC/1990+
**(John Fiore) Anthony Profaci, police detective assigned to the 27th precinct
in New York City. On episode “Exile: A Law and Order Movie” Profaci admits to
taking a mob bribe to hold evidence so he could finance fertility treatments for
his wife, Shirley. Actor Paul Sorvino also appeared as Phil Cerreta, a police
sergeant detective with an Italian background who investigated violent crimes.
He is married with five children. His partner is Det. Michael Logan (an Irish
cop). Detective Cerreta replaced Det Sgt. Greeney (an Irish cop) who was killed
on duty. On episode “Prince of Darkness” Det. Sgt. Cerreta was wounded in the
line of duty and consequently was assigned to the 110th precinct as an
Administrator on episode “Point of View.”
A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN/CBS/1993
**(Wendy Makkena) Mae Mordabito, Italian-American man-hungry out-fielder who
played with Rockford Peaches, an all women's professional baseball team formed
during the Second World War when all the men in America were overseas. The
series was based on the 1992 film of the same name with pop singer Madonna in
the role of sultry, tough-minded Mae Mordabito.
LEAVE IT TO BEAVER/CBS/ABC/1957-63
**(Rusty Stevens) Larry Mondello, the young Italian-American friend of Theodore
"Beaver" Cleaver, a youngster living in the town of Mayfield, USA.
*(Don Calfa/costar) Oscar Armismendi, Italian owner of Tri-Star Bail Bonds
Agency who employed college students Jack Gage and his roommate, David Taylor as
"legmen." Also featured was Robert DoQui as Lt. Tedisco.
**(Steve Franken) Lt. Samwell "Sanpan" Panosian, Italian-American Marine Corp
officer stationed at Camp Pendelton, California with newly appointed easygoing
fellow Lt. William "Bill" Rice.
LIFE GOES ON/ABC/1989-93
*(Patti LuPone/costar) Elizabeth "Libby" Giordano, Italian-Catholic singer and
dancer who gave up her career to marry divorced construction worker Drew
Thatcher. Also featured were Al Ruscio as Libby's father, Sal; Penny Stanton as
Libby's mother, Teresa; Gina Hecht as Libby's cousin, Angela; Mary Page Keller
as Libby's younger sister, Gina; Patti LuPone in a dual role as Libby's cousin
Gabrielle "Gaby" Giordano; Kellie Martin as Becca Thatcher, Libby's daughter;
and Chris Burke as Charles "Corky" Thatcher, Libby's son with Down syndrome.
THE LIFE OF LEONARDO DA VINCI/CBS/1972/PBS/1974 (Mini-series)
*(Phillippe Leroy) Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), Italian painter, architect,
sculptor, musician, engineer and scientist born in Vinci, Tuscany who was the
focus of this five-part historical drama produced by RAI Italian TV network.
Also featured were Bruno Cirino as the Italian sculptor, painter, poet
Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564), and Alberto Fiorini and Arduino Paolini as
Leonardo da Vinci in his younger years. Giulio Bosetti served as the guide and
narrator on the series.
**(Michael Watson) Fast Eddie Santini, video photographer of Italian descent
working for Los Angeles' Channel 3. Also featured was Bruce McGill as Joe
Vitale, the producer of the early evening newcast.
LIFE WITH LUIGI/CBS/1952-53
*(J. Carroll Naish) Luigi Basco, an Italian immigrant newly arrived to Chicago
from the old country who opened an antique store. His friend Pasquale, (Alan
Reed) a former immigrant and now a restaurant owner had paid Luigi's boat fare
to America with hopes of getting Luigi to marry his portly daughter, Rosa (Jody
Gilbert). The series was dropped in midseason and reappeared in the spring of
1953 with Vito Scotti as Luigi Basco; Thomas Gomez as Pasquale and Muriel
Landers as Rosa. LIFE WITH LUIGI was a spin-off of a CBS radio series first
airing in 1948.
LIVING IN CAPTIVITY/FOX/1998
*(Lenny Venito/costar) Carmine Santucci, a loud-mouthed, bigoted
Italian-American (a.k.a. "King of Mufflers") who lived in a gated, planned
suburban community with his wife, Lisa (played by Mia Cottett).
*(Leah Remini/costar) Charlie Brisco, a tough Italian street kid (a girl) who
was offered the chance to live in New York City and train as a model under the
mentorship of Trish Carlin, the head of the Carlin Agency. This series was a
spin-off of WHO'S THE BOSS/ABC/1984-92 that featured Italian-American character
Tony Micelli played by Tony Danza.
*(Robert Walden/costar) Joe Rossi, eager, go-getting Italian reporter with a
nose for news working at the Los Angeles Tribune with co-worker Billie Newman
and his gruff supervisor, editor Lou Grant. Also featured was Vincent Baggetta
as Greg Serantino, a newspaper employee.
LOVE & WAR/CBS/1992-95
*(Annie Potts/costar) Dana Palladino, an Italian-American chef who ran the food
concession at the "Blue Shamrock," a restaurant/bar in New York City. Dana later
fell in love with Jack Stein, a Jewish newspaper columnist who frequented the
LOVE THAT BOB/NBC/CBS/NBC/1955-59
**(Donna Martell) Maria Di Paolo, beautiful Italian model seen on a recurring
role who was pursued by suave, ladies' man photographer Bob Collins who called
her " My Little Venutian Ambassador of Loveliness."
*(Vincent Irizarry) Gino Santangelo, Italian-American business who rises in the
Las Vegas casino industry and passes on his legacy to his daughter, Lucky. The
miniseries is based on the novels Chances and Lucky by Jackie Collins. Cast
includes Michael Nader as Enzio Bonnatti, Eric Braedon as Dimitri Stanislopolous,
Sandra Bullock as Maria, Stephanie Beacham as Susan Martino, Shawnee Smith as
Olympia Stanislopolous, Alan Rosenberg as Costa, Luca Bercovici as Santino
Bonnatti and Harold Pruett as Dario Santangelo.
**(G. W. Bailey) Sergeant Luther Rizzo, disheveled Louisiana native of Italian
descent who ran the motor pool at the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital
stationed in Ouijongbou, Korea during the Korean War.
*(David Naughton) Billy Manucci, young Italian-American college student
(aspiring teacher) who lives with his family in Passaic New Jersey and hangs out
at a disco called the Inferno. Other cast included Lou Antonio as Billy's
father, Joseph; Ellen Travolta as Billy's mother, Dorothy; Denise Miller as his
sister, Tina; Greg Antonacci as his swinging older brother, Tony; Jennifer
Perito as Ivy Papastegios, the owner of Tasty Treats, an ice cream parlor where
Billy works; Ralph Seymour as Al "Kingfish" Sorrentino, Billy's friend; and Gary
Prendergast as Bernard Fusco, another friend. The series was inspired by the
popularity of the film Saturday Night Fever (1977) starring John Travolta as
Tony Manero, an Italian hardware store worker who danced the night away at local
*(Giuliana Santini) Det. Angela Vecchio, Italian-American police officer who
interacted with Dr. Nicholas "Nick" Maloney, a half-Irish and half-Jewish police
psychiatrist who prefers cracking wise to quoting Freud.
*(Lila Kaye) Mama Renate Malone, an Italian widow of an Irish policeman who
lived in a fourth floor walk-up apartment in Brooklyn. She was the hostess of a
local TV station program called "Cooking with Mama Malone," which was produced
in the midst of her busy home. Her family included Randee Heller as her divorced
daughter, Connie Karamakopoulos; Evan Richards as her grandson Frankie
Karamakopoulos; Dino Forresti as Mama's younger brother, Dino Forresti; and
Candice Azzara as Renate's niece, Rosa. Also featured were Ralph Manza as Padre
Guardino, an elderly parish priest; and Alice Ghostley as Renata's friend, Neta
*(Anna Demetrio) Mama Rosa, an Italian-American landlord who operated a
theatrical boardinghouse located in Hollywood. Vito Scotti appeared as Nikolai,
a violin instructor.
THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E./NBC/1964-68
**(Mario Siletti) Mr. Del Floria, the owner of the Del Floria Tailor shop which
fronted as the secret entrance of the worldwide law enforcement agency known as
U.N.C.L.E. Agents entered through dressing rooms at the back of shop.
THE MAN IN THE FAMILY/ABC/1991
*(Ray Sharkey) Sal Bavasso, a wastrel wheeler-dealer Italian-American son who
returned home to Brooklyn to help run his family corner grocery store (Carmine's
Deli) after the death of his father. His family included Julie Bavasso as his
mother Angie; Leah Remini as his teenage sister, Tina; Anne DeSalvo as his
divorced sister, Anne; Billy L. Sullivan as Annie's son, Robby; and Louis Guss
as Uncle Bennie. Don Stark appeared as Sal's buddy, Cha Cha, a dry cleaner.
*(Robert Loggia) Nick Mancuso, a veteran Federal agent of Italian descent who
would rather catch crooks than retire. His strong point was never compromising
the truth even in the face of extreme political pressures. Robert Loggia FBI
agent character was first seen on the 1988 TV Movie Favorite Son.
*(Mantovani) Mantovani, an English orchestra leader (of Italian descent) and
host of this syndicated musical program produced in England in the 1950's.
Popularly known as Mantovani, his full name was Annunzio Paolo Mantovani.
MARCO POLO/NBC/1982 (Miniseries)
*(Ken Marshall) Marco Polo, thirteenth-century Venetian (1254-1324) who traveled
to the Middle East, Persia and to China in 1275 to visit the court of Kubla Khan
in Cambulac (present-day Peking). Other cast included Denholm Elliott as Marco's
father, Niccolo Polo; Tony Vogel as Marco's uncle Matteo Polo; Burt Lancaster as
Teobaldo Visconti (aka Pope Gregory X); John Gielgud as The Doge; Anne Bancroft
as Marco's mother; Sada Thompson as Aunt Flora and Kathryn Dowling as Monica;
and Tony Lo Bianco as Brother Nicholas. Directed by Giulliano Montaldo, this
ten-hour miniseries was produced by RAI, the Italian television network. (filmed
in Italy, Morocco, Mongolia and China).
*(James Farentino/costar) Frank DeMarco, aggressive managing editor of the
Chicago Eagle who interacted with Mary Brenner, the tabloid's newly hired
consumer help-line columnist.
**(John Aprea) Lt. Vince Novelli, a Southern California police detective and
friend of millionaire private investigator, Matt Houston. Novelli, often invited
friends to his mother's Italian restaurant where Mama Novelli (Penny Santon)
would inevitably try to overfeed them or to find a nice girl for them to marry.
**(George DiCenzo) Lt. Ed DeNisco, a Italian San Pedro policeman who supervised
Jim McClain, a veteran white cop newly returned to the force from retirement.
Also featured was Brooke Bundy as Marie DeNisco.
*(Ernest Borgnine) Lt. Cdr. Quinton McHale, a naval officer of Irish-Italian
descent stationed on the Pacific island of Taratupa during the Second World War.
Later in the series, McHale and his rowdy crew were transferred to the Italian
seaport town of Voltafiore where they met Mayor Mario Lugatto (Jay Novello), a
conniving town politician; and town locals, Mama Rosa Giovanni (Peggy Mondo),
and Dino Barone (Dick Wilson).
THE MICKEY MOUSE CLUB/ABC/1955-59
*(Annette Funicello) Annette, the dimpled, dark-eyed daughter of
Italian-American auto repair shop owner who starred on Walt Disney's THE MICKEY
MOUSE CLUB in the late 1950s. Dressed in the standard white turtleneck with the
name "Annette" emblazoned in block letters across her chest, Annette became the
very image of American wholesomeness and sweetness. In later years she starred
in a series of Beach Party movies that first played in 1963. Even then she
maintained her prime and proper image by wearing a modest two-piece bathing suit
rather than the more revealing bikini. Annette was also the spokeswoman for
Skippy peanut butter and in 1987 reprised her role as former beach bunny in the
campy feature film "Back to the Beach." In 1992, Annette revealed that since
1987 she suffered from multiple sclerosis, a disabling disease that affects the
central nervous system. See also THE DANNY THOMAS SHOW.
MISERY LOVES COMPANY/FOX/1995
*(Dennis Boutsikaris/costar) Joe DeMarco, recently divorced Italian-American
film professor now living with his single younger brother, Mitch (played by
Christopher Meloni). The two brothers meet with their friends at Nicky St.
Hubbins, a local bar.
*(Ross Martin/costar) Andamo, a Latin sidekick of a gambler known as Mr. Lucky.
Andamo manages the Fortuna, a gambling yacht moored in international waters off
the American coast. Andamo and Lucky originally fled from a Latin American
country where they were involved in gun running and (by accident) the
assassination plot of El Presidente.
**(Allyce Beasley) Agnes DiPesto, receptionist for the Los Angeles-based Blue
Moon Detective Agency. When Agnes answered the firm's telephones, she delivered
a greeting in rhyme. For example, "Blue Moon Detective Agency. If persons are
missing, if objects are lost, we' find them for you at a reasonable cost."
*(Joe Sirola, Naomi Stevens) Tony "Papa" and Rose "Mama" Montefusco, an
middle-class Italian couple residing in Connecticut. The series focused on the
noisy Sunday dinner meetings of three generations of their family which included
Ron Carey as their son, Frank, a dentist; John Aprea as their son, Joseph, a
priest; Sal Viscuso as their son, Nunzio, a struggling actor; Linda Dano as
Angelina, their daughter. Also featured were Phoebe Dorin as Frankie's wife,
Theresa; Bill Cort as Jim Cooney, Angelina's WASP husband; and Damon Raskin,
Jeffrey Palladini, Dominque Pinassi, Bobby Paris as the grandchildren, Anthony
Patrick, Gina, Anthony Carmine, and Jerome.
THE MOTHERS-IN -LAW/NBC/1967-69
*(Kaye Ballard/costar) Kaye Buell (nee Kaye Bellota), an interfering but loving
mother-in-law who constantly meddled with her son and his newlywed wife, Suzie.
Although Kaye meddled, she did provide Jerry & Suzie with a continuous supply of
spaghetti and meatballs. Also featured were Roger C. Carmel and Richard Deacon
as Kaye's husband, Roger; and Jerry Fogel as Jerry Beull, Kaye's son. In her
younger years, Kaye sang under the name Angelina DiVina, "The Little Girl with
the Big Voice." When she ironed her clothes, she belted out a lively rendition of
"La Dona Mobalay."
*(Maggie Han/costar) Kimiko Fannuchi, a beautiful Eurasian fashion model who
lived in San Francisco loft apartment with Daedalus Patrick Murphy, a lovable,
but alcoholic insurance investigator. Kimiko's father was Italian; her mother
**(Nestor Carbonell) Gianni (aka Johnny), an Italian-American gigolo who hung
out at Survival Gym, a posh Manhattan health club.
MY FRIEND TONY/NBC/1969
*(Tony Novello/costar) Enzo Cerusico, a poor Italian street child who survived
the fighting of World War II to grow up and relocate to America where he joined
forces with a criminology Professor whom he had met years before in Italy. His
smooth, romantic style contrasted sharply with his conservative mentor.
MY MOTHER THE CAR/NBC/1965-66
**(Avery Schreiber) Bernard Manzini, an eccentric antique car collector who
coveted a 1928 Porter automobile owned by lawyer Dave Crabtree. Dave continually
refused to sell the vehicle because his mother's deceased spirit now resided
inside the car.
MY SISTER SAM/CBS/1986-88
**(Jenny O'Hara) Dixie Randazzo, mother of six children who worked as an
assistant for Samantha Russell, the owner of Russell Scouts Photography Studio
in San Francisco, California. Also featured was Stuart Fratkin as Dixie's son,
MY SO-CALLED LIFE/ABC/1994-95
**(Jared Leto) Jordan Catalano, a student at Liberty High School. He is
Italian-American and a loner. He smokes, procures fake ID for those in need and
has a tendency to blink excessively. His academic pursuits are limited to PE and
shop [he was left back two years probably because he has trouble reading].
Jordan's family life is not much to talk about. His father usually beats him. In
his spare time Jordan plays guitar and writes songs for the rock band The Frozen
Embryos. When Jordan needed help with his schoolwork, he enlisted the talents of
genius nerd Brian Krakow, who tutored him in exchange for tips on how to get
women. Jordon's romantic interests included Angela Chase. Unfortunately, he fell
from her grace when he slept with Angela's friend Rayanne Graff. Jordan then
enlisted the aid of Brian to write an apology note known as "The Letter" to win
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