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Vito Scotti (Vito Giusto Scotti)

Vito Scotti

Vito Scotti entered movies and television by the late 1940s. He made his film debut, playing an uncredited role as a Mexican youth in Illegal Entry (1949), with Howard Duff and George Brent. By 1953, Scotti replaced J. Carrol Naish as Luigi Basco, an Italian immigrant who ran a Chicago antique store, on the television version of the radio show Life with Luigi. Five years later, he portrayed another ethnic character, Rama from India (among other characters) in the live-action segment “Gunga Ram” on the Andy Devine children’s show, Andy’s Gang, where he also played a foil to the trickster Froggy the Gremlin. He was cast as French Duclos in the 1959 episode “Deadly Tintype” of the NBC Western series, The Californians. In 1963, Scotti was cast as the Italian farmer Vincenzo Perugia in the episode “The Tenth Mona Lisa” of the CBS anthology series, General Electric True, hosted by Jack Webb. In the episode, Perugia in 1911 steals the Mona Lisa from the Louvre Museum in Paris but is apprehended by a French detective when he attempts to unload the painting on an art dealer. He also appeared in television series, such as How to Marry a Millionaire (as Jules in the 1958 episode “Loco and the Gambler”), in four episodes of The Rifleman, Rescue 8 (1959), State Trooper (1959), Sugarfoot (1959), The Texan (1959), Johnny Staccato (1960), The Twilight Zone (Mr. Bevis), (1960), Target: The Corruptors (1962), Lassie, Stoney Burke (1963), The Wide Country (1963), Dr. Kildare (1963), Going My Way (1963), Breaking Point (1963), The Dick Van Dyke Show (1963), and The Addams Family (1964–1965).

Vito Scotti appeared in two episodes of Bonanza, in Gunsmoke (1965–1970), The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1965 and 1967), The Wild Wild West, Ironside, several episodes of Columbo, The Monkees, The Flying Nun, Get Smart, Hogan’s Heroes, as one of The Penguin’s henchmen in two episodes of Batman, two episodes of The Bionic Woman (1976), and two episodes of The Golden Girls (1988-1989). He played Geppetto in “Geppetto’s Workshop” in the 1980s. Also in the 1960s, he played a Japanese sailor who did not know World War II was over in “Gilligan’s Island” in the first season (1964–65) and also Dr. Boris Balinkoff, mad scientist, in the third season of the same program. Vito Scotti was cast as a Mexican bandit in two one-hour episodes of Zorro entitled “El Bandido” and “Adios El Cuchillo” alongside Gilbert Roland, and an Italian restaurant owner in episode 35 of season one of Bewitched. The actor appeared in hundreds of film and television roles, including the train engineer in Von Ryan’s Express, Nazorine in The Godfather (1972), as Vittorio in Chu Chu and the Philly Flash (1981), and most notably as the scene-stealing cook in How Sweet It Is! (1968). In the pivotal scene, Scotti grabs a flustered Debbie Reynolds and plants a kiss on her midriff. Vito Scotti portrayed Colonel Enrico Ferrucci in The Secret War of Harry Frigg (1968) and later appeared in the Academy Award-winning comedy Cactus Flower (1969), as Señor Arturo Sánchez, who unsuccessfully tries to seduce Ingrid Bergman’s character. He voiced the Italian Cat in the Walt Disney animated film The Aristocats (1970), and appeared with Lindsay Wagner on her television special, Another Side of Me (1977). His last screen performance was as the manager at Vesuvio’s in the criminal comedy Get Shorty(1995). Vito Scotti died of lung cancer at the Motion Picture and Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, California on June 5, 1996. He was interred at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, with his first wife Irene, in the Abbey of the Psalms Mausoleum, Sanctuary of Light, G-4, crypt 1253. Vito Scotti was survived by his widow Beverly, son Ricardo, daughter Carmen, and his brother Jerry.

Born

  • January, 26, 1918
  • USA
  • San Francisco, California

Died

  • June, 05, 1996
  • USA
  • Woodland Hills, California

Cause of Death

  • lung cancer

Cemetery

  • Hollywood Forever Cemetery
  • Hollywood, California
  • USA

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