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Subject: What a sad, sad, pathetic way for such a talented guy, to go. -Here's another popular actor (albeit character) who also bled to death, but NOBODY remembers his end. ...

The forgotten story of Joe Spinell.
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Date Posted: Saturday, August 04, 11:13:53am
In reply to: His death was immortalized in "Tom's diner" 's message, "Of course, the most famous case I of someone bleeding to death after a fall would be William Holden, who hit his head on a coffee table after falling down drunk, but got up from the fall, sat down, and bled to death--too drunk to realize how badly hurt he was" on Saturday, August 04, 05:55:36am

Joe Spinell
[ Joseph J. Spagnuolo ]
(October 28, 1936 January 13, 1989)

American character actor who appeared in numerous films in the 1970s and 1980s, as well as various stage productions on and off Broadway. Because of his large, heavyset frame and imposing looks, Spinell was often cast as criminals, thugs, or corrupt police officers. As a teenager and young adult, Spinell starred in various stage plays, both on and off Broadway.

His notable roles included performances in The Godfather (1972) and The Godfather Part II (1974), Rocky (1976) and Rocky II (1979), Taxi Driver (1976), William Friedkin's Sorcerer (1977) and Cruising (1980), and the psychological slasher film Maniac (1980), which he also wrote.

Life and career
Spinell was born Joseph J. Spagnuolo in Manhattan, New York, of Italian immigrant parents, and the last of six children. His father, Pelegrino Spagnuolo (18921950), died from liver and kidney disease. His mother, Filomena Spagnuolo (19031987), was a bit-part actress who acted in a few movies, some of them alongside her son. Spinell stood 5 foot and 11 inches. He was born at his family's apartment on Second Avenue in Manhattan's Kip's Bay, an area then home to 10,000 Italian Americans. A few years after the death of his father, he moved with his mother and older siblings to Woodside, Queens, New York where he lived off-and-on for the remainder of his life. He was known to abuse drugs and alcohol heavily on and off throughout his career, especially during periods of unemployment. Spinell also suffered most of his life from hemophilia as well as chronic asthma.

His most notable film roles were as mafioso Willie Cicci in "The Godfather" (1972), and "The Godfather Part II" (1974). ...

Spinell was also remembered as loan shark 'Tony Gazzo' in "Rocky", and "Rocky II", with Sylvester Stallone.

Although primarily known as a character actor, Spinell co-wrote
and starred as a serial killer in the 1980 film, Maniac.

...Maniac 2: Mr. Robbie was a 1986 horror short promotional film shot by Joe Spinell to raise financing for a sequel to Spinell's 1980 horror film Maniac. The short film was included with the 30th anniversary edition release of Maniac. The feature-length version of the film was never shot after Spinell's death in 1989.

Towards the end of his life, most of his appearances in films were small parts or cameo appearances. His last film role was a supporting part in the low-budget 1989 action-thriller Rapid Fire (not to be confused with a similar titled film starring Brandon Lee), which was directed by David A. Prior and filmed on location in Mobile, Alabama a few weeks before his death.

Personal life
Spinell was married to adult film star Jean Jennings (1957-2011) from February 1977 to July 1979. Together they had one daughter, but they eventually divorced (this was referenced for Spinell's role in the 1980 film Cruising, where his brutal, closeted NYPD patrolman talks about how his wife had abandoned him by taking their child and leaving for Florida, which is very similar to what actually happened to Spinell right before he began filming this role). A close friend of Sylvester Stallone, Spinell was the godfather of his late son Sage Stallone. He was the distant cousin of New York Giants assistant defensive coach Steve Spagnuolo.

Spinell died in his apartment located off of Greenpoint Avenue in Sunnyside, Queens, New York on January 13, 1989 at the age of 52. Sometime during that morning, he cut himself badly on his glass shower stall door after apparently slipping in his bathtub while showering and soon afterward fell asleep on his couch instead of calling for help, his hemophilia causing him to bleed to death. His body was found by his friend Vincent Gabriele. Vincent had phoned Spinell that evening after a girl who knew Vincent called and said Spinell didn't sound ok. Vincent called, and Spinell asked him to stop over and bring some ice cream and other groceries. However, when he got there about 20 minutes after the call, Spinell did not answer the door. Vincent then called the building superintendent who said he didn't have a key so Vincent called 911. The ambulance workers entered the apartment through the fire escape where they found Spinell dead sitting on his living room couch. Sitting on a white sheet draped over the couch, Spinell bled to death over part of the couch from an apparent deep cut on the back of his head.

Spinell was buried in Calvary Cemetery, Queens near his home, in the family plot, under his birthname of 'Spagnuolo'.

In 2001, director David Gregory made a documentary on the actor called,
"The Joe Spinell Story; A Fascinating Look Back at an Excellent Character".


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Subject Author Date
I LOVED him in the Godfather movies as Willie Cicci! And you are right, I didn't know how his life ended. (NT)Only notable celebrity hemophiliac to bleed to death?Saturday, August 04, 11:45:59am

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