Image of Joe Spinell

Joe Spinell

​Joe Spinell was born Joseph J. Spagnuolo in Manhattan, New York of Italian immigrant parents, and the last of six children. His father, Pelegrino Spagnuolo (b. 1892, d. 1950), died from liver and kidney disease. His mother Filomena Spagnuolo (b. 1903, d. 1987) 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 in Manhattan's Little Italy on 2nd Avenue in Manhattan. 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. Spinell suffered most of his life from hemophilia as well as chronic asthma. Because of his large, heavyset frame and imposing looks, Spinell was often cast as criminals, thugs, or corrupt police officers. His most notable roles were as mafioso Willi Cicci in The Godfather and The Godfather Part II, and as loan shark Tony Gazzo in Rocky and Rocky II. Although primarily known as a character actor, Spinell co-wrote and starred as a serial killer in the 1980 film, Maniac. Joe Spinell died in his apartment on January 13, 1989 at the age of 52. The cause of his untimely death is arguable to this day. Some say that his death was caused by sudden heart attack due to heavy drug use, drinking and emotional distress in light of his mother passing away two years earlier. It is also speculated that he may have died from asthma complications, or bled to death from hemophilia related causes. He was planning a sequel to Maniac before his death. He was buried in Calvary Cemetery, Queens near his home. He is the distant cousin of the American football team St. Louis Ram's Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo. Spinell was married to adult film star Jean Jennings from February 1977 to July 1979. Together they had one daughter, but they eventually divorced.


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Born:
Oct 28, 1936 In Manhattan, New York
Movie/TV Credits:
62
First Appeared:
Movie FantastiCozzi 2016-05-21
Latest Project:
In the movie The Godfather 1972-03-14
Known For
Poster of FantastiCozzi
Poster of The Pick-up Artist
Poster of Monsignor
Poster of Last Embrace
Filmography
Movie FantastiCozzi Count Zarth Arn (archive footage)
Movie The Joe Spinell Story (archive footage)
Movie Thriller Zone Vinny Durand (segment "Fanatical Extremes") (archive footage)
Movie Rapid Fire Hansen
Movie Married to the Mob Leonard 'Tiptoes' Mazzilli
Movie K.O. Kippers Tony Larosa
Movie Operation Warzone Brig. Gen. George Delevane
Movie The Undertaker Uncle Roscoe
Movie Deadly Illusion Crazy Man in Gun Bureau (as Joe Spinnel)
Movie The Pick-up Artist Eddie
Movie The Messenger Rico
Movie Maniac 2: Mr. Robbie Mr. Robbie
Movie Blood Ties Joey, New York Goon #1
Movie Hollywood Harry Max Caldwell
Movie The Whoopee Boys Guido Antonucci
Movie The Children of Times Square Street Vendor
Movie Out of the Darkness Jim Halsey
Movie Walking the Edge Brusstar
Movie Trackdown: Finding the Goodbar Killer Escobar
Movie The Last Fight Angelo
Movie Eureka Pete
Movie Losin' It Border Patrolman
Movie The Big Score Mayfield
Movie Vigilante Eisenberg
Movie One Down, Two to Go Joe Spangler
Movie Monsignor Bride's Father
Movie The Last Horror Film Vinny Durand
Movie Night Shift Manetti
Movie National Lampoon's Movie Madness Agent / M.C. ("Success Wanters")
Movie Nighthawks Lt. Munafo
Movie Cruising Patrolman DiSimone
Movie Forbidden Zone Squeezit's Father
Movie The Ninth Configuration Lt. Spinell
Movie The First Deadly Sin Charles Lipsky
Movie Brubaker Floyd Birdwell
Movie Melvin and Howard Go-Go Club Owner #2
Movie Maniac Frank Zito
Movie Vampire
Movie The Little Dragons Yancey
Movie Rocky II Tony Gazzo
Movie Winter Kills Arthur Fletcher
Movie Last Embrace Man in Cantina
Movie Starcrash Count Zartharn
Movie The One Man Jury Mike Abatino
Movie Paradise Alley Burp
Movie Big Wednesday Psychologist
Movie Nunzio Angelo
Movie Sorcerer Spider
Series Mario Puzo's The Godfather: The Complete Novel for Television William "Willie" Cicci
Movie Rocky Gazzo
Movie Stay Hungry Jabo
Movie Taxi Driver Personell Officer
Movie Next Stop, Greenwich Village Cop at El Station
Movie The Ransom of Red Chief Bill
Movie 92 in the Shade Ollie Slatt
Movie Farewell, My Lovely Nick
Movie Strike Force Sol Terranova
Movie Rancho Deluxe Mr. Colson
Movie The Godfather: Part II Willi Cicci
Movie The Seven-Ups Toredano
Movie Cops and Robbers Marty
Movie The Godfather Willi Cicci (uncredited)