Saturday, December 15, 2007

Celeb Sighting of the Week: Jon Polito

In which we spot a great performer who made one of our favorite movie scenes so memorable

As I've said before, one of the neat things about living in Studio City is that there is always the chance you might run into someone you've seen in a film. Not usually the big stars, though William Shatner lives up the hill from me, but the the real, hard-working character actors who make films so so fun to watch.

Last week I ran into Jon Polito at the Ralphs at the corner of Vineland and Ventura. Unless you're a Hollywood person or a fan of gangster movies, like me, you probably don't recognize the name. But polito's been in dozens of films, including the recent hit, American Gangster. Every one of Polito's characters is as colorful as it is believable. He literally makes whatever scene he's in come to life on the screen.

By far my favorite Polito perfomance is from Miller's Crossing, one of the 10 best gangster movies ever made. It's the opening scene, in which Polito's character, an Italian gangster named Johnny Caspar talks "ethics" with Irish mob boss, Leo O'Bannon (Albert Finney). Enjoy:

I didn't talk to him, but his sunny rapport with the checkout ladies at the supermarket would seem to indicate that he's a pretty nice guy. Shatner could take an etiquette lesson or two from him.


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