Frank Puglia

Active - 1921 - 1975  |   Born - Jan 1, 1892   |   Died - Oct 25, 1975   |   Genres - Drama, Romance, Comedy, Action, Adventure

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Sicilian actor Frank Puglia started his career with a travelling operetta company at age 13. He and his family moved to the US in 1907, where he worked in a laundry until he hooked up with an Italian-language theatrical troupe based in New York. In 1921, Puglia was appearing as Pierre Frochard in a revival of the old theatrical warhorse The Two Orphans when he was spotted by film director D.W. Griffith. Puglia was hired to repeat his role for Griffith's film version of the play, retitled Orphans of the Storm; while Pierre Frochard was slated to die at the end of the film, preview-audience reaction to the death was so negative that Griffith called Puglia back to reshoot his final scenes, allowing him to survive for the fade-out. For the rest of his long film career, Puglia essayed a wide variety of ethnic supporting parts, portraying priests, musicians, diplomats and street peddlers. In 1942's Casablanca, Puglia has a memorable bit as a Morroccan rug merchant who automatically marks down his prices to any friends of Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart). Frank Puglia played a larger and less likable role as a treacherous minion to sultan Kurt Katch in Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (1944); when the film was remade as Sword of Ali Baba in 1965, so much stock footage from the 1944 film was utilized that Puglia was hired to replay his original part.

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