Where The Godfather cast are now – including real-life mobster who 'bedded Marilyn Monroe at 15' & KILLED Escobar pal | The Sun

IT’S hailed as a Hollywood classic and 50 years after its release, The Godfather is still being discovered by new movie lovers every day.

Yesterday it was announced that James Caan, one of the legendary stars of the mobster movie, has died at the age of 82.

The ill-fated Sonny Corleone proved a breakthrough role for the actor, who went on to star in over 100 films over the next half a decade.

It also launched the careers of movie legends Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Robert Duvall and Dianne Keaton as well as starring Hollywood great Marlon Brando as the Godfather himself, Vito Corleone.

But what was next in line for the rest of the cast?

From the real-life mobster who bedded Marilyn Monroe at 15 and had a run in with Pablo Escobar, to the baby in the infamous baptism scene, here’s what happened to The Godfather mob after the film's 1972 release.


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In one of the most famous scenes in the movie, James Caan’s mob boss Sonny died in a hail of bullets at a road toll, but his movie career came to life.

He was nominated for a best supporting actor Oscar for the role and went on to star in a string of hits, including Elf with Will Ferrell and the thriller Misery, opposite Cathy Bates.

The troubled star was married four times and had five children, including actor Scott Caan, who starred in Hawaii Five-O and Entourage.

In the 1970s and 80s, James lived a decadent life of drink and drugs and became a regular at the Playboy mansion.

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Second wife Sheila Marie Ryan, who he wed in 1976 and divorced a year later, was a Playboy model who also dated Elvis Presley.

After the death of his sister Barbara, from Leukaemia in 1981, he became addicted to cocaine and lost his life savings and his home, finding himself hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt to the taxman.

He was also accused of slapping and choking his girlfriend and for pulling a gun out during an argument over a parking space.

He briefly walked away from his film career in the 1980s saying the "fun of it was taken away”, but Misery relaunched his career in 1990.

He recently finished filming Fast Charlie and was scheduled to film two more movies this year.

Real-life mobster who bedded Marilyn

Gianni Russo played Carlo Rizzi, the abusive husband of Connie Corleone, but was actually a real life mobster, having worked for mafia boss Frank Costello as a messenger.

"Early on in my life, fortunately, he took me under his wing and mentored me in a way that no one could do," Russo told Vice in 2019. "He gave me experiences and opportunities that I could've never had just being an Italian immigrant from Mulberry Street."

Gianni also starred on The Godfather Part II before acting in more than 40 more films. He is now a businessman, singer and motivational speaker.

In 2009, he launched his own wine brand.

He dated legendary actress Zsa Zsa Gabor and Cabaret star Liza Minnelli and, in 2019, he claimed Marilyn Monroe had taken his virginity when he was 15.

In 1988, Russo killed a man inside a Las Vegas nightclub after intervening to stop him harassing a female patron. The man stabbed him with a broken champagne bottle and Russo pulled a gun and shot him in the head.

Russo was not charged with the killing because it was ruled a justifiable homicide by the Nevada District Attorney's Office.

Incredibly, drug lord Pablo Escobar put a contract out on Russo's life over the killing, as the victim was an associate, and even had him kidnapped.

But when he found out Russo was an actor in the iconic movie, Escobar’s favourite, he called the hit off – after making him act out the final scene.

Airport drug bust

Sterling Hayden was working on a boat when he was spotted in a magazine, promoting an annual fisherman’s race, and offered a film career by Paramount.

His first role was in the 1941 movie Virginia, alongside future wife Madeleine Carroll.

In between breaks to return to sailing, Hayden starred in a series of movies including the thriller The Asphalt Jungle, The Star, which featured Bette Davis, and heist movie The Killing.

After starring as corrupt police Captain McCluskey in The Godfather, he landed roles in the sci-fi show The Starlostand and starred in the 1980 thriller The Outsider as well as the Dolly Parton and Jane Fonda classic 9 to 5.

In 1981, he was arrested at Toronto International Airport for being in possession of hashish.

He was married three times and had six children. He died of pancreatic cancer in 1986 at age 70.

Tragic death

John Cazale, who starred as the third Corleone son Fredo, had a brief but brilliant film career appearing in just five movies – The Godfather I and II, Dog Day Afternoon, The Deer Hunter and The Conversation.

All five were nominated for best picture at the Oscars and three won the top prize.

John was in a long term relationship with Meryl Streep, who he planned to wed, when he was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1977.

He died a year later with Streep by his side.

Al Pacino later paid tribute to the loyalty of the Mamma Mia star saying: "I've hardly ever seen a person so devoted to someone who is falling away like John was. To see her in that act of love for this man was overwhelming."

He also described Cazale as “one of the great actors of our time — that time, any time".

Baby at baptism

In an infamous scene in the movie, Michael Corleone (Pacino) is renouncing Satan as he becomes godfather to sister Connie’s baby at a baptism, while his henchmen carry out a slew of execution orders against his enemies.

Director Francis Ford Coppola used his own daughter, Sofia, as baby Michael and she is the only person to have appeared in all three films.

Sofia has followed in her father’s footsteps and become an Oscar-winning director, with hit films The Virgin Suicides, The Bling Ring and Lost in Translation to her name.

She was married to director Spike Jonze for four years from 1999 and also dated Quentin Tarantino.

Sofia is now married to French musician Thomas Marrs, with whom she shares daughters Romy, 15, and Cosima, 12, and lived in Paris for several years before moving to New York.

Death at 47

Al Lettieri, who played Virgil ‘The Turk’ Sollozzo, spoke fluent Italian and had connections with the mob through his brother-in-law, Thomas Eboli, who was head of the Genovese crime family.

His nephew, Louis "The Mooch" Eboli, later became a Chicago mafia boss.

As well as The Godfather, he starred with Steve McQueen in The Getaway and Charles Bronson in Mt Majestyk.

Tragically, he died from a heart attack at the age of 47, in 1975.

Rocky star

Coppola cast his own sister, Talia Shire, as Connie Corleone, but was initially reluctant because he pictured the character to be more "'homely,' an adjective he'd never use to describe his sister", according to Vanity Fair.

The gamble paid off when Talia was nominated for an Oscar for her part in the sequel, The Godfather: Part II.

She went on to join another huge franchise, starring as Adrian, Sylvester Stallone’s love, in Rocky and was once more nominated for an Academy Award.

More recently, Shire, now 76, appeared in Netflix's Grace and Frankie and Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce.

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