All the times Al Pacino was real AF on film
You know this man I presume. Living legend and one of the most talented, most respected and admired actors erver! Yup, I’m talking about the Academy award winner Al Pacino.
And while The Irishman is yet to arrive next year, feast your eyes on Paterno. The latest HBO collaboration with him and director Barry Levinson, in which Pacino is the disgraced football coach Joe Paterno.
Pacino is set to explore Penn State’s football coach Joe Paterno’s role in the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal, and Riley Keough, Kathy Baker, Greg Grunberg, and Annie Parisse are also in the cast besides Pacino.
“Paterno” will arrive on HBO this spring, but until then I want to remind you of all the roles in which Pacino played a real life character. No, I’m not talking about Tony, Montana, Alphonse “Big Boy” Caprice or Michael Corleone. I’m talking about men who lived and breathed and were (or still are) real AF.
Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
Real life character: the bank robber John Wojtowicz
Fun fact about the character: After he and his wife Carmen separated, he began a relationship with Ernest Aron (later Elizabeth Debbie Eden), a prospective male-to-female transsexual. On December 4, 1971 they “married” in a Roman Catholic ceremony. The marriage was not valid as Wojtowicz was still legally married to Carmen, and Aron was biologically male.
Donnie Brasco (1997)
Real life character: Benjamin Ruggiero, a soldier in the Bonanno crime family.
Fun fact about the character: Ruggiero was an old school Cosa Nostra mobster who knew how Mafia politics worked. He allegedly murdered around 26 people and refused to break omertà when arrested.
The Insider (1999)
Real life character: The award winning journalist and producer Lowell Bergman
Fun fact about the character: Former 60 Minutes (1993) producer whose role in one of the biggest corporate scandals in American history was dramatized by actor Al Pacino in the film The Insider (1999). Bergman had contacted Jeffrey Wigand (who had served as vice president for research and development at the Brown & Williamson tobacco company until he was fired in 1993) for an interview when Bergman was preparing a story about cigarettes. Bergman got his interview, but CBS executives decided not to run the story for fear of financial repercussions. The story was exposed by the New York Times in 1995. Berman left “60 Minutes” to teach at the University of California at Berkeley and to work on freelance investigative projects for television. In 1977 he co-founded the Center for Investigative Journalism in San Francisco.
You Don’t Know Jack (2010)
Real life character: American pathologist and euthanasia proponent. He is best known for publicly championing a terminal patient’s right to die via physician-assisted suicide; he claimed to have assisted at least 130 patients to that end.
Fun fact about the character: The epitaph on Kevorkian’s tombstone reads, “He sacrificed himself for everyone’s rights.”
Phil Spector (2013)
Real life character: The famous record producer, songwriter and musician Phil Spector.
Fun fact about the character: On September 1, 2006, Spector, while on bail and awaiting trial, married his third wife Rachelle Short, who was 26 at the time. Spector filed for divorce in April 2016, claiming irreconcilable differences.
Real life character: The American college football player, and later athletic director and coach Joe Paterno.
Fun fact about the character: With 409 victories, Paterno is the most victorious coach in NCAA FBS history.
The Irishman (2019)
Real life character: The American labor union leader Jimmy Hoffa, who served as the President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) union from 1958 until 1971.
Fun fact about the character: Hoffa vanished in late July 1975 and was declared legally dead in 1982. There are many theories as to what happened to him.