DeNiro dismisses mob photo
Robert DeNiro has dismissed rumours he arranged meetings with a mob boss to research his role in crime comedy Analyze This - insisting he doesn't recall taking a never-before-seen photo with a gangster on set.
The Oscar-winning actor, who is famous for meticulously researching his roles, played a neurotic mafioso in the 1999 movie.
A source tells the New York Daily News Anthony Corozzo - an associate of the infamous Gambino crime family, who played an extra in Analyze This - introduced DeNiro to mobster Anthony 'Fat Andy' Ruggiano. Ruggiano died in March 1999 and was involved in at least seven murders.
A photograph of the pair taken in DeNiro's trailer has sparked rumors the actor set up meetings with members of the ruthless crime family to prepare for his role.
But DeNiro's spokesperson Stan Rosenfeld insists the movie was made far too long ago for the actor to remember Ruggiano.
Rosenfeld adds: "Bob (DeNiro) seldom, if ever, discusses his research techniques."
De Niro analyzed GoodFella for role
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Robert De Niro© poses inside his trailer with the late mob boss Anthony "Fat Andy" Ruggiano ® for research on his role.
Robert De Niro is another "GoodFella" who has hung out with the Gambino crime family.
While making the 1999 film "Analyze This," about a neurotic gangster, De Niro consulted with the late Gambino soldier Anthony (Fat Andy) Ruggiano - and the Daily News has obtained a never-before-seen photo of the Oscar-winning actor with the big-time gangster in the actor's trailer.
The film may have been a comedy, but Ruggiano was no joke.
Ruggiano, who died in March 1999, was inducted into the crime family when the boss was Albert Anastasia. He was involved in at least seven murders, including giving the approval to whack his son-in-law.
"He did a lot of work for the family," Ruggiano's turncoat son Anthony Jr. testified recently at the trial of a Gambino hit man. "Work" is mob jargon for gangland killings.
"He killed somebody with a fellow named Joe," Anthony Ruggiano Jr. recalled. "He killed a florist in Brooklyn. He killed three people in a warehouse that was robbing crap games.
"He killed somebody with me . . . and they had this guy Irish Danny killed behind the Skyway Motel on Conduit Blvd."
De Niro, who is famous for scrupulously researching his roles, was introduced to Ruggiano by reputed Gambino associate Anthony Corozzo, a member of the Screen Actors Guild and an extra on "Analyze This," a knowledgeable source said.
Anthony Corozzo is the brother of high-ranking Gambinos Nicholas (Little Nick) Corozzo, a powerful capo, and reputed consigliere Joseph Corozzo. He also appeared in another film starring De Niro, "A Bronx Tale," and forgettable flicks "This Thing of Ours, "The Deli" and "Men Lie."
"Anthony is like a liaison with the acting community," the source said.
De Niro's rep, Stan Rosenfeld, said the movie was made a long time ago and the actor doesn't recall Ruggiano.
"Bob seldom, if ever, discusses his research techniques," Rosenfeld said.
Attorney Joseph Corozzo Jr. denied his uncle brought Fat Andy to the set.
Jerry Capeci of the Web site Ganglandnews.com said it's no secret actors like to rub elbows with real tough guys, and the feeling is mutual.
"Even Carlo Gambino, the epitome of the understated, low-key mob boss, couldn't resist the lure of posing in that now famous backstage picture with Frank Sinatra surrounded by a bunch of smiling wise guys," Capeci said.
During the filming of "GoodFellas," De Niro was interested in talking to the legendary gangster he was playing, but James (Jimmy the Gent) Burke was in jail and refused to meet with the actor, the source said.
De Niro is the latest alumnus from the film "GoodFellas" to have met with members of the Gambino family. Actor Frank Sivero posed for photos at Gambino hit man Charles Carneglia's junkyard, and actor Anthony Borgese was indicted last week for participating in an extortion with a Gambino soldier.