Something a little different today. I have a small personal link to classic film that I’d like to share with you all. It’s kind of a six degrees of separation thing. I have a very dear friend called Mike. He knows of and shares my great love for all things classic film related. He recently spoke to me about his own family link to classic era films. I thought I’d share with you all what he told me, because I think that it happens to be pretty awesome. 🙂
Mike’s dad’s cousin was married to Tony Sforzini. Now you may well be asking yourselves right now, who on earth is Tony Sforzini? Tony was a make-up artist and was also a make-up supervisor, and he worked on a large number of British classic era films. He worked on films from the early 1940’s until the mid 1970’s.
Tony worked quite often on the British films of the actor and director Laurence Olivier. Mike doesn’t know if they were friends or just colleagues, but what is certain is that Tony did work on a large number of Olivier’s films over the years including Hamlet, Henry V, The Prince and the Showgirl and The Entertainer. I know that some actors and directors like to work with the same crew a lot, so maybe Laurence Olivier loved his work and kept on requesting that Tony work with him.
When he was younger, Mike visited Tony at work over in Ireland, this visit was to the set of the film Shake Hands With The Devil (1959). On the set, Mike got to watch Tony work his make-up magic, and if that wasn’t exciting enough, Mike also got to meet James Cagney! (you can imagine how envious I was when he told me this) James was there because he was the main star of this film.
Mike was aware of who James Cagney was, but he wasn’t really aware at that age of just how big a star this man actually was. Mike told me that James spoke to him and that he was very friendly. Mike said that if he had been a bit older at the time he had met James, then he would have most likely asked him lots of questions and would have tried to talk to him for a bit longer than he actually did.
Mike shared with me the following recollections of his visit to the set.
So that is my small link to classic films. I just wanted to share this with you. Hopefully this post will also help to raise awareness of Tony Sforzini. Keep an eye out for his name in the credits the next time you watch a classic era British film!
Do you have a personal connection to classic film? Share your story.