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Movie Fact #296 - September 30th, 2021


Martin Scorsese's 1995 film Casino is inspired by the true events related to the dealings of Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal, a casino figure, and his wife Geri McGee, a former topless dancer. While these two real-life figures were translated into the on-screen characters of Sam "Ace" Rothstein (Played by Robert De Niro) and Ginger McKenna (Played by Sharon Stone), another real-life figure used was Chicago mob enforcer Tony "The Ant" Spilotro (a childhood friend of Rosenthal's), who became the character Nicky Santoro. Santoro was played by Joe Pesci who apparently bore some natural resemblance to real-life figure Spilotro. In make-up, he looked even more like Spilotro. According to the film's co-writer Nicholas Pileggi (whose nonfiction Rosenthal-focused book Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas served as the source material for the script), when Pesci entered the casino where the movie was being shot, some pit bosses who'd had personal dealings with Spilotro "almost fainted". It's a terrifying thought to ask...what was Spilotro like for his very image to terrify old acquaintances?! Stay tuned!

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