Tags: Decent | Man | Hollywood

A Decent Man in Hollywood

Monday, 09 April 2001 12:00 AM

One big-time Hollywood player is not afraid of stepping up and saying what's on his mind. Veteran actor Danny Aiello has appeared in nearly 70 films, so he fears no backlash when he says, "You don't have to be worried about labeling me."

Aiello let loose during an interview on my WABC Radio show. "My entire family were Democrats all our lives. But because how furious I was about the previous administration and the particular person running that administration," he said, obviously referring to Bill Clinton, "I turned in my card to become a Republican because I did not want to be known as a Democrat under that person's regime."

The star of "Bang the Drum Slowly," "Moonstruck," "Do the Right Thing," "Once Around," "Harlem Nights" and "Radio Days," just to name a few, unleashed on the former president, still without mentioning him by name. "I'm a traditionalist. I have certain values that I live by, and he practices none of those things, so he can never be what I consider to be a great man."

Then, taking a shot at the aforementioned Bush bashers, Aiello added: "But I don't go around saying he's not my president. He's out of office now, so I can say that I never truly accepted him in my heart. And I'll never say anywhere down the line, I'll never reflect back on this moment in time and say it was a good period for the American people. Because the economy was good, anything goes, and that troubles me."

Aiello thinks the reasons that Hollywood is left-leaning are convenience and guilt. "I think many of them are very comfortable with money and don't have to subject themselves to anything other than say, hey – maybe I'm guilty for having all this, and I want to make believe I'm splitting it with the less fortunate."

He also points out that there is a big hypocrisy going on in Tinseltown. "We talk about Hollywood being pro-labor, yet about 70 percent of our industry has been farmed out to Canada, meaning we are losing jobs like crazy. Where's organized labor asking how we can allow such a thing to happen?"

The reason for the move north is of course financial, says Danny. "The producers know that if they go to Canada, they can make a picture for one-third the price they can in the U.S.

As for the HBO hit series "The Sopranos," the man who appeared in "The Godfather, Part II" says he doesn't watch the series despite having many friends in the cast. It all comes down to reality for Aiello. "I don't know anyone who curses the way they do in an Italian household. I never said the word 'hell' in front of my mother. That was a different time, but I have sons and they have never said the word 'hell' in front of me or my wife. That's the truth, that's the truth."

I wondered how the "Godfather" movies were any different from "The Sopranos."

"There was certainly less profanity, and there was a kind of respect. It's not that I totally agreed with it, but it was a great piece of art."

Danny Aiello knows what those kinds of images on the big and small screens have done. "Look, people have an image of Italians. When I go somewhere in the world, I don't care where it is, when they look at me it's not about my intelligence. It's who can I beat up."

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One big-time Hollywood player is not afraid of stepping up and saying what's on his mind. Veteran actor Danny Aiello has appeared in nearly 70 films, so he fears no backlash when he says, You don't have to be worried about labeling me. Aiello let loose during an...
Decent,Man,Hollywood
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2001-00-09
Monday, 09 April 2001 12:00 AM
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