Joe Cirillo An Offer I couldn't Refuse: Growing up in the Bronx, Bellmore's Joe Cirillo used to pitch pennies on the street corner, and when he amassed enough money, he'd go straight to the movies. So in the mid-60s, fate seemed to be following when he found himself a New York City Police officer on the beat outside a Manhattan complex where stars such as Phil Silvers and Red Buttons lived. "They knew me as Joe the cop," he said. Making acquaintance with these celebrities led to more than just getting a glimpse of their starlight. "How would you like to be an actor," he said were the words of director Mike Nichols that embarked him on a film industry career. Of course, the New York City cop was definitely skeptical, but eventually succumbed to Nichols' assurances that they would simply turn him into one. Soon enough, Cirillo interviewed with Paramount and landed a role in The Godfather. Unfortunately his scene was cut, but he can be seen throughout one of the film's most famous sequences. Still, nothing was going to keep him away, especially since the presence of Marlon Brando, Al Pacino and James Caan didn't affect his ability to remain professional. "It was inspiring," he said. He later found a voice in several smaller projects, but the next phase in his career began when he was hired to provide security for Telly Savalas on Kojak. Taken with Cirillo after a year of service, the star told him, "Once you retire, come to California and you've got a job." "I retired and became his right hand man," Cirillo said. Initially he obtained work as a technical advisor, before moving on to writing. With the show's scribes coming to him for ideas, he realized his personal experiences could be put to better use. "I'm in production meetings, I read the scripts, I make adjustments. [I thought] why can't I write myself," he said. Unfortunately, a script approved by Savalas never was shot because the show was canceled. The writing went on hold, as Kojak was spun off into Eischeid, and he nabbed a co-starring role next to Joe Don Baker as Detective Malfita. After its short life and speaking roles in Splash and Ghostbusters, Cirillo sold a screenplay in 1990, which was never shot. Today, he partners with fellow screenwriter Marc Baron for Oroloro Entertainment. With mostly romantic comedies looking for backers, they inked a three-picture, $20 million deal with investors from Dubai in 2001. This time, the September 11th attacks put a hold on all business relations with Dubai, thus killing the projects. Since then, the bad economy has slowed things but he knows one break can open doors on everything else. "You get one going, they all go," Cirillo said.--- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/otcpod1/support
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