Ray Negron's Playball Weekly Blog

Happy birthday Chazz Palminteri… Thanks for sharing your life and Dreams!

Sometime in 1993, George Steinbrenner asked me to come into his office because he had someone there that he wanted me to meet.

The person was actor Chazz Palminteri. The Boss felt that it was important for me to meet him because after being introduced to Chazz’s new film… A Bronx Tale…by his good friend Bill Fugazy the Limousine mogul he thought that our lives mirrored each other.

Mr. Steinbrenner actually fell in love with the Sonny character and was very upset that Sonny had to die. I personally think that the Boss saw himself as Sonny and in his world he was never going to die.

He once jokingly mentioned that to me and I told him that he should tell Chazz his displeasure. He told me to stop being a smart ass and we laughed.

After I saw a Bronx Tale for the first time I understood the Boss’s own interpretation of the film. I too saw what he saw. The young boy and the very tough guy who would turn out to be his mentor was definitely a microcosm of our lives. Bill Fugazy was actually the first person to point this out to the Boss. Like C and Sonny in the film, in my life The Boss was always my protector, he was my Sonny!

I always meant to ask Chazz how did his life changed after Sonny died and how difficult was it for him. I know that after the Boss died the pain has never gone away for me because I was so dependent upon him. I know that Chazz was a lot younger than I was when Sonny died and maybe he was able to handle it better. I don’t really know!

For over thirty years I have had the pleasure and honor of being friends with Mr. Palminteri and his incredible family. To say that they are all that is truly an understatement. They are amazing people. Chazz has been a true friend who understands my philanthropic ways because he is one of the most generous people that I have ever known. He has been there for me too many times to mention. When I was producing my animated film on Lou Gehrig and the Yankees he would do the voice of Babe Ruth and stole the show.

When a police officer friend of mine was killed I told Chazz of the family agony and he was there.

I will never forget how important that was for that family.

I really don’t think that he truly realizes the impact that he has had on the lives of so many young men in this country. His story has actually helped people see things differently. I think that it has helped black and white come together and be more in acceptance of each other. That’s just my opinion.

Today is Wednesday, May 15. Today the cast of A Bronx Tale which is performing at the Argyle Theater in Babylon Long Island wants to wish Chazz a happy birthday.
I want to thank Chazz for not just me but all the people that he has inspired to be all they can be. Especially those with big dreams.

In the immortal words of CALOGERO… I guess it’s just another BRONX TALE!

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