The last thing I remember about my father was him walking away wearing his camel coat. I remember him from the back, his dark hair escaping from his hat.
It was Christmas evening and it was cold, for Rome at least. He had just accompanied me to a train, which I would take to reach my cousins in Calabria. He was not happy that I was leaving, and would die a few hours later. A stroke, the doctors said.
Early that morning his telephone had begun ringing nonstop, and he found himself thanking directors, casting directors, producers, actors, and all the members of the Actors Studio. He’d seen many of his actors receive Oscar nominations, but when he heard his name among the 1974 nominees for The Godfather: Part II, Lee Strasberg was astounded. The callers told him he’d been a master actor on the set; he had blown away his own pupils (“They were wonderful, but nothing compared to you”); he’d been able to humanize and at the same time portray the horror that was Hyman Roth; he must have awed even Francis Ford Coppola.
Today, The Common is featuring two translated short stories from the book Nella Citta Nuda by Antonio Monda. The Common in the (Eternal) City on May 21 features Monda in conversation with Larissa MacFarquhar.