After hearing so often that I just missed seeing him at work, I finally got the chance to meet character actor Carmine Caridi this morning. I mentioned that I had been looking forward to the opportunity, because of his work in 'Phyllis' and "The Godfather III" - at which point he held up a finger to stop me.
"AND 'Godfather II'!" he pointed out.
"Well, I remember the role in the third movie because of that infamous scene -#"
He nodded. "The 'Lucky Coat'," he sighed.
It was probably a stupid move on my part to mention that, but I was thrown for the moment.
Mr. Caridi appeared in a number of other big movies, including "Prince Of The City" and "The Cheap Detective". But of course - since it's all about me, anyway, - I remember him best as Phyllis Lindstrom's boss, Dan Valenti, in the second season of Cloris Leachman's spin-off from 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show'. In his own way, he was the San Francisco version of a "Lou Grant boss", but thankfully their relationship was never softened up as much as it had been between Mayr and Lou.
Eventually, her daughter Bess fell in love and married his nephew Mark (played by Craig Wasson).
Mr. Caridi has contributed several other major roles to the "Tele-folks Directory" of Toobword:
Detective Vince Gotelli - 'NYPD Blue' (15 episodes)
Angelo Martelli - 'Fame' (14 episodes)
And he has appeared in several shows with interesting Toobworld connections, including 'Tabitha', 'Rhoda', 'Starsky And Hutch', and 'The Rockford Files' (the Lauren Bacall two-parter). He also played Mel Sharples brother Al in an episode of 'Alice' in which he almost married 'Flo' the waitress - which would have been the fourth trip down the aisle for both of them.
There's one theoretical link to Toobworld I'd like to suggest - Mr. Caridi played a cop in the "Giving Thanks" episode of 'Night Court'. It's always pozz'ble, just pozz'ble, that this cop was in fact Detective Gotelli from 'NYPD Blue'.
As I work "just around the corner from the center of the universe", there's always an opportunity to meet up with people who've contributed to my Joy of (TV) Sets. And I'm glad I was able to add this encounter to the list......