TV Actor Tony Franciosa Dead at 77

TV Actor Tony Franciosa Dead at 77
Franciosa and ex-wife Shelley Winters in the 1960s
Globe

01/20/2006 AT 04:00 PM EST

Actor Anthony Franciosa, best known for his magazine-executive role on NBC's 1968-71 series The Name of the Game, died Thursday at UCLA Medical Center after suffering a massive stroke, according to his publicist. He was 77.

The actor's wife of more than 35 years, Rita, and other family members were present.

Franciosa also was once married to Oscar winner Shelley Winters, who died last weekend at age 85.

A product of the New York streets, the tough guy was born Anthony Papaleo (Franciosa was his mother's maiden name). "Getting in the first blow was something I learned in childhood," he once told an interviewer, according to the Associated Press.

After working in odd jobs and sometimes sleeping in flophouses, at 18 he attended an audition for actors at the YMCA. He later studied at the Actors Studio and the New School for Social Research, which was where he met Winters.

Among his movies were A Hatful of Rain (he also played the role earlier, on Broadway), A Face in the Crowd, Wild Is the Wind, The Long Hot Summer, Rio Conchos and The Pleasure Seekers.

Besides Winters, Franciosa was married to writer Beatrice Bakalyar and real estate agent Judy Kanter, with whom he had a daughter, Nina. His lasting marriage was to Rita Thiel, a German fashion model. They had sons Christopher and Marco.

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