Frank Puglia

When he was just 13 years old, Frank Puglia was appearing in Italian operas. When he was 15, in 1907, he left Italy and came to the United States and, soon after, joined an Italian opera company there. In 1921, while he was performing in a production of the stage drama "The Two Orphans," he was spotted by the legendary director D.W. Griffith, who hired him to reprise the role in the film version of the play, entitled "Orphans of the Storm." In the original play, Puglia's character dies in the end sequence, but in Griffith's movie, test audiences did not react well to the death, so the ending was reshot, with the character surviving. Puglia often capitalized on his Italian heritage by playing a variety of "ethnic" roles. He could be seen playing characters like waiters, soldiers, gangsters, musicians, and priests. He appeared in over 150 roles. One of his most memorable characters was a Moroccan rug vendor in Humphrey Bogart's most famous film, "Casablanca," in 1942. Some other films he appeared in include "Jungle Book" in 1942, "The Phantom of the Opera" in 1943, and "20 Million Miles to Earth" in 1957.