Joseph Calleia Overview:

Character actor, Joseph Calleia, was born Joseph Spurin-Calleia on Aug 4, 1897 in St. Julians, Malta. Calleia died at the age of 78 on Oct 31, 1975 in Valletta, Malta .


Dark-haired and mustachioed, Joseph Calleia, was a somewhat shifty-eyed Hollywood actor who forsook an operatic career to play dozens of swarthy, greasy, smiling and almost always untrustworthy types in gangster films and westerns. His sharp voice was often to be heard in films over a tuxedo, running nightclubs or saloons.

(Source: available at Amazon Quinlan's Illustrated Dictionary of Film Character Actors).



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By Caftan Woman on Aug 10, 2009 From Caftan Woman

A bust of Malta's favourite son in front of his birthplace.Project intiated in 2005 by 17 year old fan Eman Bonnici.August 4, 1897 - October 31, 1975Caftan Woman's dilemma: in my series "For Your Consideration" I want to spotlight one special performance of the wonderful character act... Read full article

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Joseph Calleia Quotes:

Nick Varna: You talk too much with your mouth, Jeff.

Rubriz: So what do they call you?
Choya: Choya.
Rubriz: Choya. It is a name I have heard. Not too often. Not with the biggest reputation. Small things with a gun.
Choya: Big enough that the Rangers want to do a little hanging.
Rubriz: Me they wish to hang a thousand times.

Jeff Badger: And as for that tenderfoot sheriff, why, he couldn't keep his nose out of a bottle long enough to hold up a dog's tail, much less a stagecoach.

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Joseph Calleia Facts
Orson Welles was extremely impressed by a stage performance of Calleia's in the mid-1930s and vowed to work with him. They finally worked together over 20 years later in Touch of Evil (1958).

During his retirement time in Malta he received a telegram from Francis Ford Coppola who offered him the part of Don Vito Corleone in "The Godfather". As much as Coppola wanted Calleia for the part he was unable to convince him to accept. Calleia refused due to health reasons.

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