July 4, 1888
|Died||October 21, 1945 (aged 57)|
San Diego, California, U.S.
|Resting place||Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City|
|Years active||1915-1945; his death|
|Iole Armetta (1920-1945) (his death) (3 children)|
Henry Armetta (born Enrico Armetta; July 4, 1888 - October 21, 1945) was an American character actor who appeared in at least 150 American films, beginning in silent movies. His last film was released posthumously in 1946, the year after his death.
Armetta was born in Palermo, Sicily, Italy. At the age of 14, he stowed away on a boat to America. The immigration authorities were prepared to send him back, but he found an Italian family to act as his sponsor. He settled in New York City where he delivered groceries, sold sandwiches and pizzas and performed other menial tasks to get by. He eventually ended up working as a pants presser at a well known club where he managed to befriend actor/producer Raymond Hitchcock. Hitchcock got him a chorus part in his play A Yankee Consul.
Armetta moved to Hollywood in 1920, and found work in films as a stereotypical Italian, often playing a barber, grocer or restaurant owner. He went on to appear in over 152 films (at least 24 films in 1934 alone), often uncredited. Armetta appeared in several films for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer including Romance (1930) starring Greta Garbo, What! No Beer? (1933) with Buster Keaton and Jimmy Durante, Everybody Sing (1938) featuring Judy Garland, Allan Jones, and Fanny Brice, The Big Store (1941) opposite the Marx Brothers, and a much thinner Armetta was briefly glimpsed in one of his last appearances in the MGM Technicolor musical Anchors Aweigh (1945). He died the same year of a heart attack in San Diego. He is buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California.
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