Cultural Weekly poet and reader Beth Ruscio has informed us that her father, Al Ruscio, died on the evening of Tuesday, November 12. This is her remembrance.
Last night, surrounded by love in his own home with my arms around him, and my brother holding his hands, my wonderful amazing father died.
He had a career as an actor that spanned the entire history of television beginning with Playhouse 90, The Untouchables, Bonanza (which he’s on this saturday), Lou Grant, Hill St. Blues, the Seinfeld pilot, Tracey Ullman Show, The X-Files and Life Goes On to name just a few of his over 400 guest appearances, as well as the movies Al Capone, Guilty By Suspicion, the infamous Showgirls (in which he plays the clothed casino owner) and Godfather III in which he uttered the immortal epithet with which he was sometimes regaled by fans, “Joey Zaza, you son of a bitch!”
But, beyond all that, he was and always will be my personal hero. He was a mentor, a colleague, the mayor of every waiting room, the life of the party, someone I talked to nearly every day of my life, an endless source of fascination, an unstoppable force, handsome and charming, the best father a girl like me could ask for.
Thank you to all of you who have reached out, to those of you who knew and loved him, to everyone in my life who didn’t know him but because you know me, can glean a tiny bit of the DNA that I inherited from this enormously winning guy, the first love of my life, whom I will honor the rest of my days.