SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

November 22, 2013

Salem loses a home-grown Hollywood legend

SALEM — We would be remiss if we did not mention the death last week of Al Ruscio.

The Hollywood actor was the pride of this city’s Italian neighborhood.

You may not think you know him, but you do.

Ruscio, 89, a character actor, was in movies like “Godfather III” and hundreds of TV shows — “Marcus Welby, M.D.,” “Bonanza,” “The Rockford Files,” “Gunsmoke,” “Lou Grant,” “Barney Miller,” “NYPD Blue,” and on and on.

In one famous episode still in reruns, he plays the owner of the restaurant in “Seinfeld” whom Elaine accuses of — how do we put this? — discrimination against medium-sized girls.

Ruscio was an altar boy at the former St. Mary’s Italian Church. His family lived for a long while on Prescott Street. His sister, Flora LaVecchio, still lives in Salem.

“He was in my father’s wedding party,” said Peter Ingemi at Steve’s Market. “We have his picture hanging up in the store.”

A member of the Class of 1941 at Salem High, he was in the drama club and encouraged to become an actor by a teacher. He used to come back to Salem a couple of times a year and attended high school reunions.

“He really loved Salem ... I want to stress that,” said his cousin, Regina Camarda.

Lyceum legacy

We come to you today with hat in hand.

A story on Turner’s Seafood at Lyceum Hall, which opened Tuesday night, mentioned that it is located in the same building where George Harrington ran The Lyceum restaurant for so many years.

That is correct, but what it didn’t mention is that The Lyceum was really the creation of Joan Boudreau, a dynamic local business leader who died of cancer in 2007.

Boudreau risked a lot in 1970 when she put her money into a rundown brick building on Church Street. And she took that chance at a time when downtown revitalization often meant razing buildings, not restoring them.

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