Tall and solidly built, this Italian-American professional wrestler turned actor was born Lenny Passaforo in Brooklyn, New York, and is best remembered for his first on-screen role as the not too bright but ever loyal bodyguard Luca Brasi in The Godfather (1972). Montana didn’t get a lot of screen time before being eliminated by the henchmen of opposing gangster Al Lettieri with a garrote and a knife; however, he caught the eye of casting agents and over the next ten years racked up roles in 16 movies. Usually cast as “muscle for hire”, he was equally good at playing the intimidating thug or a buffoonish hoodlum, such as in Battle Creek Brawl (1980) and The Jerk (1979). His last film appearance was in the B-thriller Blood Song (1982), which he also co-wrote. He died in May 1992 of a heart attack while in Italy.
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