Vito Scotti was one of those character actors that most people of a certain age (i.e., middle to old) recognize from dozens of TV shows throughout the years. Though he also played rolls in a number of feature films (most notably The Godfather, Von Ryan’s Express, The Boatniks, and, his final picture, Get Shorty), Vito can be seen in so many TV shows that only the super brains

at IMDB can count them. Personally, I don’t have the time. Well, I do actually have the time, but it would require me getting off the couch, so I don’t bother.

Vito Scotti

Vito Scotti, a handsome man and one fine actor.

My siblings and I first noticed Vito Scotti in the 1970s from what seemed like dozens of appearances on reruns of Gilligan’s Island. He played a mad scientist who tried to use the castaways in some of his evil experiments. When we saw him play a Japanese submarine pilot from World War II who wasn’t aware that the War was over, we knew he was one of Hollywood’s great talents.

Vito was born in San Francisco but lived in his family’s hometown of Naples, Italy for several years until they moved back to the U.S. He often played characters of Italian descent, but he could also pass as Latino, Russian, and Indian (Dal Singh in Rescue 8, 1959). Not anyone can pull off playing an Asian, though, without being horribly offensive. Well, maybe Vito couldn’t either, but people just didn’t care about those things in the ’60s.

The point is that once we recognized him and learned his name, we noticed that he started showing up in other episodes of our favorite TV shows. We saw him in The Odd Couple (which had its own recurring character actor Richard Stahl play everything from a pet shop owner to a minister), he was in a dozen episodes of The Flying Nun, and just a few years ago, while going through Columbo DVDs like they contained the mysteries of the universe, I noticed him in one of those episodes as well. It comes as no surprise that he would show up in such shows as Fantasy Island or Love American Style and just about every crime show from Hawaii Five-O and McMillan & Wife to Charlie’s Angels and ChiPs.

Vito Scotti

Yes, he played a Japanese sailor on Gilligan's Island.

What couldn’t this guy do? Or maybe more importantly, what wouldn’t this guy do? Although he played many rolls in some classics of television, he can also be found in such oddities as The Wackiest Ship in the Army (didn’t know this was a TV show too), Tales of Wells Fargo (which could be a completely different show today), and Small & Frye (Small & Frye?—a show from the ’80s that even I don’t recognize.).

In fact, there are 130 different TV series that Vito Scotti played in at least once (the list follows). Do we see actors like this in TV shows today? One of the issues in television today is that character actors generally don’t play different rolls in the same show anymore. People don’t buy it.

Lisa Kudrow started playing a recurring roll in Mad About You in 1992, and when she started full time on Friends a couple years later, this weirdness had to be explained somehow, and it eventually was.

Richard Belzer is in the Guinness Book of World Records for playing the same character (Detective John Munch) on TEN different TV series.

Vito Scotti didn’t need these gimmicks. Vito Scotti was old school. He would play any show, any character that needed him. He was an actor’s actor, and we loved him for it. Even to this day, if one of my siblings notices him on something, we have to tell the others. He’s that important.

I just wish he had been on Sea Hunt.

  1. “Mad About You” …. Antonio (1 episode, 1995)
  2. “Empty Nest” …. Mr. Tartaglia (1 episode, 1994)
  3. “Northern Exposure” …. Godfather (1 episode, 1992)
  4. “The Fanelli Boys” …. Sicilian #1 (1 episode, 1990)
  5. “Columbo” …. Chadwick / … (6 episodes, 1973-1989)
  6. “The Golden Girls” …. Dominic / … (2 episodes, 1988-1989)
  7. “Charles in Charge” …. Dino Firenzi (1 episode, 1988)
  8. “Who’s the Boss?” …. Uncle Aldo Micelli (2 episodes, 1985-1988)
  9. “Faerie Tale Theatre” …. Antonio (1 episode, 1984)
  10. “Trapper John, M.D.” (1 episode, 1984)
  11. “Small & Frye” …. Angie (1 episode, 1983)
  12. “CHiPs” …. Charles / … (2 episodes, 1977-1983)
  13. “Madame’s Place” …. Inspector Putzeau (1 episode, 1982)
  14. “Fantasy Island” …. Antoine de Vouvray / … (2 episodes, 1979-1982)
  15. “CBS Children’s Mystery Theatre” …. Marco Roselli (1 episode, 1981)
  16. “Hart to Hart” …. Vito (1 episode, 1981)
  17. “Vega$” …. Casino Manager / … (2 episodes, 1980-1981)
  18. “Disneyland” …. Chaco / … (6 episodes, 1960-1980)
  19. “Hawaii Five-O” …. Bill Baskin (1 episode, 1980)
  20. “B.J. and the Bear” …. Storage Facility Manager (1 episode, 1980)
  21. “Charlie’s Angels” …. Tyrone (1 episode, 1980)
  22. “Young Maverick” …. Cardenas (1 episode, 1979)
  23. “Dear Detective” (1 episode, 1979)
  24. “Happy Days” …. Otto (1 episode, 1979)
  25. “Baretta” …. Franco (1 episode, 1977)
  26. “Police Woman” …. Luigi (1 episode, 1977)
  27. “Ark II” …. Sancho Panza (1 episode, 1976)
  28. “Monster Squad” …. Albert / … (1 episode, 1976)
  29. “The Bionic Woman” …. Romero (2 episodes, 1976)
  30. “Mobile One” (1 episode, 1975)
  31. “The Lost Saucer” …. Scientist #2 (1 episode, 1975)
  32. “McCoy” …. Papa Leone (1 episode, 1975)
  33. “Adam-12” …. Charley Prender (1 episode, 1974)
  34. “Get Christie Love!” (1 episode, 1974)
  35. “McMillan & Wife” …. Alonzo / … (3 episodes, 1971-1974)
  36. “Love, American Style” … (4 episodes, 1969-1973)
  37. “Shaft” …. Charley (1 episode, 1973)
  38. The Brady Bunch” …. Cooking Show Host (1 episode, 1971)
  39. “The Odd Couple” …. Pepe (1 episode, 1971)
  40. “Gunsmoke” …. Indiana / … (4 episodes, 1965-1970)
  41. “Barefoot in the Park” …. Mr. Velasquez (7 episodes, 1970)
  42. “To Rome with Love” …. Gino / … (6 episodes, 1969-1970)
  43. “Make Room for Granddaddy” …. Leon (1 episode, 1970)
  44. “Get Smart” …. Dante / … (2 episodes, 1965-1970)
  45. “Ironside” …. Manuel Rodriguez Sr. (1 episode, 1969)
  46. “Hogan’s Heroes” …. Major Bonacelli (1 episode, 1969)
  47. “The Flying Nun” …. Capt. Gaspar Fomento / … (12 episodes, 1967-1969)
  48. “Hallmark Hall of Fame” (1 episode, 1967)
  49. “Daniel Boone” …. Priest (1 episode, 1967)
  50. “Rango” (1 episode, 1967)
  51. “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” …. Beirut / … (2 episodes, 1965-1967)
  52. “The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.” …. Dr. Igor Gork (1 episode, 1967)
  53. “The Monkees” …. Dr. Markovich (1 episode, 1967)
  54. “The Wild Wild West” …. Cefalu (1 episode, 1966)
  55. “Batman” …. Matey Dee (2 episodes, 1966)
  56. “The Red Skelton Show” …. Supporting Player (1 episode, 1966)
  57. “Gilligan’s Island” …. Dr. Boris Balinkoff / … (4 episodes, 1965-1966)
  58. “The John Forsythe Show” …. Gonzales (1 episode, 1966)
  59. “The Wackiest Ship in the Army” (1 episode, 1966)
  60. “The Munsters” …. Man on Radio / … (2 episodes, 1965-1966)
  61. “The Andy Griffith Show” …. Murrillos (1 episode, 1966)
  62. “The Farmer’s Daughter” (2 episodes, 1964-1965)
  63. “The Addams Family” …. Sam Picasso / … (4 episodes, 1964-1965)
  64. “The Virginian” …. Gilly (1 episode, 1965)
  65. “Laredo” …. Chicho (1 episode, 1965)
  66. “Bewitched” …. Mario (1 episode, 1965)
  67. “The Baileys of Balboa” …. Nick (1 episode, 1965)
  68. “The Jack Benny Program” …. Chinese server / … (2 episodes, 1961-1965)
  69. “The Donna Reed Show” …. Prince Georgivani (1 episode, 1964)
  70. “Karen” …. Tony Morelli (1 episode, 1964)
  71. “Kraft Suspense Theatre” …. Tout (1 episode, 1964)
  72. “My Favorite Martian” …. Junkyard Manager / … (2 episodes, 1963-1964)
  73. “Temple Houston” …. Pancho Blanca (1 episode, 1964)
  74. “The Great Adventure” …. Ticket Seller (1 episode, 1964)
  75. “Breaking Point” …. Tony (1 episode, 1963)
  76. “Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre” …. Harry (1 episode, 1963)
  77. “The Rifleman” …. Alphonso / … (4 episodes, 1962-1963)
  78. “G.E. True” …. Perugia (1 episode, 1963)
  79. “Dr. Kildare” …. Mr. Munoz (1 episode, 1963)
  80. “The Wide Country” …. Carlos (1 episode, 1963)
  81. “Going My Way” …. Mr. Molletti (1 episode, 1963)
  82. “The Dick Van Dyke Show” …. Vito Giotto (1 episode, 1963)
  83. “The Gallant Men” …. Giadenza (1 episode, 1963)
  84. “Alcoa Premiere” …. Sancho, the Bartender (1 episode, 1963)
  85. “Stoney Burke” …. Polo (1 episode, 1963)
  86. “The Dick Powell Show” …. Dolpho / … (2 episodes, 1961-1963)
  87. “The Lucy Show” …. Fencing Instructor (1 episode, 1962)
  88. “Lassie” …. Magico the Great (1 episode, 1962)
  89. “The Twilight Zone” …. Peddler / … (2 episodes, 1960-1962)
  90. “Target: The Corruptors” …. Garcia (1 episode, 1962)
  91. “Follow the Sun” (1 episode, 1962)
  92. “Bronco” …. Pio Quinta (2 episodes, 1959-1962)
  93. “Rawhide” …. Manuel Lopez (1 episode, 1962)
  94. “Surfside 6” …. Marcus the Angel / … (3 episodes, 1960-1962)
  95. “Bachelor Father” …. Chef / … (4 episodes, 1960-1961)
  96. “The Investigators” (1 episode, 1961)
  97. “Thriller” …. Buddy Welsh (1 episode, 1961)
  98. “Tales of Wells Fargo” …. Abner Dabler / … (3 episodes, 1959-1961)
  99. “Bonanza” …. Leon Flores / … (2 episodes, 1961)
  100. “Frontier Circus” …. Jaybo (1 episode, 1961)
  101. “Coronado 9” …. Alex Cory / … (1 episode, 1961)
  102. “Outlaws” …. Paco (1 episode, 1961)
  103. “Letter to Loretta” …. Harvey Cox (1 episode, 1961)
  104. “Checkmate” (1 episode, 1960)
  105. “Zorro” …. Chato (2 episodes, 1960)
  106. “Cheyenne” …. Captain Ricardo Diego Cazal / … (1 episode, 1960)
  107. “Adventures in Paradise” …. FouFou (1 episode, 1960)
  108. “The Deputy” …. Jose (6 episodes, 1960)
  109. “Mr. Lucky” …. Jake (1 episode, 1960)
  110. “Shotgun Slade” …. Bernard Rejon (1 episode, 1960)
  111. “Johnny Staccato” …. Carlos (1 episode, 1960)
  112. “General Electric Theater” …. Toto (1 episode, 1960)
  113. “Wagon Train” (1 episode, 1959)
  114. “Peter Gunn” …. Herman / … (3 episodes, 1959)
  115. “The Texan” …. Juan Aruza (1 episode, 1959)
  116. “State Trooper” …. Reggie (1 episode, 1959)
  117. “Sugarfoot” (1 episode, 1959)
  118. “Mike Hammer” …. Geta / … (5 episodes, 1958-1959)
  119. “The Third Man” (1 episode, 1959)
  120. “Perry Mason” …. D’Amato (1 episode, 1959)
  121. “The Californians” …. French Duclos (1 episode, 1959)
  122. “Rescue 8” …. Dal Singh (1 episode, 1959)
  123. “Sky King” …. Amill (1 episode, 1959)
  124. “Steve Canyon” …. Tony Trusco (1 episode, 1959)
  125. “Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse” …. Garcia (1 episode, 1959)
  126. “How to Marry a Millionaire” …. Jules (1 episode, 1958)
  127. “Suspicion” …. José (1 episode, 1957)
  128. “Private Secretary” …. Waiter (1 episode, 1956)
  129. “You Are There” …. Vincenzio Perugia (1 episode, 1956)
  130. “Mysteries of Chinatown” (1 episode, 1950)
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