Elmhurst Native's Documentary Does Deep Dive into Underworld Life of His Mob Boss Uncle
From Elmhurst to Hollywood: Nick Celozzi II awarded for documentary he wrote and produced.
Elmhurst native Nick Celozzi's fascination with the Chicago Mob has led to two awards for a documentary film he wrote and produced.
The documentary, about Celozzi's great-uncle Sam Giancana, delves into the life of the Chicago organized crime boss.
The film, Momo: The Sam Giancana Story, received The Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary film in Los Angeles at The Bel-Air Film Festival in October, and it will receive a Filmmaking Award for Best Documentary at The Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival Dec. 5.
Momo: The Sam Giancana Story presents previously untold aspects of the iconic American figure, who was both gangster and good guy.
“What I think people will take away from this film is how complicit the government and organized crime were in the their working relationship," Celozzi said. "The one did not exist without the other. People will relearn history as we know it.”
The documentary reveals Giancana, America’s biggest organized crime leader, as a U.S. government operative for the CIA and FBI. A friend of Frank Sinatra and a lover of Marilyn Monroe, he was one of the most powerful men in the country from 1958-1966. Hired by the Kennedys to get JFK elected, Giancana also was running the U.S. government while its political and societal leaders looked the other way.
Momo: The Sam Giancana Story details the life of a tough, impoverished kid who rose through the ranks of Chicago’s underworld to become a top member—many say the real godfather—of the most ruthless gangland organization in the country: The Outfit, run by Al Capone. It also showcases Giancana's daughters, who best knew their father as a loving family man. Bonnie Giancana and Fran Giancana, who speak about their father publicly for the first time in 30 years, offer never-before-revealed insight into Sam Giancana.
Celozzi, who runs his film business in Chicago and Los Angeles, has written and produced more than 20 independent films and has licensed them to Warner Brothers, Showtime, USA Cable, Sony, Columbia/Tri-Star, United Artists, MCA Universal, TNT, VH1 and Lifetime Channel.
As an actor, he co-starred in movies and TV shows with Steven Segal, Danny Aiello, Michael Pare, Ron Pearlman, George Peppard, Robert Conrad, Judd Nelson, Alison Eastwood, Dick Van Patten among others, and played as a re-occurring character in Days of Our Lives.
Celozzi owns North Hollywood Acting Studios, an acting school in Naperville. His next Chicago-based project is a reality show in which he teaches acting students the truth about what it takes to have an acting career. Auditions will take place in Chicago in December, and the show will air next year.
The Los Angeles-based Emmy award-winning film production company, The Wolper Organization, optioned television rights for Celozzi’s current screenplay, The Legitimate Wiseguy, a true coming-of-age story about a young man (Celozzi) and his relationship with The Outfit’s Las Vegas mob boss, Anthony Spilotro.