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Frank Da Vinci 1933-2013


GROUP: Members


Report this Jul. 22 2013, 6:09 pm

Frank James "Buddy" Vinci February 14, 1933 ~ June 4, 2013 Frank James "Buddy" Vinci passed away peacefully at his home in Palm Springs of renal failure. He was born in Chicago on Valentine's Day in 1933. After completing high school he went to business school at night while working in the credit department for high-end clothing store Morris B. Sachs. In this job, Buddy was a male model for a weekly television program Sachs developed to showcase its clothing line. Buddy's work on television gave him his first taste for show business, and in 1951, he cashed in $600 of savings bonds to buy a one-way plane ticket to Hollywood. Once Buddy arrived in Los Angeles, he lived in a rooming house and worked as a driver for then-unknown Pete Peterson, who was just starting his magazine empire, Peterson Publications. Two months after his arrival, he met actor and dancer George B. Ellsworthe, who, at age 26, was seven years Buddy's senior. George had already established himself in Hollywood having danced with the famous Ethel Merman in Call Me Madam. The two became instant friends, and George took Buddy to Warner Bros. Studios to get him his first job in the studio's mail room. Buddy later became a tour guide for Warner Bros. and went on to work in the studio's publicity department. When he wasn't working, Buddy was in the studio studying dance with George. While at Warner Bros. Buddy began working in film after catching the eye of acclaimed director and producer Arthur Lubin, who had to his credit more than 50 successful films in addition to several TV shows. Buddy's first of many films was Phantom of the Rue Morgue with Karl Malden and Claude Dauphin. He also worked as a double-most notably for actor Anthony Perkins in renowned director Alfred Hitchcock's famous thriller Psycho. In fact, it was Buddy's silhouette that audiences saw stabbing actress Janet Leigh to death in the shower of the Bates Motel. Buddy's acting career also included recurring roles in television's Star Trek and Mission Impossible, as well as commercials for a variety of companies such as Irish Spring soap. For stability between acting roles, George and Buddy later opened a bar and night club, sold it for a profit, and went on to open another club featuring celebrated jazz singer Anita O' Day-all before buying famed actor Jack LaRue's club on Ventura Boulevard in Studio City. Wisely, they started buying the real estate on both sides of the club until they had seven contiguous properties, which they donated to Pepperdine University following their retirement. Additionally, Buddy held a real estate license and operated his own real estate company and, with George, ran several small businesses offering goods and services such as dry cleaning, dog grooming, and pet supplies. Buddy was predeceased by his loving partner of 61 years, George B. Ellsworthe, whose obituary is also here. He is survived by his brother Charles Vinci of Rancho Mirage, a few cousins and an aunt in the Temecula area, and his close friends Dennis and Averi Torres of Malibu.

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