BOSTON (CBS) — Anthony Martignetti, known for playing a boy in a classic TV commercial who runs home for spaghetti night in Boston’s North End, has died. The star of the Prince Spaghetti ad was 63 years old.
In the 1969 commercial, Martignetti races through the Italian-American neighborhood after hearing his mother call out “Anthony! Anthony!” Mary Fiumara, who played his mother, died in 2016.
The commercial made him a household name, and while his sweet face became familiar to many, no one knew that North End boy better than his big brother Andy.
“He didn’t have a mean bone in his body,” Andy Martignetti said. “His glass was always half full. He saw the best in people.”
The 63-year-old passed away suddenly in West Roxbury Saturday. He’d worked as a trial court officer in Dedham. Decades have passed since that endearing little boy was first seen on TV, but his heartbroken family says he grew up to be just that: the brother and friend you’d be lucky to have.
“He’s one in a million. He didn’t see color. He didn’t see race. He didn’t see wealth. He didn’t see status in life,” Andy Martignetti said. “He was a man of character and love. He would do anything for anyone. They don’t make ‘em like that anymore. I wish I had some of his attributes. I wish I did.”
The Prince Spaghetti brand originated in Boston and declared in the long-running ad that Wednesday was Prince Spaghetti Day.
“We weren’t actors, or part of the Screen Actors Guild,” Martignetti told WBZ-TV in 2016. “We were just regular people from the neighborhood. That’s what made the commercial so good.”