The 1961 Arrest of Al Pacino

Think of Al Pacino and the first thing that comes to mind is his tremendous acting ability and some of the iconic roles he has made his own: Tony Montana in Scarface, Michael Corleone in The Godfather trilogy, Lefty in Donnie Brasco, Lt Vincent Hanna in Heat – the list goes on! But preceding all of this was his arrest for attempted robbery at the age of twenty.

Al Pacino mugshot, 1961

On the night of January 7, 1961, Pacino, along with two actor friends, Bruce Cohen and Vincent Calcagni, were driving in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, when police noticed that their vehicle had circled the block a few times. They were stopped, and when officers approached the car the three men inside were found to be wearing black masks and gloves. Upon searching the vehicle, police also found a loaded .38 caliber pistol. All three were charged with possession of a concealed weapon.

After realising that none of them could afford bail, which had been set at $2,000, they each spent three days in jail. The arresting officer remembered Pacino as being ‘very helpful’ during questioning, and had explained that he and his two friends were actors and had been on their way to an acting job which required the weapon as a prop. All criminal charges against the three were later dropped.

Since then, Al Pacino has gone on to mega-stardom and legendary status in an acting career that has spanned almost five decades.

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