Abruzzo Stars & Stripes, the latest release by Abruzzese publishing house Ricerche&Redazioni tells the extraordinary tale of Vincenzo Pelliccione, otherwise known as Eugene DeVerdi, an Italian man who left his home in Abruzzo to live the American dream in the United States, at just 20 years old.
A Twist of Fate
Pelliccione was working as a painter and poet for several years after emigrating from Italy when he decided to make another big move, this time to Hollywood on the glamorous West Coast. It is here where Pelliccione experienced a chance encounter with Charlie Chaplin that would change the course of his life forever. At the time, Chaplin was at the height of his career as a comedic actor after rising to fame during the era of silent film. The two happened to meet in a restaurant when the superstar himself was simply stunned at the incredible resemblance.
“I, a poor Abruzzese emigrant in search of fortune, became Chaplin,” Pelliccione once said. This dream came true in almost an instant because after that lucky restaurant exchange, Chaplin immediately took Pelliccione under his wing. From earning two dollars a day, spending one on food and the other on English lessons, Pelliccione now found himself living in the shadow of a Hollywood legend.
Rise to the Top
From that point, Pelliccione began replacing Chaplin in the tests for hit movies like The Circus, The Great Dictator, City Lights, and Modern Times. He also participated in the live tours that took place in Florida and California. After working as the actor’s double for ten years, Chaplin abruptly decided to continue on without Pelliccione by his side. Pelliccione wasn’t done with the film industry though and chose to embark on a new journey as a lights and special effects technician for many memorable films including Ben-Hur and Cleopatra. He even returned to Italy to work at Cinecittà, the largest film studio in Europe.
Even though Chaplin and Pelliccione eventually ended their partnership, their story is nothing but intriguing. It seems as if their paths were destined to intertwine and the fact that the two passed away just six months apart makes their bond that much more mysterious. For those who want to read more about the fascinating life of Vincenzo Pelliccione, purchase Abruzzo Stars & Stripes today!