Entry dated :: June 21, 1989
New York  
Giancarlo Parretti:
The Man Who Would Buy Hollywood

Giancarlo Parretti, my mysterious host at L'Circe, had become a movie mogul only recently. In 1982,, he had been working for a tuna fish processing factory in Hong Kong. Now, according to Variety, his company, which controls Pathe in France and The Cannon Group in Hollywood, is worth $1.5 billion. The two other guests are my friend Mario Platero, an Italian journalist in New York, and Parretti’s partner, Florio Fiorini. Fiorini, a bear of a man, with a cherubic face, reminds me of the character played by Robert Morley in the film "Beat The Devil." I had come across his name in my investigation into Calvi, “God’s Banker,” who in 1982 had been found hanging from a rope under Blackfriar's bridge in London. Just before Calvi’s mysterious death, Fiorino had offered to rescue his bank.

He is short, bright-eyed and buoyant in a clownish way. With exaggerated hand gestures, as if he was leading an orchestra, he describes even before the first course arrives, his recent purchases which include a mansion in Beverly Hills with a walk-in steel vault (that he is proud of), paintings by Picasso, Miro and Goya, a Rolls Royce, a Gulfstream, Maderos, an Italian restaurant in Hollywood, Tramps, a disco, and a private satellite hook-up in LA to get Italian soccer games.

I explain I want to write an article about him for Vanity Fair. “I love Tina Brown,” he answers, what would you like to know? I ask about the career path that brought him to Hollywood. "I am a Scorpio and Scorpios make their own world". He had been born on October 26, 1940 in Orvieto in Umbria, about 100 miles north of Rome. His father, a humble wine merchant, had seen little need for a formal education, and at the age of 17 he began his career as a waiter. During the nineteen-sixties, he learned English, which he still speaks with an Italian accent, working as a ship's steward on the Queen Elizabeth. He then worked as a waiter at the Savoy Hotel in London and an unnamed restaurant in Sicily. He still seemed to relish those waiting days. When the pasta course arrived on a chafing dish, Parretti leapt up to help the Captain prepare it.

While Parretti was preparing our pasta, I ask Fiorini about the Calvi affair. "It was not so sinister," he answers with an angelic smile.

I asked Parretti about his plans. “MGM,” he answered, "When I went there to visit my friend Kirk Kerkorian, I offered him a billion dollars for it. He’s thinking about it.” Why did he want MGM— a studioless studio. He explained, without missing a beat, “When I was there I became obsessed with the beautiful girls in the lobby. Those girls are worth a billion-- at least Sex is the only worthwhile sport I know." He, laughed uproariously at his own joke.

But I pointed out Kerkorian had just announced that he was negotiating to sell MGM to an Australian Company, Quintex. Parretti shrugged it off, saying “they are trying to keep me out of Hollywood.” He elaborated that he was opposed by the "Hollywood Mafia." "They are all Jews. The Jews control it and they don’t want an Italian. The Jews are out to stop me, to destroy me." At that point, Fiorini, realizing that I— as well as Mario Platero— were Jewish, began nudging Parretti with his elbow. "I don't care,” Parretti continued, “The Jews are brilliant, great people. All that matters is to die in the arms of a beautiful woman."

At that point, some cigarette smoke is drifting over from the cigarette of a heavy-jeweled woman behind us. Like a matador, Parretti leaps up, unfurls his dinner napkin, and with it waves the smoke back in the face of the startled woman. "I don't like to be interrupted," he says. "Tomorrow we fly to Rio de Janeiro to buy Television Monte Carlo," he says, rising to leave. He gives the waiters three bottles of Tuscan wine."as presents" Dragging Fiorini with him, he suggests we meet again at his studio in Hollywood.

Questions? Email me at edepstein@worldnet.att.net
This website is still (heavily) under construction. The webmistress can be reached at june@jooon.com