Richard Bright, 68; Character Actor Was in All 3 'Godfather' Films

From Associated Press

Richard Bright, a character actor who portrayed a Corleone family bodyguard in all three "Godfather" movies, was struck and killed by a bus in New York, police said.

Bright, 68, was hit by a private bus as he crossed the street about 6:30 p.m. Saturday in his Manhattan neighborhood, said Det. Bernard Gifford.

There were no arrests as of Sunday, but police said the investigation was continuing. The bus driver told police he was not aware that he had hit anyone.

In the "Godfather" trilogy, made from 1972 to 1990, Bright portrayed mob enforcer Al Neri, a bodyguard to the Corleone family patriarchs played by Marlon Brando and Al Pacino. He counted the part among his favorite roles.

Bright played a con artist hustling Ali McGraw in 1972's "The Getaway" and acted in dozens of other films, such as "Looking for Mr. Goodbar" (1977) and Sergio Leone's "Once Upon a Time in America" (1984), and in TV shows such as NBC's "Hill Street Blues."

"He always said it was the work that was the reward," said Brett Smiley, a friend and fellow actor.

Bright was arrested in 1965 on an obscenity charge for language he used in a San Francisco production of poet Michael McClure's two-person play "The Beard," which was shut down.

The American Civil Liberties Union took up the case, and the charges against Bright were later dismissed in what was considered a precedent for artistic expression rights.

More recently, Bright was featured on NBC's "Law & Order" and HBO's "The Sopranos."

Born June 11, 1937, in Brooklyn, N.Y., he was the son of a shipbuilder, Ernest, and his wife, Matilda.

Information on survivors was not immediately available.

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