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Age 72, of Clairton, passed away on Thursday, March 8, 2012. Born February 14, 1940 in McKeesport, he was preceded in death by his parents, Rudolph Ricci, Sr. and Anne Giansanti Ricci and brother, Mark Ricci. He is survived by his beloved wife of 46 years, Mary Jane Polivka Ricci; nieces, Michelle (Dejan) Milentijevic, Jonette Bost and Lisa Ricci; nephew, John Bost; also, aunts, cousins, great-nieces and a great-nephew. Rudy was a talented actor, writer, producer and director. He got his start as an actor while attending the University of Pittsburgh in the early 1960s, where he starred in the Pitt Players stage production of "The Hairy Ape", for which he received rave reviews. His writing career also began at Pitt receiving numerous awards from the Atlantic Monthly for his poetry and short stories. Before going to Pitt, Rudy attended Carnegie Tech School for Fine Arts, where he met George Romero and they soon discovered their love of films. With Russell Steiner, whom he met at the Pittsburgh Playhouse, the three of them started the Latent Image, the company that locally wrote, produced and directed the cult classic, "Night of the Living Dead". After the Latent Image and working for several advertising agencies, he became the founder and president of "New American Films", a company that produced many local television commercials. At New American, he wrote, directed and starred in the film "The Booby Hatch". Rudy also co-wrote "The Return of the Living Dead". He then started Ricci Enterprises, which also produced local television commercials and had several different screenplay projects in the development stage. One of his projects was the recipient of the Gold Award from the Houston International Film Festival for Screenplay-Comedy-Original of "Night of the Real Dead People". Rudy loved sports and was an avid, better-than-average golfer and tennis player. He also taught himself to play golf with a fused right leg. While most people use a cane to help maneuver with a bad leg, he used his putter and a favorite golf club. He was always being asked, "Where can I buy canes like you have?" Mr. Ricci worked as a consultant for MJM Ventures, a Nevada based corporation that specializes in computer-statistical analysis and mathematical probability, from where he was able to incorporate his love of sports by handicapping pro football games. Rudy had a huge love of life, and, due to his acting talents, enjoyed entertaining his family and friends by telling great stories with humorous impersonations and dialects. At the time of his death, Mr. Ricci was working on a novel, "Dante's Itch", which was a tribute to his family and Italian heritage. Friends will be received for a Memorial gathering to celebrate Rudy's life on Sunday, March 18, 2012 from 1-3 p.m. at the A.J. BEKAVAC FUNERAL HOME, 555 Fifth St., Clairton, PA 15025, 412-233-5700, followed by a 3 p.m. Memorial Service in the funeral home chapel, with Rev. Jude Urso officiating. Memorial contributions may be made to a .
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Published in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Mar. 15, 2012
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