Newsday has been contacted by Apollonia Corleone, first wife of Michael Corleone, to say reports of her death are false. Apollonia survived the car bombing originally intended for her husband; therefore, if Michael Corleone were still alive, he would no longer be a widower.
This news also means that Diane Keaton as Kay Adams was never legally married to Michael and their children are illegitimate. A battery of lawyers is currently working on having the children return all inherited lira to the Family which will pass on a generous portion to Apollinia.
Oddly, it was just last year that Simonetta Stefanelli, the then-17-year-old actress who portrayed Apollonia in Coppola’s 1972 masterpiece, The Godfather, was said to have died of cancer at the age of 51. Another untrue Apollonia Death story.
At the time of her purported assassination in Sicily before the horrified eyes of husband Michael Corleone, who had been sent to Italy to avoid prosecution for the double murders of Captain McCluskey and Virgil The Turk” Sollozzo, Apollonia got into a car to show unsuspecting Michael, the intended target, that she had learned how to drive. BOOM! KAPOW! So long Apollonia. Except now we know she’s alive.
Stefanelli, who captivated audiences and Al Pacino with her beauty, said yesterday during a phone interview from Rome, “I am alive, I am happy and I have many good things in my life.” However, she feels false stories of her death, including Wiki and Find-a-Grave sites, have cost her some business. She is currently designing purses and shoes.
The fake death reports haven’t stopped even with the help of an Italian lawyer, Rosanna Grillo, who has asked without success for information about the source of internet postings.. “I lost [clients] because … many people don’t call me,” an aurally upset Stefanelli told Newsday.
Post-The Godfather, she appeared in more than two dozen films, some with her actor-director husband Michele Placido, from whom she is currently separated. She was also known to have posed for Playboy in 1974. Leave it to Hefner not to accept the death story.
Stefanelli said it was her son Brenno who first noticed an Internet posting that reported she died last July. Thinking the boy was joking, Stefanelli said her first instinct was to chastise him. “Why would you say such a joke?,” she remembered asking her son. “No, really,” was Brenno’s reply as he showed her the Internet posting.
Stefanelli remembered getting calls from friends, some in tears, who believed she was dead. After getting a recent condolence message from a Newsday report, Stefanelli’s daughter, actress Violante Placido, replied on October 9 that her mother was alive.
“I have seen her mother two days ago and she is doing very well,” said Violante’s agent, Daniela Di Santo, in an e-mail message.
Stefanelli said she hasn’t gone to the Italian media about the problem of being thought dead, fearing more unpleasant publicity. She decided to talk to Newsday because she recently opened a boutique on Rome’s Via Chiana, called Simo Bloom, and wants people to know she is alive.
If a film project came along she might take it, Stefanelli said. “But after my death, I don’t know,” she laughed.
FSR trusts that, with this new information, someone will dig up Michael Corleone so a Godfather IV can be filmed beginning with Apollinia’s being dragged by Michael to safety from the exploding automobile. She of course should be wearing a pair of shoes designed by Simonetta Stefanelli.