Lifestyle: a local Boston great.
Anthony Martignetti, Star Of Iconic Spaghetti Commercial, Dies
Martignetti, 63, starred in the Prince spaghetti commercial in the 1970s that ingrained Wednesday as spaghetti day for a generation.
BOSTON — Anthony Martignetti, who became famous in a Prince spaghetti commercial in the 1970s showing him running through Boston’s North End, has died. He was 63.
Martignetti’s brother told Boston 25 News he died in his sleep. A funeral is scheduled for Friday at St. Theresa’s in West Roxbury, followed by a burial at the Forest Hill Cemetery.
Martignetti starred the Prince ad campaign, which ingrained Wednesday as “spaghetti day” for a generation of television viewers and showed him running through the streets as an actress portraying his mother called her son to dinner.
The commercial made its debut in 1969. It was so popular it continued to air for 13 years with the tagline “Wednesday is Prince spaghetti day.”
As an adult, Martignetti moved out of the neighborhood which had traditionally been a settling place for Italian and Jewish immigrants. He worked as a court officer and would still hear people call out “Anthony!” as he walked through his old neighborhood.
“I remember getting letters, people saying they named their kids after me, Anthony,” Martignetti told WBUR in an interview marking the commercial’s 50th anniversary last year. “People say to me, ‘My name’s Anthony and people stretch it out when they say it, the same way they do it in the ad. They sing it.'”
Martignetti, who was born in Italy, was 12 when he filmed the commercial. He was not an actor, but was cast for the commercial after two ad executives asked him for directions as they scouted locations in the North End.