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Anthony Franciosa and Rita Thiel


After 3 marriages, Anthony "Tony" Franciosa finally got it right when he married Rita Thiel. Their marriage lasted 35 years until his death in January, 2006. Here's information about how Anthony and Rita met, their children, quotes, and more.


Anthony "Tony" George Papaleo Jr was born on October 25, 1928 in New York, New York. He adopted his mother's maiden name of Franciosa for his screen name.

Rita Thiel was born in Germany.


Anthony Franciosa died at the age of 77 at UCLA Medical Center on January 19, 2006. He died after suffering a massive stroke.

How Anthony and Rita Meet:

Anthony and Rita met in 1967 at an Los Angeles club.

Wedding Date:

Rita and Anthony married on November 27, 1970. They spent their honeymoon at the Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles.

25th Wedding Anniversary Celebration:

To celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary, Anthony and Rita chose to renew their wedding vows at a church near their home. They spent the night at the same hotel where they spent their wedding night.


Anthony had three children, and a granddaughter, Ruby.

  • Nina Franciosa, was born in 1964. Her mother is Judy Kanter. Nina was a theater-arts major at the University of Southern California and is now a mortgage consultant.

  • Marco Franciosa was born c.1972. His mother is Rita Thiel. Marco was a volunteer with AmeriCorps in Washington.
  • Christoper Franciosa was born c.1968. His mother is Rita Thiel. He graduated from University of California at Los Angeles. Christopher's first marriage ended in divorce. He then married Marissa Diane Burgoyne at the Stowehof Inn and Resort in Stowe, Vermont on May 26, 2002. Both Christopher and Marissa are stage actors. Christopher is also a playwright.

Previous Marriages:

Anthony had three previous marriages.

  • Beatrice Bakalyar, a writer. They were married for five years from 1952 to 1957 when they divorced.

  • Judy Balaban Kanter, an author amd real estate agent. They married in 1961 and had one daughter, Nina. Anthony and Judy divorced in 1967.

  • Shelley Winters, actress. His marriage to Shelley was on May 4, 1957 in Reno, Nevada was his second marriage. Tony Franciosa proposed by having agent Stan Kamen present her with a box containing a diamond wedding ring. Tony re-enacted the marriage proposal on "The Steve Allen Show" of July 28, 1957. After Anthony's affairs with Ava Gardner and Silvana Mangano, their marriage ended in divorce in November, 1960.


Anthony was a Golden Globe award winning actor. Before becoming successful at acting, he worked as a waiter, dishwasher, day laborer, and messenger boy.

Rita was a fashion model.


Anthony enjoyed swimming, tennis, reading, photography, and writing poetry. He was also active in the civil rights movement.


Rita, about Anthony's hair-trigger temper: "He was never taught how to control his temper...I changed him a lot....We still have good fights once in a while, but I can scream back at him."
Source: People Weekly, March 18, 1996 v45 n11 p73

Anthony, about Rita's influence on him: "It took years of therapy and simply Iiving through things to finally accept and enjoy myself. My wife Rita's influence has been profound in that process. Her family was a product of The Great Disaster -- World War 11. She emerged from the flames with a remarkable buoyancy. Each day she rises with an optimism, a serenity toward life that is certainly contagious. Does that sound romantic? If so, so be it."
Source: TV Heaven

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