Beefing With Mario Puzo

In a 1972 New York magazine article recounting the success of The Godfather, author Mario Puzo wrote that Sinatra hated him, because he believed the lounge singer character Johnny Fontane in the best-selling book was based on him.

Later, after a mutual friend introduced the two men at the trendy restaurant Chersen’s in Los Angeles, Sinatra cursed out Puzo and called the writer a pimp.

“I do remember him saying that if it wasn’t that I was so much older than him, he would beat the hell out of me,” Puzo claimed. Deciding it was in his best interest to leave, a humiliated Puzo recalled Frank screaming after him, “Choke. Go ahead and choke.”