Grand Prix actor Antonio Sabato Sr dead at 77

Gillian Wolski
·Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
·3-min read

Antonio Sabato Sr., the Italian-American star of Grand Prix, has died at the age of 77, his son, Antonio Sabato Jr. has announced on social media.

In a heartfelt post on Instagram, Sabato Jr., 48, who is also an actor, said that his ‘papa’ had died on Sunday morning (local time) but did not provide a cause of death.

Actor Antonio Sabato Jr. (C), his father Antonio Sabato Sr. and girlfriend Kristin Rosetti arrive for the premiere of the movie Wasabi Tuna at the Arclight Theater August 20, 2003 in Hollywood, California.  (Photo by Carlo Allegri/Getty Images)
Antonio Sabato Jr. (centre, with his then-partner Kristin Rosetti in 2003) has announced the death of his father, Antonio Sabato Sr. (right). Photo: Getty Images.

“This morning our Papa Antonio Sabato, Sr. sadly passed away peacefully at 11:15am Pacific Time.

“His many years as a successful actor and screenwriter both in Italy and the United States were his artistic passion. He had so many interests including boating the islands surrounding Italy, Formula 1 racing, culinary cooking and many more.

Sabato Sr.'s son, Antonio Sabato Jr., announced his passing in a heartfelt Instagram post. Photo: Instagram/antoniosabatojr.
Sabato Sr.'s son, Antonio Sabato Jr., announced his passing in a heartfelt Instagram post. Photo: Instagram/antoniosabatojr.

“His generosity was ever-present and his sense of humour and personality could fill a room. However, nothing was more important to him or held his attention more than his love for his children and grandchildren Jack Antonio, Mina Bree and Antonio III.

“Our hearts are broken today, we will miss him dearly and we send our love with him. We love you Papa and we will see you again.”

Sabato Jr. posted a photo collage of his late father including family snaps and professional images from his 50-year acting career.

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Italian-American actor Antonio Sabato Sr. stars in the film 'Grand Prix', April 1966. (Photo by Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Italian-American actor Antonio Sabato Sr. stars in the film 'Grand Prix', April 1966. (Photo by Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Cause of death

Sabato Sr. reportedly passed away in Los Angeles from ‘COVID-19 complications,’ according to Deadline, although his son has yet to confirm this was the case.

In a recent series of now-deleted tweets, however, The Bold and the Beautiful star Sabato Jr. revealed that his father had tested positive for COVID-19 and was being treated in intensive care in a Californian hospital.

“My papa/dad is in intensive care with covid in California,” he wrote on January 4. “Lord keep him surrounded by angels and pure God's love & strength within.”

The following day, Sabato Jr. updated his followers on his dad’s worsening condition and asked for their thoughts and prayers.

Antonio Sabato Jr appeared to imply that his father had passed away in a now-deleted tweet on January 6. Photo: Twitter/AntonioSabatoJr.
Antonio Sabato Jr appeared to imply that his father had passed away in a now-deleted tweet on January 6. Photo: Twitter/AntonioSabatoJr.

“My papa/dad is fighting for his life and not doing good and we can't even see him or be next to him,” he wrote.

Then on January 6, Sabato Jr. appeared to imply that his father had passed away in two tweets, one of which said, “Ciao papa” along with the broken heart and prayer hand emoji.

However, early on January 10, Sabato Jr. posted a stern message over on his Instagram account warning his followers, “Don’t listen to the press or anything related to my father.”

“Until I with my family release a statement official... statement all is a bunch of lies,” he went on.

“Please be patient and let us go through this in peace and privacy, thank you, ASJR.”

Later that same day he formally announced Sabato Sr.’s death.

Sabato Sr’s Hollywood career

Sabato Sr. got his start in showbiz in his home country of Italy, starring in the film Lo scandalo in 1966. That same year he landed a role in Grand Prix which went on to win three Academy Awards for its technical achievements.

He relocated with his family from Italy to Los Angeles in 1985 and later starred alongside his son in the 1997 action film High Voltage.

Sabato Sr.’s final project was playing Aldo Damiano on The Bold and the Beautiful in 2006.

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