When the men from the ad agency went to Anthony’s home to explain the particulars to his parents, who spoke little English at the time, his brother Andy volunteered to be the interpreter, a job that conferred some literary license.
“I tried to beat him out of it,” Andy Martignetti said in a phone interview. “I said I can eat a lot more spaghetti than Anthony. But he was just such a cute little bugger.”
Mrs. Fiumara, who spoke only two words in the 1969 ad — hollering Anthony’s name twice — returned to her day job as homemaker after the filming. She died in 2016 at 88.
Anthony had known Mrs. Fiumara as a neighbor.
“She was like my second mother,” he told The New York Times after her death. “She was always looking out for me, and anytime I would see her on the streets, she said, ‘How you doing, Anthony, can I buy you an ice cream?’ — even before the commercial.”
After the commercial, more often than not, Anthony would buy his friends ice cream and other treats because his fame and small fortune had made him more generous, his brother Andy said.
“It changed him,” he said, “in the sense only that he was able to have more fun growing up.”
Ruth Martignetti, whom Anthony married several years ago, was from the Dominican Republic and had never seen the Prince commercial when it was airing.
“When we first started dating, I’d see strangers freak out and hug him, and I’d say, ‘Why do you let them do that? They don’t know you,’” she told The Globe. “But Anthony would always say, ‘They’ve known me for a long time.’”