HELLO AMERICA!—Life has many ups and downs as most of us know. Salvatore Scorza’s life is no exception.
What “saved’’ him is the fact that he was born an artist. One of his uncles was a world renowned sculptor where some of his work is in the Los Angeles Colosseum, who he met once when he was 10 years of age. Never spoke to him again nor contacted him.
His parents were born in America, in New York City. His family has been in America 131 years-four generations. His family is from Sicily.
It may sound corny, but when he graduated from high school, his mother wrote in his autograph book the following: ‘’Always make me proud of you.” That simple line, filled with love and great pride, stayed with him all his life. He is now 79 years of age. He went to a public high school in New York City, ART and DESIGN was its name. It taught him, and others, how to work, and become a commercial artist.
Sal grew up in Brooklyn, New York, in Bensonhurst. That neighborhood at that time (1940s to 1970s) was known by law enforcement as the “Mafia Capital of America.”
There he grew up with people from all parts of the world, Jews from Europe who came after WWII, Blacks who had been living in Bensonhurst since the 1800s. His father had gone to school with a few of them. Most where decent hard-working people and a few of the others became some of the most feared men in the American/Sicilian Mafia.
When Sal graduated High School, Carlo Gambino offered him an opportunity that I guess most people would have jumped on, NOT SAL! Part of his family worked at the highest level of both the Gambino and Bonanno families. They were part of his world when Sal was a kid and young man, because of circumstance, NOT choice!
When Sal turned down Carlo Gambino’s offer his life was on its course.
His father taught him as long as he can remember. His dad had NOT had an easy time in his life. He had to leave high school to go to work at the ripe old age of 12. His father died and he had to pick up the slack! He worked hard, he made custom furniture, he loved his family, protected us all and NEVER backed down from any crisis life threw at him, ever!
Sal tried to follow his lead as any child should do. He and his mother taught him and his siblings where there is love, give greater love, respect others and be decent to people.
How Sal’s Entry In Publishing Started
His introduction into magazine publishing was thru a bartender who worked at Jimmy’s Bar and Grill in Bensonhurst. His brother was an editor for several Men’s Magazines, you know- Hunting, Crime stories and a few skin books. Sal did illustrations for them.
Years later Sal became corporate Art Director of Billboard Publications where he met his ex-wife, who to this day is the Awards Director of the Latin Grammys.
Once he became part of the Entertainment World, Music and Film, his life took a major upturn. Sal went on to become the designer of the Grammy Awards program publication (13 years), American Music Awards (7 years), CMA Awards (7 years) and Golden Globe Awards (17 years) and on, as needed. Sal created graphic work for Mr. Sinatra, Michael Jackson, and other well-known individuals, and got to know some of them on a personal level as well as a business level.
Remember, Sal choose his life’s course, and his education, be it ONLY a high school diploma, put him in a position to do well in life, and as his father would say, ‘’If you HAVE TO WORK all your life it better be something you damn well like to do. Otherwise you’re going to be a lousy human being.”
Doesn’t matter what color your skin is, what your religion is, what your heritage is, YOU have to decide what YOU want from life!
Sal had to deal with a great deal of prejudice while he was a kid, being an American of Italian/Sicilian heritage. Check the history books.
He believes that RESPECT is much more important than love. You choose respect. Love is an emotion which takes control of you. What do you think would have happened to him, if he’d taken Carlo Gambino’s offer, would he have become a millionaire? Would he be dead already? Sal did what he loved to do and is still at it, and still pissin’ some people off.