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Franco Cozzo Biography – Franco Cozzo Wiki
Franco Cozzo was an Italian-Australian furniture businessman. He rose to fame for his unique television adverts in the 1980s.
Cozzo’s hand-waving DIY television ads – featuring his signature colourful baroque furniture – were everywhere in the 1980s and ’90s, so much so that he became a Melbourne icon. The ads, in which he used a fusion of English, Italian and Greek, came to represent Melbourne’s burgeoning multicultural identity and immigrant community in the late-20th century.
Born on October 2, 1935, Cozzo emigrated from Sicily to Australia in the 1950s aged 21 and later became known for spruiking his furniture, which was sold in showrooms in Footscray, Brunswick and – for a shorter time – North Melbourne.
His cult celebrity was the subject of a feature-length documentary in 2021, and a mural of his image is now emblazoned across his former showroom in Footscray. He owned his Footscray showroom on Hopkins Street for five decades before selling it in 2018 for $7 million. Cozzo’s other long-standing store on Sydney Road in Brunswick is also now closed.
Cozzo produced Australia’s first Italian language TV program, the variety show Carosello, in 1968. By the ’80s he was taking a more direct approach to promotion, putting himself front and centre in the ads that made him a cult figure in his hometown.
The film about Cozzo – Palazzo di Cozzo – traced his journey from Sicily, where he worked with his father breaking horses, to the promise of a better life in Australia. It became both a portrait of the man and a social history of migration in Melbourne.
Franco Cozzo Age
Franco Cozzo was born on 2 October 1935, in Sicily, Italy. He died on 20 December 2023 in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. He was 88 years old.
Franco Cozzo Wife
Franco Cozzo was married to his second wife, Assunta Cozzo, at the time of his death. His first marriage to Antonietta ended in divorce. Cozzo’s first wife, Antonietta, is only included in archival images in Madeleine Martiniello’s documentary on Cozzo, Palazzo di Cozzo.
Franco Cozzo Children
Franco Cozzo has 10 children including his son Luigi Cozzo. He fathered three children with a secretary at one of his three Melbourne furniture stores, the County Court heard during eldest son Luigi’s prosecution for drug dealing. A complete list of Cozzo’s children was not immediately available.
Franco Cozzo Family
He is survived by his second wife Assunta Cozzo and his 10 children.
Franco Cozzo Death
Melbourne furniture salesman Franco Cozzo died on 20 December 2023 at the age of 88, surrounded by his loving wife and family. His family announced his death on social media.
“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved Franco Cozzo,” his family wrote on social media. “He was surrounded by his loving wife and family. We would greatly appreciate that our privacy be respected during this difficult time.”
Cozzo’s wife, Assunta, told The Age: “We want his legacy to forever be remembered as he was a true icon to multiple people around the world. The family would like to say a massive thank you to the public for supporting Franco throughout his life.”
Franco Cozzo Cause of Death
Melbourne icon Franco Cozzo’s cause of death was not revealed.
Franco Cozzo Net Worth
Franco Cozzo’s net worth is estimated to be $10 million. He bought his massive showroom in Footscray for $80,000 in 1970 and sold for $7 million in 2018.
“I sold this because I NEED THE MONEY,” Cozzo told The Sydney Morning Herald. “Two years I don’t do nothing [because of the lockdowns], the bank account come overdraft, boom. I don’t want to have a scandal. The name is too big to have the scandal.”
Franco Cozzo Drugs
Cozzo’s eldest son, Luigi, was convicted in the 1990s of selling drugs hidden in furniture at the Footscray store. That scandal fuelled rumours that the operation was a mere front for a drug business – rumours Cozzo vehemently denied.
Luigi had turned to heavy cocaine use after his father had left his mother and fathered three children with a woman 20 years his junior, lawyer Con Heliotis, for Luigi Cozzo, told the County Court.
In 1983, Franco Cozzo had begun a relationship with a secretary at one of his three Melbourne furniture stores, left his wife and had three children with the younger woman, Mr Heliotis said.
Luigi Cozzo pleaded guilty of trafficking about 200g of cocaine between August and October 1988. Mr Heliotis said Cozzo had made about $1000 a week during three and a half weeks of the period, but the money had been used only to buy more cocaine to feed his “very substantial habit”.